Wednesday, December 21, 2016

A Prelude to Christmas: Virginia's book about changes, disaster and hope

Welcome Virginia Smith to the blog. She's here to talk about her holiday novel, A Goose Creek Christmas and she's giving away a copy of it too! 

Here's the blurb for Virginia's book: Al's Goose Is Cooked!

Forced into early retirement, Al Richardson knows what his wife will say when she hears the terrible news. Millie will insist that they open their B&B early. Where will that leave him? Carrying luggage and waiting tables? No way! He needs time to come up with another plan. With the help of an unlikely accomplice, Al spends his days scanning want ads and frequenting out-of-town coffee shops in an effort to hide his secret from all of Goose Creek-including his wife.

Millie is too busy to notice Al's odd behavior. Between planning a huge Christmas party and holding tight to the reins of newcomer Lulu Thacker-whose tacky decorating schemes are sure to infuriate Main Street business owners-she has no time for anything else.

One thing is certain: In Goose Creek, no secret stays hidden for long. The most holy of holidays is swiftly approaching. Is Al in for a Merry Christmas or a Marriage Crisis?

Enter the book giveaway contest by filling out the Rafflecopter widget below for your chance to WIN a copy of Virginia's book: 

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Enjoy the interview with Virginia!
Interview with Virginia Smith, author of A Goose Creek Christmas:

Alexis: What a unique title for a Christmas story! Tell us how you chose it.

Virginia: To be honest, I didn’t choose the title. My publisher, Harvest House, chose it. My latest series is Tales from the Goose Creek B&B. The Christmas book is the fifth installment in the series, and I have a lot of fun with the small-town (and sometimes small-minded) residents of this town.

I hear the next question coming – what was my original title? Al’s Goose is Cooked at a Goose Creek Christmas. Yeah, a little wordy, but I like the humor of it! Still, anything with ‘Goose Creek’ in the title is fun.

Alexis: Tell us about your story’s hero Al Richardson. Describe his personality, family life, his heart and goals.

Virginia: Al is a stodgy, old-fashioned, perpetually scowling man in his early sixties. He and Millie have been married for almost forty years, and he loves her with a depth that sometimes takes his breath away. He is slightly OCD, and likes structure. Anything new introduced to his ritualistic, controlled life throws him for a loop.

Alexis: Where does Al work? Does he like his job? Why was he forced into early retirement?

Virginia: Al has worked as a computer analyst for the same company for nearly thirty years. Being an extremely logical thinker, computer programming is where he shines. When a new—and younger—boss forces him out, he’s beside himself. This is exactly the kind of change Al detests.

Alexis: Tell us about Al’s wife Millie. What is her role in this story? Describe her looks, heart, character strengths and flaws.

Virginia: Millie is everybody’s sweetheart, the kind of mother and grandmother we all hope to have and to be. She loves Al from the bottom of her heart, and is confident that she knows what’s best for him even when he doesn’t. Her current goal is to turn the charming Victorian-era home she convinced Al to buy last year into a B&B. That, and she needs to keep a tight hold on the reins of her friend, the overbearing and often tasteless Lulu Thacker.

Alexis: Why does Al want to keep his early retirement a secret from Millie?

Virginia: Al agreed to buy and renovate the Victorian-era house last year mostly to keep his wife happy. (Read their hilarious history in The Most Famous Illegal Goose Creek Parade and Renovating the Richardsons.) He conceded to her scheme to open a B&B, even though he would much prefer to spend his retirement years traveling the country in an RV. He is sure that his forced early retirement will cause Millie to accelerate her plans to open the B&B, and he can’t stand the thought of becoming a lackey, at the beck-and-call of his wife’s scheme. He sees himself reduced to carrying luggage and waiting tables, and is determined to do anything to avoid that fate.

Alexis: What role does Lulu Thacker play in this story? It looks like Lulu is the source of some major conflict. Tell us about it.

Virginia: Lulu is such a fun character! She’s blatantly tactless and completely unaware that she’s viewed as a crass loudmouth. She adores Millie, who stood up for her when she assumed the job of Goose Creek’s Main Street Manager. (See The Room with the Second-Best View.) But her lack of decorating taste causes a major rift among the town’s outspoken business owners.

Alexis: Who was the most fun character to create and write in this story? Why?

Virginia: I absolutely love Al. He’s an amazing character, and one of the few males I have felt entirely comfortable portraying in fiction. His struggles are so realistic, and so understandable and sympathetic to all of us. He’s my hero!

Alexis: Who was the most difficult character to portray? Why?

Virginia: Without a doubt the most difficult character over the course of the five Goose Creek books has been Frieda, the owner of the Freckled Frog Consignment Shop. She is everything I dislike in real life–opinionated, judgmental, loud-mouthed, and prejudiced against anyone who doesn’t think exactly as she does. But I have enjoyed putting her in situations that make her squirm. (Is that awful of me?)

Alexis: Tell us about Goose Creek as the setting for your story. Is it a city? A town? Paint a picture of it with your words.

Virginia: Goose Creek is based on Midway, Kentucky, a very small town not far from my birthplace. Like Midway, Goose Creek was one of those towns in the 1800’s that cropped up around the railroad, and to this day a railroad track runs down the middle of Main Street. All the buildings there are historic, and sadly half of them are crumbling and empty. But the residents are lively, fun, enthusiastic and dedicated to the preservation of their town.

Alexis: What was your favorite part about writing this story? Why?

Virginia: I’ve lived with the Goose Creek crew for a couple of years now, through five books. I love them all! Christmas is my favorite time of year, so how could I not want to spend that most holy of holidays with the people I love?!

Alexis: What’s the moral of this story?

Virginia: I didn’t set out to write a story with a moral. I never do. My goal in writing is primarily to entertain readers—and myself! But in the end, most of my stories do end up with a moral. I guess this one would be “honesty is the best policy.” Al resorts to deception in order to maintain his personal dignity, and in doing so almost damages the relationship he values most.

Alexis: Complete this sentence: I want my readers to ___________________ when they read this story because ________________________________.

Virginia: I want my readers to laugh out loud when they read this story because they fall in love with the characters and resonate with their hilarious but heart-touching circumstances.

Alexis: Thanks for the interview, Virginia! Do you have any closing thoughts?

Virginia: Just this–MERRY CHRISTMAS! May your holy day be filled with love and laughter!

Author bio:

Virginia Smith is the bestselling author of thirty-one novels (and counting), an illustrated children’s book, and over fifty articles and short stories. 

An avid reader with eclectic tastes in fiction, Ginny writes in a variety of styles, from lighthearted relationship stories to breath-snatching suspense. 

Her books have been finalists in many prestigious awards, and two of her novels received the prestigious Holt Medallion Award of Merit.

Buy Virginia's book:
Amazon ~ Barnes and Noble
Connect with Virginia:
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