Thursday, December 3, 2020

12 Days of Christmas Joy: Christmas in Jingle Junction by Tabitha Bouldin

Interview with Tabitha Bouldin about her book, 
Christmas in Jingle Junction

Alexis: Why did you write this Christmas holiday story?

Tabitha: I had this insatiable urge to write a fun, Christmas story that had just enough oomph to make it quirky while still having a Hallmark vibe. The characters came running, clamoring to be put on the pages so they could offer some holiday cheer and goodwill.

Alexis: What was the inspiration behind this story?

Tabitha: Christmas in Jingle Junction is for my grandmother. She passed away right before I wrote the book, and she’s not only the inspiration behind the story but I found her leaving little memories for me throughout the pages. Granny Pat loved a good cup of coffee, so the story revolves around a coffee shop owner who loves coffee, Christmas, and the color red…all of Granny’s favorites. She would have gotten a kick out of the hero, who’s a grinch about Christmas and a former thief to boot.

Alexis: Describe the setting of this story. What makes Jingle Junction special to your characters?

Tabitha: Jingle Junction is Christmas in a snow globe. You know the ones, the perfect peaceful, snowy town where everyone loves to celebrate. It’s basically Whoville. To live there without going crazy, you have to love Christmas. You can have any business you want, as long as you agree to decorate to the extreme once November rolls around and your business name is an alliteration.

Alexis: Tell me about Holly Winters, the leading lady of this story. What does she look like? Sound like? Act like? What are her greatest hopes and deepest fears?

Holly is a hoot. She’s a bit of a klutz who adores Christmas, coffee, and a rousing discussion on why Harley Quinn should be considered a superhero instead of a villain. With her brown hair, brown eyes, and perpetual smile, Holly is one of Jingle Junction’s staunchest supporters. She sounds like she has everything she wants, but Holly’s deepest fear is failure. What if she fails to keep her business going? Her greatest hope is to use the coffee shop as a place where people always feel welcome. Where they come in, pull up a seat, and have a good chat with great friends.

Alexis: Tell me about Patrick Cooper, the leading man of this story. What does he look like? Sound like? Act like? What is his greatest strength and most upsetting weakness?

Tabitha: Oh dear. Grouchy, grumpy, Patrick. He’s Holly’s polar opposite when it comes to attitude. Patrick arrives in Jingle Junction with one goal: deliver Holly’s coffee and get out of town…quick. His green eyes and brown curls give him the look of boyish charm, but there’s a hard veneer in those emerald eyes. He tries to be cold and fierce, not letting anyone get too close, but there’s a mushy center to this Grinch. Once you look close enough. His greatest strength is also his most upsetting weakness. Patrick is noble. So much so that he’s willing to take the fall to keep someone he loves out of trouble.

Alexis: What is the name of Holly’s coffee shop and why does she love working there?

Tabitha: Holly’s coffee shop is called Jolly Java. She wanted something with her own name, but since her town nickname is Jolly Holly, she decided to go with it. Running Jolly Java helps Holly feel closer to her grandmother. The shop has been a dream of hers for as long as she can remember and living every day within the walls of her coffee kingdom brings her happiness.

Alexis: What is Holly’s first impression of Patrick? Why?

Holly is struck speechless by Patrick. She’s expecting to see Henry, her lovable but decidedly older delivery man, and instead she nearly plows into this strong-but-silent newcomer. His unwillingness to be friendly gives her a challenge, and Holly can’t resist a challenge.

Alexis: Who is Henry and what role does he play in this story?

Tabitha: Henry drives the delivery truck for Jingle Junction, bringing in supplies for all the shops. He’s also Patrick’s uncle, which is how Patrick gets roped into the job. Noble guy, that Patrick. Stuck in the hospital with pneumonia, Henry becomes the listening ear and the giver of advice when Patrick discovers Jingle Junction holds more than Christmas crazy shop owners who ply him with hot cocoa and cookies.

Alexis: What is it about Patrick that makes Holly’s heart skip a beat?

Tabitha: He’s not afraid to challenge her beliefs, but he still listens when their viewpoints don’t match up. While the attraction sparked from their first meeting, it’s the hurt she sees hidden deep down that draws Holly to Patrick. She knows there’s more to him that the hard exterior he shows everyone, and if anyone can break into that soft heart, they’ll be the luckiest person in Jingle Junction.

Alexis: Why does Patrick not like coffee and Christmas?

Where Holly had the bright, cheerful upbringing, Patrick’s was the opposite. Christmas wasn’t so much a time of celebration as something else to be endured. Then, as a teenager, he found himself working in a coffee shop with a sweet old lady who believed everyone deserved a second chance (much like Holly). Patrick betrayed that trust, and he’s never forgiven himself for it.

Alexis: What is it about Holly that makes Patrick realize that he may need to get a new girlfriend?

Tabitha: Patrick has always been the person people bring their troubles to. He’s never had someone willing to step up, stand beside him, and refuse to let him fall. When he sees the strength in Holly, her unflagging faithfulness, he starts to realize that relationships are supposed to be equal parts, equal partners. For the first time, he understands that he deserves to have someone who can see the difficult things and love him anyway.

Alexis: What do you want readers to remember most about this story?

Tabitha: I hope readers remember that God is the giver of second chances. He’s not a “one and done” type of God. While we’re busy worrying over all the mistakes we’ve made and how we’ll never be as good as we want to be, God’s just asking us to turn around and come back to Him. He loves us, even when we don’t know how to love ourselves.

Alexis: Did you play Christmas music while writing this story? If so, which song was your favorite and how did it inspire your storytelling?

So much Christmas music! Which is hilarious because it was June when I wrote this story. Hundred degrees outside and I’m blasting “Jingle Bells” through the house. My husband thought I’d finally lost my mind. My favorite for this story would have to be “O Holy Night.” Hillsong Worship has a beautiful version that puts me in mind of Holly and how she felt during that final scene. It’s beautiful and graceful, which brought light and glory to the setting while Holly tried to explain to Patrick why she would choose him, even after all he’d done.

Alexis: What is your favorite Christmas holiday treat? Did it help you while writing this story? If so, explain.

Tabitha: Just one? I love sweets. Hmmm…Gingerbread. Definitely gingerbread. I only make it around Christmastime. We decorate gingerbread cookies every Christmas Eve and it’s part of the inspiration behind Gina’s Gingerbread shop which plays a part in both of my Christmas books. The third one too if I can ever get the thing written.

Alexis: If you could give one of your characters a Christmas gift, what would it be? Why?

If I could give them anything, I would give Holly one more day with her grandmother. One more chance to say “I love you” and one last memory to hold on to. I missed the chance to tell my granny goodbye, and I’ll regret it for the rest of my life. She knew I loved her, but I should have been there. I missed saying goodbye by a matter of hours.

Alexis: Thanks for the interview, Tabitha. Merry Christmas!

Tabitha: Loved the questions, Alexis! It was wonderful to revisit this story and remember why I fell in love with these characters. Merry Christmas!

Author Bio:

Tabitha Bouldin has a bachelor's degree in creative writing/English from Southern New Hampshire University. 

She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and has been writing since 2015. 

When she's not homeschooling her kids, you'll find her curled up with a book. Tabitha's genre of choice is Contemporary Christian Romance which she describes as: Adventure with heart.

Blurb for Christmas in Jingle Junction

Jump into Jingle Junction for a fast-paced Christmas romance. 

The last thing coffee shop owner Holly Winters expected was to have dream-boy Patrick Cooper walk through the back door of her shop. He would only be delivering this one time. He made sure she knew he was going home as soon as Henry was well enough to start making deliveries again.

Patrick instantly attracts Holly's attention, but he has three strikes against him...he hates coffee, he doesn't like Christmas, and he has a girlfriend. That's all fine with Holly, until she starts to get to know the man hiding behind the bright green eyes. Patrick is in the one place he shouldn't be if he wants to avoid Christmas.

Jingle Junction is famous for it's Christmas lights, parade, and their year-round Christmas spirit. Can this apparent 'bad boy' find the joy of Christmas?

Buy Tabitha's book on Amazon

Connect with Tabitha:

Enter this book giveaway contest for your chance to WIN a copy of this book by filling out the entry form on the Rafflecopter widget below: 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.