Wednesday, December 9, 2020

12 Days of Christmas Joy: Holiday of Hope by Kristen Ethridge

Interview with Kristen Ethridge about Holiday of Hope:

Alexis: Why did you write this Christmas holiday story and give it that title that hints the theme of hope?

Kristen: Holiday of Hope is the last book in my Hurricane Hope series. A hurricane named Hope hits the island, and the series follows residents of the island through the storm and how they rebuild. Holiday of Hope brings the island to the Christmas season, but there’s not a lot of Christmas cheer due to the effects of the hurricane. The hope in Holiday of Hope is a play on the name of the hurricane, but also the hope found in the meaning of the holiday season.

Alexis: Paint a picture of Port Provident (the setting for your story) with words. What makes it special to your characters?

Kristen: I describe Port Provident as a Texas beachside town readers will want to call home. What makes it special, I believe, is the people. With every book, I want to create a community that’s diverse and full of different experiences and perspectives and is a place we’d all want to live. It’s an island—so that’s fun, and modeled on my own personal experience of living in Galveston, Texas—and it’s full of churches and restaurants and history and places like lighthouses and such. With every book, I want readers to feel like an escape to an island with people and places they know and love are only a page away. I want it to be a book version of the same smiles and warm memories we all have of our favorite vacation spots that we visit over and over.

Alexis: Describe Bretton’s on the Boardwalk. What kind of store is it and how long has it been open?

Kristen: Bretton’s on the Boardwalk is a family business that primarily sells Christmas décor and items and has a customer base primarily of tourists who visit Port Provident’s historic district. It started as a general mercantile about 100 years before Hurricane Hope and has been run by family members ever since.

Alexis: How does Hurricane Hope affect Bretton’s on the Boardwalk as a business?

Kristen: Because the destruction and ongoing rebuild of Hurricane Hope slows down the flow of tourists to the island, the customers simply are not there this holiday season. Additionally, events that the city usually puts on to celebrate Christmas will not be happening, and these are events that give Bretton’s a big boost at what should be their busiest time of the year.

Alexis: Tell me about Jessica Bretton who is the heroine of this story. What does she look like? Sound like? Act like? What are her hopes and dreams for her personal life and her store?

Kristen: Jessica is the fourth generation of the Bretton family to run the store. Her biggest dream is to be worthy of the trust her family has placed in her to run this. She wants to carry on the legacy her family has built. Confronting the fact that she might be the last Bretton to run the store is crushing her. She doesn’t want to fail her family.

Alexis: Tell me about the hero of this story, Bradley Thorpe. What does he look like? Sound like? Act like? Believe in? What is the hidden hope of his heart this Christmas?

Kristen: Bradley Thorpe is the director of the Port Provident Park Board. He oversees the beach parks and large events that the city puts on. He’s been in Port Provident his whole life and has known Jessica for years. He considers her a friend and struggles with his decision that canceling Santas on the Square could ultimately put her out of business. But as a city employee, he finds his hands tied with all the red tape involved in rebuilding, and he just can’t make a big city-planned event happen this year. He doesn’t want to be the one to cause Jessica—and other business owners—to struggle even more, but he feels as though he has no other options but to cancel the event and focus on next year when rebuilding is done and the city can safely welcome tourists back to the island and events.

Alexis: What makes Jessica and Bradley clash with each other? What brings them together?

Kristen: Well, obviously, they have two different points of view on the Santas on the Square event. Jessica desperately needs something to bring people to the island so they can be customers in the store. Bradley has to deal with government and insurance regulations and has been told he cannot hold a big organized event. They each understand the position the other is in—and I think that even makes it harder for them. Jessica knows Bradley is just doing his job, like she wants to do hers. Bradley knows his friend may lose her business because of his decision, but he doesn’t have much of a choice.

But in a town like Port Provident with both history and faith…anything is possible.

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

I want readers to remember that there is always hope. Always.

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

Alexis: I honestly didn’t—I generally prefer it to be quiet while I’m working. But my favorite Christmas song is “O Holy Night.” There’s so much hope in that song—one night changes everything. And that same idea—that one day, one idea can change everything—is found in Holiday of Hope. Everything seems lost for Jessica until she learns about something in Port Provident’s history. And then Bradley bravely pushes the envelope on what he can/should do in his role—it changes the Christmas season. But it doesn’t just change it for Jessica and her family business. It changes the Christmas season for everyone on the island, because everyone needed holiday cheer and hope after a very tough year.

Now that I think about it…that sounds very familiar for all of us right about now, doesn’t it?

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

Kristen: I love chocolate. At Christmas, I’m always looking for chocolate fudge, chocolate chip cookies, and a mug of hot cocoa. I can assure you that chocolate of all kinds fueled the writing of this story—and all of my stories!

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

Kristen: I think Jessica gets a very important gift in the course of the story—but it isn’t something that’s found under a tree. She believes in herself again. She’s steps out of that self-doubt and that self-fulfilling prophecy that she is going to be the one to let her family down. Once she finds hope that she can do something different and turn things around, everything changes.

And that’s not just a gift for Jessica Bretton, it’s a gift for all of us. Believe in yourself—that God has equipped you to do what needs to be done at the exact time it needs to be done—and every day becomes a gift.

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

Kristen: Thank you for having me, Alexis! Merry Christmas to you and to everyone on the blog. I hope to see new faces in Port Provident soon.

Author Bio:

Kristen Ethridge writes Sweet Escape Romance — stories with hope, heart, and happily-ever-after — for Harlequin's Love Inspired line, Hallmark Publishing, and Laurel Lock Publishing.

She's a Romance Writers of America Golden Heart Award nominee and both an Amazon Christian Fiction and Inspirational Romance #1 Best-Selling Author.

You can find Kristen in her native habitat — a Texas patio — where she's likely to be savoring the joy of a crispy taco, along with a glass of iced tea and scents from her essential oil diffuser. She's almost convinced her family that it's normal to talk to imaginary people, as long it goes in a book.

Find her online at where you can get a free story for signing up for her newsletter.

Book Blurb for Holiday of Hope:

She was losing faith ... until he believed in her 

For four generations, Bretton's on the Boardwalk, a store dedicated to Christmas, has greeted tourists who come to Port Provident, but after Hurricane Hope tears through town, Jessica Bretton is left with a pile of bills to pay and no tourists visiting her store. She doesn't want to fail her family by closing the doors to the store, but she can't hold on much longer.

As Director of the Park Board of Port Provident, Bradley Thorpe is responsible for getting tourists to Provident Island. It's been almost three months since Hurricane Hope tore through the island, and while there's much work to be done, people are ready to get back to normal. The local economy is strained and it looks like the Christmas season is going to be an unhappy holiday.

When Jessica suggests reviving a Christmas celebration from Port Provident's history books, Bradley is unconvinced. His role is to drive the local economy, not plan parties. Could a woman who celebrates Christmas all year long change the heart of a man who's more interested in the bottom line than a season of hope? And could a little Christmas cheer be just what Port Provident needs to rebuild? 

Buy Holiday of Hope today and start spending time with characters who fill your heart with the hope and joy of the holiday season all year long.

Bestselling Christian Romance author Kristen Ethridge brings readers home to Port Provident, Texas for the Port Provident: Hurricane Hope series
 — sweet escape romances full of hope, heart and happily-ever-after. These clean romance novels with a light, uplifting thread of faith and love will sweep you up in the story and leave you with a smile.

Be filled with hope no matter what the season — the entire Port Provident: Hurricane Hope series is ready for you!

Shelter from the Storm
The Doctor's Unexpected Family
His Texas Princess
Holiday of Hope

Buy Kristen's book on Amazon 

Connect with Kristen:
Book Bub:

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

1 comment:

  1. I hope all my friends and family would feel God's presence and peace in their lives <3
    Beautiful cover!!!


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