Thursday, December 24, 2015

25 Days of Christmas Stories: Interview with Louise M. Gouge, author of A Western Christmas

Welcome a new person to the blog, Louise M. Gouge! She's an author of Christian fiction and today she's here to share details about her story "Yuletide Reunion" which is one of two stories in this book, A Western Christmas:

Here's the blurb for Louise's story, "Yuletide Reunion": Emma Sharp's family needs to rebuild their barn before Christmas. All help is welcome—even if it comes from the handsome neighboring rancher who jilted her two years ago. Can Jared Mattson prove that he wants to build not just a barn with Emma—but a bright future together?

Louise wants to give away one copy of A Western Christmas to one U.S. resident reader who WINS the book giveaway contest. Contest entries can be made through filling out the form on the Rafflecopter widget below: 

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Now enjoy learning about Louise through the following interview! 

*Questions from Alexis are in bold, answers from Louise are not in bold

Alexis: Why is the overall title for your book called A Western Christmas?

Louise: The Love Inspired editors at Harlequin choose the titles of our books and anthologies. They have to balance about fourteen titles every month, so they have to make sure there aren’t any duplications. I was very pleased with this title because it captures the essence of both my story and Renee Ryan’s.

How did you and the other author choose the setting for your book? Where is it, exactly?

When our editors invited us to write our Christmas novellas for this anthology, they let us choose our settings. I chose a fictional town in New Mexico not far from Santa Fe because I have family living there and I know the setting and history quite well.

Your story in this two-story book is called "Yuletide Reunion". What’s the inspiration behind that title?

Again, our editors chose this title. I think they liked the idea of a Christmas reunion because it’s about a reconciliation between two people who love each other but have some things to work out. And of course, Yuletide is an old-fashioned word that refers to Christmas. Again, I think the editors did a great job.

Tell us about your heroine Emma Sharp. Describe her personality and heart. What makes her mad? What is she passionate about? What role does she play in this story?

I think any person, woman or man, who’s been jilted has some anger or at least a broken heart. My heroine, Emma, sets aside these sad emotions and dedicates herself to her family and her father’s ranch, both of which she loves deeply.

Why do Emma and her family need to rebuild their barn before Christmas?

My fictional community is trying to bridge the gap between two cultures by combining Christmas traditions. They need a warm place where the entire community can gather for the final celebration of Las Posadas, the Spanish tradition. The Sharps’ old barn was the only one close enough to town and large enough to hold everyone. When the old barn burned down, they need to finish the new one by Christmas Eve. With everyone working together, it also helps to bond the community in a whole new way.

Tell us about your hero Jared Mattson. Describe his looks, personality and flaws. What role does he play in this story?

Like any romance hero, Jared is tall, dark, and handsome…and strong. As the fourth of five sons, he has many examples of traditional manly cowboy strength and determination. But Jared has a tender spot, too. You’ll have to read the story to discover what it is.

What is it about Emma that draws Jared to her and inspires hope in his heart, a hope of a future together?

Emma is a strong woman who can overcome the difficulties of building a home and a ranch in the Wild West, where trials and tribulations abound. Many women, including Jared’s mother and sister-in-law had failed the tests and abandoned their families, returning to the East. So it’s hard for Jared to trust any woman with his heart and his future.

What was the easiest part of writing Yuletide Reunion and what was the most challenging?

I loved writing the whole story because I have a great love for the area and its history. This story sort of wrote itself, which is always fun for an author.

What was your favorite scene to create in this story? Explain.

I love the scene with Emma and Jared in the kitchen when the kittens make their arrival. As a cat “mama” and cat lover, it was very special to me.

How did your faith in God play into your storytelling?

I can’t imagine writing a story without showing God’s hand in the lives of my characters. Just as the Lord Jesus Christ told parables to help people see their need for God and to show how God works in our lives, I tell stories for the sole purpose of helping people come to the Lord.

What’s the moral to the story?

Usually love stories have a built-in “moral,” which is that two people can overcome difficulties and find lasting love. In this love story, Emma and Jared both have to learn about forgiveness before they can truly love each other in a selfless way, as God loves us.

What was your go-to food and beverage when writing Yuletide Reunion?

Oh, always my Earl Grey/green tea combination. And because I live in Florida, year round my tea is iced tea with no sugar EVER. My stories are sweet enough as it is. LOL! For munchies, I like Brazil nuts, walnuts, grapes, strawberries, and blueberries and yogurt.

What are you most looking forward to in this holiday season? Why?

I always look forward to the big gathering at our house when our children, grandchildren, and a host of special friends gather for a feast. Why? Well, I suppose because spending time with loved ones is the greatest gift I can ever receive.

Complete this sentence: I write Christmas stories because _______________________.

I write Christmas stories because: this is a very special time of year when we remember that God became man so He could save a lost world. If I can show His great love to my readers and help them appreciate the first and greatest Christmas gift ever, salvation through Jesus Christ, then nothing could make me happier.

Thanks for the interview, Louise! If you want to do a book giveaway, leave a question for my readers to answer.

Louise's question for my readers: What are you looking forward to this Christmas?

Author bio: 

Florida author Louise M. Gouge writes historical fiction for Harlequin's Love Inspired Historical Romances. 

She received the prestigious Inspirational Readers’ Choice Award in 2005 and placed in 2011 and 2015; and placed in the Laurel Wreath in 2012. 

When she isn't writing, she and David, her husband of fifty years, enjoy visiting historical sites and museums.

Buy A Western Christmas:
Amazon -
Barnes & Noble - -

Connect with Louise:
Please visit her website at
See all of Louise’s books at
View more about A Western Christmas at

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