Let's greet Laura Hilton with a hearty "hello"! She's here today to talk about her adorable holiday story called Christmas Mittens!~*~
There's no book giveaway today but I think you will enjoy reading Laura's answers to my interview questions.
*Words from Alexis in bold, words from Laura not in bold...
Alexis: Hi Laura! Thanks for agreeing to an interview about your new holiday story, Christmas Mittens! Gracia Dykstra is a unique name for your leading lady. Tell us about the inspiration behind it then describe her personality, quirks and role in the storyline of Christmas Mittens.
Laura: There were some missionaries to the Philippines several years ago, who were captured, held hostage, and the men killed. The wife of one of the men was named Gracia, and I thought that was a pretty name. So I borrowed it. Dykstra is a Dutch name, common in some areas of the country with a lot of Dutch residents. It is also the last name of a close friend of mine who used to live across the road from us.
My character, Gracia, is fun-loving, close to her family, and she loves working with people. She’s very service-oriented, and has the gift of compassion and mercy. She grows a lot in this story, as it is mainly her story – learning more about herself and judging others in this story.
Gracia enjoys working with old people, especially during Christmas. Why?
She loves working with them all year around, but at Christmas, her favorite holiday, she likes helping with the craft fair, guiding them with projects, and feeling she has a part in encouraging them, cheering them up during a time when many people are depressed.
Paint a picture of the annual craft shop belonging to the seniors. What is the significance of the craft shop in your story?
I had an elderly aunt who went to the Senior Citizen Center in her small town. It was located on Main Street (picture of the imaginary town is on my Pinterest board linked below) and when you walked in, one whole corner of the room was dedicated to crafts they had for sale. This center also did fund-raising with their crafts to support the center, as they cannot depend solely on government funding. I enjoyed looking at the crafts as a child, and I had this in my mind when I set about writing this story. Gracia is the fund-raiser/activities director in the story, and she does have need to raise money for the center so they can pay the bills and keep operating into the New Year. This year, her craft fair moves to another location…which you will read about in the story.
Jake Trivett is your male lead in this story. He quit his job in California to return home and help his dad. Describe Jack’s home (location, looks, surroundings and name of the town) and explain his heart for helping his dad.
A picture is worth a thousand words, so for those who want to see what I envisioned, my pinterest link to the storyboard is: https://www.pinterest.com/vernetlh/christmas-mittens/
The town is fictional, set around the real life community of Wild Rose, Wisconsin, but it is not the actual real-life town.
Jake has always loved the farm, but for a while he wanted California. Surf, sun, and stunning supermodels. He earned a degree in architecture, but when push came to shove, he discovers home is where the heart is.
And his heart was in Wisconsin.
Jake and Gracia’s are friends who are attracted to each other. What is it about Garcia that makes Jake interest in her and what is it about Jake that makes her heart flutter?
As in most cases, the initial attraction is based on appearances. But they also like many other things about each other. While Jake and Gracia grew up together, they also learned a lot about each other. He was a math whiz who talked Gracia through Algebra, she was the bookworm who got him through English. But she was also the girl he never forgot…and he was the one who broke her heart.
What can you tell us about the plot of Christmas Mittens without giving away the story?
Gracia Dykstra enjoys her job at the Senior Center, especially at Christmas time. The seniors have an annual craft shop. Desperate to raise funds Gracia asks for donations of Christmas trees to sell in order to raise much-needed funds, but Christmas tree donations are scarce. Jake Trivett has quit his job in California to come home and help his dad. A friendship with Gracia, who he’s always admired, intrigues him. Gracia’s heart flutters with more than Christmas spirit when Jake, an old flame, whose father runs a struggling tree farm answers the phone. Will Gracia receive more than Christmas trees this year?
What’s the moral of the story?
It is better to give than to receive. Jesus is the reason for the season.
What did you enjoy most about writing Christmas Mittens?
This was such a fun story to write! I wrote the whole thing in a month (minus editing) and I couldn’t help but fall in love with both Gracia and Jake. I love Christmas stories, and this was my first try writing one.
Thanks for the interview, Laura! Do you have any closing thoughts?
Thanks for stopping by, and Merry Christmas! I hope you enjoy Christmas Mittens as much I enjoyed telling the story.
Award-winning author, Laura Hilton, her husband, Steve, and their five children make their home in Arkansas. She is a pastor’s wife, a stay-at-home mom and home-schools. Laura is also a breast cancer survivor.
Her publishing credits include three books in the Amish of Seymour series from Whitaker House: Patchwork Dreams, A Harvest of Hearts (winner of the 2012 Clash of the Titles Award in two categories), and Promised to Another. The Amish of Webster County series, Healing Love (finalist for the 2013 Christian Retail Awards). Surrendered Love and Awakened Love followed by her first Christmas novel, A White Christmas in Webster County, as well as the Amish of Jamesport series, The Snow Globe, The Postcard, and The Birdhouse. Other credits include Swept Away from Abingdon Press’ Quilts of Love series. Laura is contracted for another three book Amish series set in the Jamesport area. The Amish Firefighter, which is the first book in the series, is planned for April 2016.
Laura's Christmas novella, Christmas Mittens, was published independently which means she went "indie" this time.
Laura is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and she is a professional book reviewer.
Amazon.com - http://amzn.to/21FOzxi
Connect with Laura:
Amazon Author page - http://amzn.to/1FMZOe1
Blogs - http://lighthouse-academy.blogspot.com/
Twitter handle: @Laura_V_Hilton