Sunday, December 4, 2016

A Prelude to Christmas: Delia's story "The First Noelle"

Welcome Delia Latham to the blog today! She's here to talk about her book that by its title, may remind you of a popular Christmas song. Read on for details about The First Noelle which is available for purchase on Amazon

Book blurb for 
The First NoelleNoelle Joy stopped celebrating Christmas ten years ago, when Trevor Holden skipped out on their long-planned Christmas Eve wedding. He destroyed her trust in men, crushed her belief in God, and left her cynical about love. Gone is the bright, cheery spirit of the girl she thinks of now as “the first Noelle.” Stronger and savvier, the new Noelle would never be found waiting at the altar for a groom who didn’t show.

When a famous-but-mysterious architect commissions her to decorate his mansion for a holiday event, Noelle finally returns to her hometown. Even as she finds an unexpected peace in facing ghosts from the past, her fiercely private client disturbs her. Michael Holliday is kind and considerate, but far too handsome…and hauntingly familiar.

Holliday didn’t choose Noelle to make his home a Christmas wonderland by accident. She’s the only one who can do the job he has in mind—and once she’s in his mansion, he never wants to let her go. But he’s hiding a secret that could destroy any chance of a relationship with the beautiful decorator.

A false persona. A shattering secret. Can love break down these insurmountable walls?

Delia is doing a book giveaway contest! Fill out the form on the Rafflecopter widget for your chance to WIN a copy of her book: 
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Interview with Delia Latham, author of The First Noelle:

Alexis: What is the significance of the title of your book, The First Noelle?

Delia: My heroine, Noelle Joy, becomes a different person after being abandoned at the altar on Christmas Eve. She refuses to allow any aspect of her former personality to resurface, and thinks of the sweet, innocent girl she once was as “the first Noelle.” The new Noelle, in her opinion, is stronger, smarter and far more savvy than her old self.

Alexis: How is the “First Noelle” different from the “Now Noelle”? Why?

Delia: The first Noelle was guided by her faith in God, her love for family and friends, and her own innate sense of right and wrong. She was joyful and open hearted. The “now Noelle” has abandoned faith and rarely sees her family. She still has a strong moral compass, but she’s lost the joy that once defined her. She’s become a loner, refuses to form emotional attachments, and presents a chilly persona. Within her professional field, she’s known as “the Ice Princess of Design.”

Alexis: Describe Noelle as the heroine of this story. What makes her strong? What are her weak points? What are her dreams for her life and how does she plan on making those dreams come true?

Delia: Noelle thinks her strength is in her success as an interior designer. She believes the emotional distance she maintains at all times, with absolutely everyone, keeps her safe and protected. The truth is, success doesn’t automatically spell strength. Noelle isn’t strong. She’s emotionally crippled. The bubble of isolation she’s created around herself doesn’t protect—it shuts her off from the world, leaving her isolated and defenseless. Her strength is, of course, right where it was for the first Noelle—in God; in her love for family and friends; and in her joy in life, which she left amongst the wilting flowers and burnt-out candles the day Trevor Holden failed to show up for their wedding. What will it take for Noelle to understand these things?

As for her dreams for her life, the “now Noelle” is focused solely on monetary and professional success. She has no personal life, and doesn’t bother to dream—just look where dreams got the first Noelle! She keeps a guard up, and doesn’t trust any man enough to give him her heart. Besides, her heart is damaged goods. It’s raw and broken, and her bitterness won’t allow it to heal. When she returns to Hope Springs and meets Michael Holliday, her strengths and weaknesses become clearer, as the first Noelle struggles to free herself from a ten-year lock-down.

Alexis: Tell us about Noelle’s ex-fiancĂ© Trevor. What is his role in shaping her current perspective on love and life, when we first “meet” her in the story?

Delia: Trevor and Noelle were best friends from toddlers on through middle school. In high school, they fell in love, and were inseparable all the way through college. Their relationship was two-fold. Noelle loved Trevor as a man, but also as her closest and most trusted friend. When he left her alone in a beautifully decorated church packed with family and friends who witnessed her humiliation, it was as if he threw that trust and her love back in her face. Furthermore, the God she’d loved, lived for and worshipped all her life had allowed this hurt and humiliation, despite her dedication to Him. She left Him in that church, as well. The “now Noelle” refuses to talk about God, and prefers not to hear about him from others.

When we first “meet” our heroine, she’s headed back to her hometown for the first time since she left, almost a decade ago. She struggles with feelings she’s kept locked away for a long time. Memory overwhelms her, as if everything happened only yesterday, and she knows one thing: Noelle Joy doesn’t cry anymore, but sometime soon, she can expect a genuine gully washer!

Alexis: How did Trevor crush Noelle’s belief in God? Why would you as the author give him so much power? You must have a lesson for real life to teach in doing that, what is it?

Delia: When Trevor—her best friend and the man she loves—abandoned her, Noelle’s hurt was so deep she didn’t know how to handle it. Truth was, she couldn’t handle it alone…not in a way that would be truly beneficial. That’s when the “now Noelle” was born and the first Noelle was locked away in her mind. She refuses to ask help from the God who let such an awful thing happen to her. Trevor stole not only her trust in him, but her trust that God had her back.

For a decade, she carries a burden she could have shared had she not turned away from the Burden Bearer…

We’ve all done it, haven’t we? Rather than turn to God in times of trouble, we sometimes turn from Him and try to shoulder the burden ourselves. Only when we allow Him to carry us through whatever the situation might be, do we find comfort, strength, and a Way through the darkness.

Alexis: Who are the people in Noelle’s life that keep her focused, grounded and encourage her to keep the faith in God? How did you dream up these characters and why did you choose them to be a support for Noelle?

Delia: Her parents. Her dad is a minister, and her beautiful mother is the strength and support behind the beloved pastor. Noelle is close to them both (although, like me, she’s a bit of a Daddy’s girl). After she abandoned all that had been most important to the first Noelle, she continued to respect their faith—for them. Not for herself.

I hadn’t really thought about why I chose Noelle’s parents to be her focus-point, but I guess the answer is pretty simple. My parents were my greatest Christian heroes, and my greatest supporters through whatever life tossed my way. I wish everyone had the privilege of being born to that kind of parents.

Alexis: Who is Michael Holliday? Why did you choose to make him the hero in this story? Describe his character flaws and his positive points.

Delia: Michael is an award-winning architect, famous for keeping to himself. He’s a mystery man—never does face-to-face interviews, is rarely seen in public, and has managed to avoid the media, much to their chagrin. His good points are his humility, his compassion, and his faith. As for his flaws…well, Michael is a true hero. His flaws are few, but I think the biggest is...On second thought, I think I’ll let the readers decide.

Alexis: What is it about Noelle that makes Michael want to keep her forever?

Delia: Michael has watched Noelle’s climb to success. He admires her determination and refusal to give up. She’s beautiful and talented, and her smile is bewitching. He’s in love—at least, with the idea of who she is.

Alexis: Where is the setting for this story? Did you borrow from a real life setting or is the town purely fictional?

Delia: Well, northern California is very real. Hope Springs is entirely fictional.

Alexis: What is your favorite part about Noelle’s hometown? Why?

Delia: I love places that time seems to have forgotten. Quaint, old-fashioned towns where everyone knows everyone else, and every little storefront looks exactly as it must have looked fifty years ago…so sweet and refreshing!

Alexis: What was the most difficult part of writing this book? And the easiest?

Delia: Unfortunately, I can’t talk about the most difficult part because it would reveal more than I want to about the story line. The easiest was the romance between Michael and Noelle. I always love bringing two people together, despite whatever odds.

Alexis: As the author, what do you hope your readers will remember the most from “The First Noelle”?

Delia: How much it cost my heroine to turn away from the One she should have turned to in her darkest hour.

Alexis: Thanks for the interview! Would you like to share any closing thoughts?

Delia: Yes, here are my thoughts...

To the readers:
I hope you’ve enjoyed this interview, and that you’ll also enjoy The First Noelle. I tucked a little surprise ingredient into the story that I think you’ll enjoy as something completely unexpected. I also pray you find encouragement in the pages of this book, and are reminded to live always within the sheltering, loving arms of the One who can best take care of you in any and every situation.

To Alexis:
Thank you for such thoughtful, in-depth questions! You really made me think.

To all:
Have a beautiful holiday season, and a warm, wonderful, Merry Christmas!

Author bio: 

Writing Heaven’s touch into earthly tales, Delia Latham puts her characters through the fire of earthly trials to bring them out victorious by the hand of God, His heavenly messengers, and good, old-fashioned love. You’ll always find a touch of the divine in this author’s sweet tales of romance.

Delia lives in East Texas with her husband Johnny. She’s a Christian wife, mother, grandmother, sister, friend, and author of inspirational romance…with a finger or two immersed in the design pool, where she creates beautiful marketing material for other authors. 

Delia treasures her role as child of the King and heir to the throne of God. She’s got a “thing” for Dr. Pepper and loves hearing from readers.

Connect with Delia:
Amazon Author Page
Personal blog
Facebook Reader Page
Christmas Inn Facebook Page


  1. I would like to spend time with the old Noelle, before she was left and heart broken. To maybe get an insight as to who she had decided to team up with and what made her so attracted to him. Jacqueline Gillam Fairchild--author: Estate of Mind

    1. Sounds like that would be time well-spent! :) Please remember to fill out the form on the Rafflecopter widget above in order to enter the book giveaway contest. Thanks for visiting my blog. Take care and God bless you! :)

  2. I'd choose Michael, as I'd love to unravel the mysteries surrounding him.

  3. Jacqueline and Leslie, thank you for stopping by! Both the "first Noelle" and Michael would be interesting to hang out with. They both have tales to tell...

  4. Hi Delia, I just finished this fine story and I loved the mix of mystery abd pathos, and the unexpected twist, well, I never saw that coming lol. Excellent job, my friend!

    1. So glad you enjoyed it, Tanya! Coming from an author with your crazy talent, I'm quite pleased! :)