Tuesday, December 20, 2016

A Prelude to Christmas: Gail's story about broken trust and forgiveness

Welcome Gail Gaymer Martin to the blog. She's an award-winning author and co-founder of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), which is a wonderful organization! Today, Gail is here to talk about her novel, A Tucumcari Christmas. 

Here's the blurb for A Tucumcari Christmas
Dayna Littleton has been estranged from her younger sister Sky for years. Sky's promises to visit were always met with disaster, first a broken ankle in Tucumcari, New Mexico and then more promises ended in new disasters until Dayna no longer trusted her sister. But with the last cancelled promise a call comes from Sky’s landlord. The older woman invites Dayna to visit her sister there for Christmas.

The strange invitation doesn’t set well, but she is driven by a vague hope and a powerful instinct to go. Once there, Dayna and Sky inch toward healing. Yet Dayna senses she is part of a matchmaking scheme. A difficult past, Dayna has tended to avoid relationships of any kind, but now her heart collides with her brain, and a battle ensues as she meets new people and watches her life change along with perceptions, attitudes, and her ability to love.

You can buy Gail's book on Amazon OR you can have a chance to WIN a copy of her book by filling out the book giveaway contest entry form on the Rafflecopter widget below:

Rafflecopter giveaway  
Learn more about Gail's book in the following interview. 
Interview with Gail Gaymer Martin, author of A Tucumcari Christmas:

Alexis: What a unique title for a Christmas book! What does Tucumcari mean? Why did you choose it as the setting for your story?

Gail: Tucumcari is a town in New Mexico off I-40 which is part of Route 66, the Mother Road in its heyday. I fell in love with the unique town when we traveled back and forth for a number of years from Michigan to Sedona, Arizona when we rented a townhouse for the three winter months. 

We have now moved to Sedona, but Tucumcari was one of our favorite stops. It’s an amazing city with many old original businesses left from the heyday of Route 66, two museums, and forty painted murals on various buildings depicting the old days. These paintings use real people and items from the town. One of my favorite restaurants here is Del’s. It's one of the original locations. They are known for great food especially their sopapillas with honey, an amazing dessert. 

I used this setting because I learned so many things about the town through the Chamber of Commerce and realized the setting would be amazing. The first book in the series, A Trip to Remember (with a double meeting) is the story of Skylar Dawson. A Tucumcari Christmas is about her sister with whom she’s been estranged. 

Alexis: What is your book about? Tell us in a few words.

Gail: The book focuses on Dayna Littleton the older sister of Skylar. The story deals with the theme of forgiveness and love. While Dayna has held a grudge against her sister for years, she realizes that the true reason and the damage it has done is something she can no longer live with. With humor, romance and serious situations, this book provides a Christmas story for all readers.

Alexis: Describe your story’s heroine Dayna. Touch on her looks, strengths, character flaws, hopes and dreams.

Gail: Dayna and Skylar are both dark-haired, attractive women, and yet Dayna sees only her younger sister’s charm and beauty. She grew up feeling that she was less worthy than Skylar and she had little to offer. Her hope was to live a single life and yet romance sometimes enters her dreams without her approval. They confuse her as does her sister whom she envies and yet holds a grudge. Dayna tends to keep the truth inside and rather than let her sensitive side show, she can be abrupt or withdrawn at times. 

Alexis: Why is Dayna estranged from her younger sister Sky? What role does Sky play in this story?

Gail: Dayna sees Sky in an unrealistic view, and yet she believes what she sees. She blames her sister for all of her flaws and has distanced herself from her, unwilling to forgive her for what has happened in the past. But Dayna begins to look more deeply into the estrangement and faces some things about herself and her sister that she had never seen before. 

Alexis: Why is Sky disaster-prone and how has that affected her relationship with her sister?

Gail: Sky tends to be rash. She’s been coddled in ways as a child. Therefore, she expects people to continue to respond to her needs as her parents did, mainly her daddy. She has little patience when things don’t go her way and is a slow learner about her flaws. Because of her attitude and the coddling that Dayna witnessed, Sky’s attitude has put a barrier between her and Dayna. 

Alexis: Who is your story’s hero? What is his role in this story?

Gail: The hero is Dr. Jake Bonham, Dr. Doug Elliot’s best friend from Book #1. Doug is Sky’s fiancĂ© and his grandmother Mamie has been Sky’s landlady. Dayna is also staying with Mamie who tends to be a matchmaker. Mamie wants to see love everywhere, so she maneuvers situations to make it happen. Dr. Jake Bonham is now in Mamie’s plans for Dayna who wants nothing to do with romance since she’s had too much loss in her life and doesn’t trust words of love. Jake also has avoided relationships, so Mamie has work cut out for her.

Alexis: Describe the hero’s looks, personality and heart for the heroine.

Gail: Jake Bonham has blue eyes and reddish brown hair. He’s husky and muscular and looks more like a woodsman to Dayna than a doctor who had taken care of her sister’s broken ankle. He’s a tease and loves taunting his good friend Doug about falling for Sky. He makes reference to Dayna’s good looks, but in his heart, he is determined to avoid getting involved with anyone. His lifestyle and crazy hours as a doctor doesn’t lead to well-balanced relationships and he’s had too many of the other kind. Marriage was far from his plans.

Alexis: What is your hero’s background? How was he raised and shaped into the person who he is in this story?

Gail: Little is said about Jake’s family in the novel, but it is evident that he came from a stable family and perhaps one that expected solid values and morals to be part of a relationship. He fears building another doomed relationship. His reference to the Christmas ornaments given to him by his aunt, his mother’s sister, is another clue that he was loved and appreciated also by extended family. This love is what he longed for but feared he would never find. 

Alexis: Why is it difficult for Dayna to love people and form good, lasting relationships? How did her past shape her into the person she is today?

Gail: As the reader digs into the story, they learn of Dayna’s difficult childhood with a mother who had a serious heart disease that would end her life. This drew her to her father, but his death also left things unanswered, and at that point, Dayna lost her confidence in her worth. It seemed to her that love was given and then taken away, and she believed that finding long term relationships was not going to happen to her. Her best friend, a coworker, was the only person she really trusted and that had grown over time. Otherwise Dayna almost lived as a recluse in her sheltered, untrusting life. 

Alexis: What was the most memorable moment for you in writing this story?

Gail: Besides the love story, I believe the moment Dayna realized what her problem had been for so many years and later when she shares that awareness with her sister. It still brings tears to my eyes when I read it.

Alexis: What was the most difficult scene to write? Why? 

Gail: I think that the hospital and medical research was the most difficult since I want everything in my novels to be accurate so I spend a great deal of time finding the answers, even if it’s calling a hospital to ask about doctor’s shifts and what their cafeteria is like.

Alexis: Would you say that this story has a happy ending? Why or why not?

Gail: True romance novels must have a happy ending, and though a marriage may not end a story, the reader has the confidence that this relationship will result in a happy and lifelong marriage. 

Alexis: What kind of impact do you want this story to make on the hearts of your readers?

Gail: I believe this story proposes thoughtful questions about how attitudes, point of view and misunderstandings can harm relationships and self-esteem. I hope the story shows readers that stepping back and taking a different look at situations can sometimes provide healing and new hope for the future. When we warp the truth, we are left with warped results. When we face the truth, we can face a life of hope and forgiveness. 

Alexis: Complete this sentence: My faovrite feature of writing Christmas stories is _______________________ because __________________________.

Gail: My favorite feature of writing Christmas stories is the memories and joy of Christmas because Christmas takes us back to times of wonder and promise as we remember not only what Jesus Christ's birth means but also the connection with family and friends. 

Alexis: Thanks for the interview, Gail! Do you have any closing thoughts?

Gail: Christmas has always been popular in secular and Christian fiction. I believe it’s because books present stories of family, hope, and love that draws out memories of the excitement and fun of waiting for Santa, decorating homes, baking cookies, and wrapping gifts and receiving surprises. Who doesn’t love a cozy, warm, and wonderful setting for a story? 

Thanks to you, Alexis, for your willingness to share A Tucumcari Christmas with readers.

Author bio: 

Multi-award-winning novelist, Gail Gaymer Martin is the author of Christian contemporary romance, romantic suspense, and women’s fiction with 68 published novels and four million books sold. CBS local news listed Gail as one of the four best writers in the Detroit area. 

Her books have received numerous awards, including: ACFW Carol Award, Romantic Times Reviewer Choice, Booksellers Best, National Readers Choice, Holt Medallion, Award of Excellence. 

Gail is a founder of American Christian Fiction Writers, a member of Advanced Speakers and Writers, and Christian Authors Network. She is a keynote speaker at churches, civic and business organizations and presents workshops at conferences across the country. 

Gail was a lifetime resident of Michigan until moving to Sedona, Arizona.


1 comment:

  1. Sorry I didn't see this in time! I haven't been on here enough. Wonderful post!


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