Saturday, December 3, 2016

A Prelude to Christmas: Terri Reed's novel about a family and a tree

Welcome Terri Reed to the blog today! She's a bestselling author whose stories have been recognized by prominent organizations like Publisher's Weekly and Romance Writers of America (RWA). Terri is visiting with us today to talk about her new novel, A Family Under the Christmas Tree.

Here's the blurb for Terri's book: In this heartwarming tale set during the Christmas season, a single father and a fashion photographer are brought together by a young boy and a mischievous Bernese mountain dog—but first they must learn to set aside their differences if they are willing to let their relationship bloom. 

David Murphy never knew much about kids. But when his brother dies unexpectedly, David is granted custody of his six-year-old nephew, Troy, who he’s only seen once a year since he was born. He already has his hands full running his business, and he has no idea how to help the grieving boy. When Troy runs off one day, David finds him at a park playing with an adorable and rambunctious Bernese mountain dog—who leads him to Sophie.

Sophie Griffith has spent her life travelling around the world as a photojournalist. She has never stayed in one place for long, and her new assignment—helping her grandmother for a few weeks—is just temporary. Once Christmas day comes, Sophie is off the hook and can leave for a new adventure. Caring for her grandmother is a piece of cake—but caring for her new Bernese mountain dog, Riggs, is a different story. It doesn’t help that Riggs strikes up a friendship with a lost little boy one day at the park—and leads her to David.

Neither David nor Sophie have time for romance. But as they spend more time together, they start falling for each other even though they know it can’t go anywhere. Sophie will be gone after Christmas, and the last thing David needs is another distraction as he tries to comfort Troy. But as their faith and growing love for the boy and dog unites them, they wonder whether it’s more than a holiday romance…and maybe Troy might finally get his Christmas wish for a family.

Fill out the book giveaway contest entry form on this Rafflecopter widget for your chance to WIN a copy of Terri's novel: 
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Enjoy your time with Terri today via this author interview! :)
Interview with Terri Reed, author of A Family Under the Christmas Tree:

Alexis: A Family Under the Christmas Tree is a lovely title for a novel! What is it about? 

Terri: This is a story of two people who think they know the path of their lives only to discover that sometimes the unexpected can derail the best-laid plans but also bring joy and love.

Alexis: Tell us about your story’s hero David. Why is he a single father? Describe his personality and heart.

Terri: When David’s brother and wife are tragically killed, David is given custody of his five-year-old nephew, Troy. David is driven to succeed but he wants to do right by his nephew and struggles to find the balance of work and family.

Alexis: The heroine of your story, Sophie, is a fashion photographer and photojournalist! How exciting! Tell us about the research that you did to make her career and role in this story believable.

Terri: For Sophie’s career as a photographer, I drew upon my time as a model when I was younger. Though I wasn’t behind the camera, I learned the ins and outs of the equipment, lighting, and styling a shot. I also have a daughter who is a photographer who answered many technical questions I had about photography.

Alexis: What is the significance of the “mischievous Bernese mountain dog”? Describe his role in this story.

Terri: Riggs, the Bernese mountain dog is Grandma Louise’s pup and a bit more than she bargained for. Of course she fell for him, who wouldn’t? When Sophie comes to stay, she doesn’t want to fall for the cute dog’s charm but soon realizes she can’t resist as she witnesses Riggs connection to young Troy.

Alexis: What causes David and Sophie to conflict with each other at first? How do they overcome it?

Terri: Their conflict stems issues of trust at first, though they tell themselves it’s about their careers. They each must set aside the hurts of their past to see if a future together is possible.

Alexis: Tell us a bit more about Sophie. Why did she choose a career as a photographer? What does she love most about traveling the world? What would have to happen in order for her to settle down?

Terri: Sophia discovered a passion for photography at a young age. At first is was a hobby to keep her busy but then she discovered she enjoyed the freedom of taking jobs around the globe, allowing her to see new places and experience many adventures. In order for her to settle down, she’ll need to do some self-discovery and open her heart to love.

Alexis: Why doesn’t David have time for romance? In what ways does Sophie open his heart to love?

Terri: David is on the verge of taking his company to the next level. He wants to be financially secure above all else but he also has this child now that he must give his attention too. Adding in the complication of a romance isn’t something he thinks he wants or can handle. Spending time with Sophie makes him realize there is room in his life for more if he’s willing to let down his guard. He has to learn to trust Sophie in order to open his heart to her.

Alexis: Tell us about David’s son Troy. What is his Christmas wish? Why?

Terri: Troy is actually David’s nephew and both are trying to figure out how to live together. Troy is a typical child, testing the boundaries and needful of attention and love. Having lost his parents in an accident, Troy wants to be a part of a family and he prays for one.

Alexis: Describe the setting for this story. Why did you choose it?

Terri: I used Bellevue Washington as the setting because it is a pretty and unique city outside of Seattle. There are mountains nearby, rivers and lakes. And in winter there is the Snowflake Parade through downtown. It’s lovely.

Alexis: Where did you write this story? Paint a picture of it with words.

Terri: I work in my home office right off the kitchen, which makes it easy to keep hydrated and fueled while working. When I’m in the throes of a book, my office tends to look like a bomb went off. I have stacks of papers and books all around me for easy access. Behind my 27-inch computer monitor, I have a wall of photos and inspirational quotes to keep me focused. I have a window for some natural light so I don’t have to turn on the overhead light.

Alexis: Did you listen to Christmas music while writing this story? If so, what songs were on your playlist? Name at least two.

Terri: I love Christmas music and play it all year along. My favorite songs are “It Came Upon A Midnight Clear” by Mercy Me, “Angels We Have Heard On High” by Pentatonix, “Mary Did You Know” by Rascal Flatts and “I’ll be Home for Christmas” by Rascal Flatts.

Alexis: What do you want your readers to remember most about this Christmas novel of yours?

Terri: I hope readers will see the beauty letting go of expectations and seeing that the unexpected can bring love and joy.

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

Terri: I wish you all a Merry Christmas!

Author bio:

Terri Reed’s romance and romantic suspense novels have appeared on Publisher’s Weekly Top 25, Nielsen’s Bookscan top 100 and featured in USA Today, Christian Fiction Magazine and Romantic Times Magazine. 

Her novels have finaled in RWA’s RITA contest, National Reader’s Choice Award contest, ACFW’s The Carol Award contest. P.O. Box 19555 Portland, OR 97224. 

Buy Terri's book, A Family Under the Christmas Tree, from Howard Books via Amazon.

Connect with Terri:
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  1. Thank you Alexis for hosting me today.

    1. You're welcome, Terri. Thanks for being my guest! :) God bless you and Merry Christmas!

  2. Thanks for the chance to win, and thanks for being here, Terri!

    1. You're welcome, Leslie. Good luck in the book giveaway contest! :)

  3. I have a little Peke we call our therapy dog. She just loves no matter what the day may bring. A treat for her would be perfect. Because how do we thank our furry friends for all their kindness? Jacqueline Gillam Fairchild--author: Estate of Mind