Sunday, December 23, 2018

Christmas on My Heart: A Cardinal Christmas by LoRee Peery

Interview with LoRee Peery about her book, A Cardinal Christmas:

Alexis: Why did you write this book?

LoRee: I wanted to contribute a novella to be included in Pelican Book Group’s Christmas Extravaganza.

Alexis: What inspired your story’s title, “A Cardinal Christmas?”

LoRee: To me, the sight of cardinals is the same as God saying hello through nature. I love the romance of cardinals. They mate for life. I’ve seen the male feed the female in spring. When they appear with snow as a backdrop, I’m reminded of the blood Jesus shed for us that makes us white as snow.

Alexis: Describe your story’s heroine Blythe. What does she look like? How does she talk? What’s her outlook on life? What makes her mad? What brings joy to her heart?

LoRee: Blythe is a beauty in her early thirties. She has a porcelain complexion, black hair, and expressive eyes. Think Penelope Cruz with sea-green eyes. She speaks distinct mid-western. That means clear consonants and no dropping the g on gerunds (unless she’s flustered by Werner’s presence). Her outlook on life has always been optimistic, but this Christmas finds her downhearted because of a recent break-up. She blames herself for being gullible. Laziness makes her mad, especially if she sees potential not being put to use. The Lord works through her family and the influence of friends, as well as Werner, restoring the joy of the Lord and the joy of life.

Blythe loves her job! What does she do for a living and why is she so passionate about it?

She is a vice president for an international resort chain and has a gift for spotting trouble in management. Who wouldn’t love that job? She gets to wear power suits, expensive shoes, and fly to exotic beaches in the middle of winter.

Who broke Blythe’s heart and why did this heartbreak make her feel like she doesn’t need any personal relationships?

LoRee: The year prior, Blythe had shared with Hayley of Christmas Trinkets the exuberance of new love. She thought this guy hung the moon. Then he dumped her for someone younger who could make him look better and more successful in his climb up the corporate ladder.

Why does Blythe’s father need surgery and why does Blythe need to return home?

Ross is a mechanic and owns his business in the tiny town of Edgewood, Nebraska. Bette Jean, his wife and Blythe’s mother, works the front desk at Travis Auto. Ross required a knee replacement, which necessitates physical therapy right away. Blythe’s mother will be his caregiver and driver for at least two weeks. As their only daughter, one with a giving heart, Blythe takes off work to fill in at the shop for her mother.

Alexis: Describe your story’s hero Werner. What does he look like? How does he talk? What’s his outlook on life? What are his strengths and weaknesses? What makes him happy?

LoRee: Werner makes females take a second look. He’s over six foot, has coffee-colored dark, curly hair, facial hair, and blue eyes rimmed in navy. Though he lived in the northeast many years, he still talks as an educated Nebraskan. He believes the Lord’s got it, whatever life deals, so has the attitude, “what will be will be.” He has a strong work ethic and a gift for intuitive mediation. His lack of motivation sometimes comes across as laziness. He’s happy because he’s returned to Nebraska and reunited with Blythe.

Alexis: Werner has experienced tragedy. How did losing his parents and his job change him?

LoRee: Werner never forgot Blythe since they moved from Nebraska when he was a preteen. Since he lost his parents, he’s genuinely lonely for the first time, and jumped on the chance to return to the place his heart considers home.

Alexis: What is it about Blythe that takes Werner’s breath away?

LoRee: Blythe lit up his world because she was full of life as a ten-year-old. Seeing her all grown-up confirms that she’s always had his heart.

What is it about Werner that endears him to Blythe’s heart?

He’s a giver rather than a taker. As children, he offered his hand when Blythe slipped on loose rock, and continued to hold it when they walked the country railroad tracks. He answered an ad as a temporary mechanic without a qualm due to her father’s health situation, and later helps her mother decorate for Christmas.

What was the most challenging part of writing this story? And the easiest?

Setting is the answer to both. Blythe lived in downtown Atlanta. I’ve only been at the airport and seen the historical city thanks to “Gone With the Wind.” Edgewood is loosely based on any small Nebraska town, and was also the setting for Christmas Trinkets.

Is your story’s setting of Edgewood, Nebraska, REAL or imagined? Paint a picture of it with words.

LoRee: Every time I drive through a village one mile from our acreage, I see a gorgeous postcard-visage white church complete with stained glass and cross-tipped spire. There’s also an ancient tiny, brick building that was once the bank. Across the blacktop road, the bank’s vault is in the town’s body shop. The hiking/biking trail curves through on the south edge of town, with two bridges over the same winding creek within a mile.

Alexis: What role does God’s timing play in this story?

Blythe and Werner meet again at the perfect time. He answered an ad, calling him home. She went home at the same time. Blythe’s parents have a big house and Werner stayed as a guest before Ross’s surgery so he could get acquainted with the business. While there, he saw countless pictures of Blythe, and listened as her parents bragged. Blythe lost her necklace, Werner found it…but I’m telling the story. Meeting Werner again and her job situation reveal to Blythe how the ritzy condo in Atlanta had never been home. (I am telling the story!)

How does your personal faith in God affect your storytelling?

I can’t present a story without showing how God directs our steps and wants His best for us. We are all a work in progress and only find fulfillment by obedience.

If you could spend a day with Blythe and Warner before this Christmas season is over, what would you do and why?

LoRee: I think that’s the easiest question of all. I’d walk the Mo-Pac trail (real, where I walked when it was still railroad tracks) on the lookout for cardinals, especially pairs. The trail crosses the same creek twice, where once we wandered off and discovered a beaver dam.

What do you want readers to remember most about A Cardinal Christmas?

Joy and strength come from the Lord.

: Thanks for the interview, LoRee! Would you like to share closing thoughts?

LoRee: I thank you back, Alexis. My closing thoughts include thoughts. There’s a cliché that we are what we eat. I believe we are what we think. If we are thankful, our thoughts turn to joy. If we picture heaven and humbly thank God for sending Jesus to save us, we rise above the troubles of this earth.

Author Bio:

Christian romance author LoRee Peery writes to feel alive, as a way of contributing, and to pass forward the hope of rescue from sin. 
She writes of redeeming grace with a sense of place. 

LoRee clings to 1 John 5:4 and prays her family sees that faith.

She has authored the Frivolities Series and other e-books. Her desire for readers, the same as for her characters, is to discover where they fit in this life journey to best work out the Lord’s life plan.

She is who she is by the grace of God: Christian, country girl, wife, mother, grandmother, sister, friend, and author. She’s been a reader since before kindergarten.

Book Blurb for A Cardinal Christmas:

Blythe loves her job and doesn't need personal relationships, especially of the "love life" variety. 

Steeling herself from a recent heartbreak, Blythe focuses on furthering her successful career, but when her father needs surgery, Blythe returns home to help with the family auto shop. There, she comes face-to-face with the dreams of her past.

Werner has been content to let life pass him by. Following the death of his parents and the loss of his job, he returns to the only place he's ever called home. He finds Blythe more breathtaking than he remembered. But her presence is only temporary and she refuses to let him in.

Can Blythe leave her career behind for a whole new life? Though her heart cries to remain with Werner, can she risk being hurt again?

Buy LoRee’s book on Amazon and Pelican Book Group
Connect with LoRee:
Find her publications at Pelican Book Group:
Amazon Author Page:

Enter this book giveaway contest for your chance to WIN a copy of this book by filling out the entry form on the Rafflecopter widget below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Thanks for a month of wonderful words of hope and happiness on your blog, Alexis. Merry Christmas to you and your followers.

    1. You're welcome, LoRee! Thanks for being my guest. I appreciate your kind words! Merry Christmas and God bless you!


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