Wednesday, December 2, 2020

12 Days of Christmas Joy: Alaskan Christmas Redemption

Interview with Belle Calhoune about her book, 
Alaskan Christmas Redemption

Alexis: Why did you write this book?

Belle: Piper Miller was a character in the series and she was so spunky and spirited, that I knew I would write her story. She’s a great character to root for. I wanted Piper to have her happy ending.

Alexis: Describe the setting for this story. What makes Owl Creek special to your characters?

Belle: Owl Creek, Alaska is a quaint town in Alaska with faith-filled and quirky townsfolk. Owl Creek is only accessible by air or water. The town is close knit and heartwarming. The residents all know each other and they have each other’s backs in times of trouble. In the winter months you might see snow-covered trees and majestic mountains looming in the distance. If you’re hungry you can head over to the Snowy Owl Diner, Tea time or the North Star Chocolate shop. This small Alaskan town is full of life.

Alexis: Why did you make secrets, faith, healing and forgiveness the themes of this story?

I think secrets can be really compelling to readers. All of my books in the Home to Owl Creek revolve around secrets. Characters who are harboring secrets are really interesting to create. I think healing and forgiveness are powerful themes and when you add in the faith element it creates a powerful journey for the characters. Forgiveness always plays a big role in my stories, mainly because it’s a theme I deeply believe in.

Alexis: Tell me about your story’s hero Braden North. What does he look like? Sound like? Act like? What are his greatest strengths and most troublesome weaknesses?

Belle: Braden is a very handsome man. He has brown hair and green eyes. He’s tall with striking features. His voice is low and soothing. He’s very athletic and rugged. He’s always been an adventurous person and loves snowmobiling, skiing, mountain climbing and other outdoor sports. His greatest strength is his loyalty and belief in the goodness of people. His weakness is his lack of belief in himself.

Alexis: Tell me about your story’s heroine Piper Miller. What does she look like? Sound like? Act like? What are her deepest dreams and most troubling fears?

Belle: Piper is beautiful. She has warm brown skin, brown eyes and curly dark hair. She has a sweet voice and an infectious laugh. She’s a very good person and the very heart of Owl Creek. Piper is a warm person who is inviting and gracious. Any time a stranger steps into town, Piper makes them feel right at home. Her deepest dream is to turn things around at the Snowy Owl Diner so she can create a legacy for her father. Her most troubling fear is that she will lose the diner and disappoint her family and friends.

Alexis: How did Braden and Piper first become best friends?

Belle: They have been friends since they were little kids. In a small town like Owl Creek, everyone knows everyone. Because their brothers, Hank and Connor, were best friends, Piper and Braden were in the same orbit since they were small. Their friendship developed naturally and strengthened during their school years.

What makes Piper’s diner memorable and special to the residents of Owl Creek?

Belle: The diner represents community to the townsfolk of Owl Creek. It’s not only a place where the residents gather for a meal and to try Piper’s latest pie creations, it’s a destination for fellowship. Folks gather to catch up on news, meet up with an old friend or commune with the locals. It’s a special place where everyone is welcome and no one is a stranger for long.

Alexis: Why does Piper believe that Braden can help her save the diner?

Belle: Piper believes Braden can help her because he’s her best friend and he’s always been there to help her ride out the tough moments in life. She thinks he hung the moon. Even though they are best friends I think there’s a part of her that has always been in love with him. She believes he can do anything. Be anything. Accomplish anything. And she trusts his judgement implicitly.

Alexis: How does working together to rescue the diner bring Piper and Braden together?

Belle: Piper has a lot on her shoulders. She’s inherited a diner that was in financial trouble when she assumed ownership and she hasn’t been able to fix things. The situation has made her frightened and sad. Things are spiraling out of control and she has no one to lean on. Working with Braden on getting the diner back on track affirms to Piper that Braden is still the loyal friend he used to be. He makes her believe that things can turn around with the diner. He gives her hope.

Alexis: What threatens to put a pin in Braden and Piper’s bubbling romance?

The truth that Braden has been hiding from his best friend for four years threatens their relationship. I’m not giving out any spoilers, but there’s a reason Braden has been avoiding being in Piper’s orbit for the last few years. He harbors a lot of guilt and regret. He’s also very afraid that his past actions are going to rise up and get him in trouble with Piper.

What do you want readers to remember most about this story?

Belle: I want readers to remember that even when things seem dark, hope is ever present. As human beings we all make mistakes and do things we regret. We can’t hold on to those moments. We have to be better, do better in the future.

Alexis: Did you play Christmas music while writing this story? If so, which song was your favorite and how did it inspire your storytelling?

Oh yes! I listened to it all the time. I think my favorite was Nat King Cole’s “Christmas Song” and “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” by Judy Garland. Both are classics. They never get old.

Alexis: What is your favorite Christmas holiday treat? Did it help you while writing this story? If so, explain.

Belle: I really like Moose Bar Crunch. It’s very sweet and Christmasy. I only indulge in it once a year (at Christmas) so it’s extra special. It’s sweet and crunchy and oh so delicious.

Alexis: If you could give one of your characters a Christmas gift, what would it be? Why?

Belle: I would give Piper a framed picture of her and her father, Jack. Although he is no longer living on Earth, I would hope the picture would remind Piper that love never dies. He’s always with her.

Thanks for the interview, Belle. Merry Christmas!

Author Bio:

Belle Calhoune grew up in a small town in Massachusetts as one of five children. 

Although both her parents worked in the medical field, Belle never considered science as the pathway to her future. Growing up across the street from a public library was a huge influence on her life. 

She is a Publisher’s Weekly bestselling author as well as a member of RWA’s Honor Roll. In 2019 her book, An Alaskan Christmas, was made into a movie (Love, Alaska) by Brain Power Studios and aired on UPTV. 

Belle is the author of over 40 novels and published by Harlequin Love Inspired and contracted by Grand Central Publishing.

Married to her college sweetheart, she is raising two lovely daughters in Connecticut. A dog lover, she has one mini poodle and a black lab. 

Blurb for Alaskan Christmas Redemption:

Some secrets are meant to be shared. 

Before he gives his heart … he’ll have to forgive himself.

Returning to Owl Creek after years away, Braden North’s determined to help his best friend, Piper Miller, save her failing diner. But as they work to revitalize her business, Braden’s convinced he must hide the truth about a tragedy from their past…or risk losing Piper for good. 

If he can find the courage, might telling her everything make this Christmas a time for healing and forgiveness?

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  1. my husband and i LIVED at a little diner in oak harbor ohio where we lived when we first got married. i miss was our special date nite place

  2. Yes, we have a small diner right outside the town I live in called Bobby’s. They are famous for their Bobby’s burgers, & Brenda was our favorite waitress there fir years!

  3. I have been to a diner. It is a 50's style diner. Great food.

  4. I've been to a small diner before.


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