Saturday, December 5, 2020

12 Days of Christmas Joy: Hope for Christmas by Elizabeth Maddrey

Interview with Elizabeth Maddrey about her book,
Hope for Christmas:

Alexis: What inspired you to write this Christmas holiday story?

Elizabeth: Honestly? I got invited to a Christmas-themed box set and wanted to participate. I’d written about Azure Hewitt recently (in A Heart Realigned, the third book of my Peacock Hill series) and I knew she had more siblings, so I thought making it tie in would be a good plan.

Alexis: Describe the setting in New Mexico for this story. What makes Hope Ranch special to your main characters?

Elizabeth: Hope Ranch is in the mesas and mountains of Northern New Mexico. If you look up the Valles Caldera National Preserve online, you can get a little glimpse of what the ranch looks like. But I moved it to a slightly different place (closer to Taos) and shifted a few things around. The ranch is where the grandparents of the book’s hero live. He’s never met them, because of his father’s decision to cut all ties with them, and he’s curious.

Alexis: Tell me about your story’s heroine Maria. Why does she not believe in love at first sight?

Elizabeth: Mostly because she’s been burned. She’s a single mom as a result of believing assurances of love too soon in a relationship, so she’s skeptical that love at first sight is anything more than an attempt to get someone into bed.

Alexis: Tell me about your story’s heroine Cyan. Why has he always believed in love at first sight?

Elizabeth: He’s a romantic at the bottom of it all. And since he hasn’t really had a relationship that grew into love, he’s decided that maybe it’s going to take the lightning strike for him to recognize it.

Alexis: Why did Cyan choose a career as a cyber security consultant? What makes him good at his job?

Elizabeth: As much as he’s a romantic, he’s also fairly pragmatic. He recognized it as a career that blended something he was interested in with a high demand—so there’s job security. He’s good at his job because he enjoys puzzles and problem solving.

Alexis: How long has Maria been a housekeeper for Rancho de Esperanza? Is there anything that she does not like about her job? Explain.

Elizabeth: She’s been there about eight years now – having come just before her son was born. She actually considers it the perfect job. The Hewitts are very laid back and treat her like she’s part of the family – she can take time to care for her son whenever needed and so it’s provided stability and community all in one shot.

Alexis: How long has Maria been a single mom? What happened to her child’s father?

Elizabeth: She became a single mom basically as soon as she told the father that she was pregnant. He wanted nothing to do with a child and said if she wasn’t going to have an abortion she was on her own. She took him at his word and had him relinquish his rights to keep him from changing his mind. He’s probably still out there in the world, but Maria doesn’t care. She’s realized she’s better off without him.

Alexis: Has Maria always been a strong, independent woman? If not, what caused her to be?

Elizabeth: The roots were there, but having Calvin solidified them. Single moms have to have spine to make it.

Alexis: What are Maria and Cyan’s most challenging struggles that they face alone and together?

Elizabeth: Maria is suspicious of easy. And she doesn’t like accepting help, or even admitting that she needs it. Cyan is a problem solver and he tends to wade in with a solution when he sees one and is able to provide it—even if it’s not really something that’s desired.

Alexis: What does Cyan love about Maria?

Elizabeth: Her strength and determination as well as her generous heart.

Alexis: What does Maria like about Cyan?

Elizabeth: She noticed his looks right off, but she also loves that he sticks and doesn’t let her push him away. And she loves how much he loves her son Calvin.

Alexis: What role does faith in God play in this story?

Elizabeth: Cyan isn’t a believer when he first comes to Hope Ranch. His dad was very anti-Christianity, so none of his formative years had any exposure to Jesus Christ. But a couple of his siblings have found Christ and are making tentative forays into talking about Him with the family—and that’s what sends him to Hope Ranch. Betsy and Wayne Hewitt, his grandparents, are also strong believers—he wants to get to know them, and they are excited to show him Jesus. Maria is already a believer, and so she struggles with her attraction and interest in a non-believer. But she also sees an opportunity to witness to him in the midst of her struggles.

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

Elizabeth: I didn’t. I don’t actually like listening to Christmas music. I put up with it when my family wants it on during the holidays, but if no one’s around asking for it? I prefer silence.

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

Elizabeth: I like pumpkin pie. A lot. But I’m pretty sure I wrote this book in June, so there was no pie to be had. I probably could have made one, but it didn’t even occur to me to do that.

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

I’d probably give Cyan a nativity set. Mostly because they are hands down my favorite Christmas decoration (actually I tend to leave mine out all year) and I think everyone should have one. Plus he came to know Jesus at Christmas, so it’s a nice reminder.

Thanks for the interview, Elizabeth. Merry Christmas!

Author Bio: 
Elizabeth Maddrey is a semi-reformed computer geek and homeschooling mother of two who lives in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. 

When she isn’t writing, Elizabeth is a voracious consumer of books. 

She loves to write about Christians who struggle through their lives, dealing with sin and receiving God’s grace on their way to their own romantic happily ever after.

Blurb for Elizabeth's book, Hope for Christmas:

An independent single mom who doesn’t believe in love at first sight collides with a man who does. 

Cyan Hewitt drifts onto his estranged grandparents’ New Mexico ranch in time for Thanksgiving … and stays. As a cyber security consultant, he can telecommute, so why not from here, where his restless soul is soothed and his heart is awakened by the attractive ranch housekeeper?

Maria Sanchez works at Rancho de Esperanza to provide a stable life for her son. She’s content—mostly—in her roles as housekeeper, part-time student, and mom, but when her precocious seven-year-old is diagnosed with diabetes, her world shatters. There’s no time for distractions from the long-term visitor who’s stirring a longing in her for more.

Cyan may think her faith and courage are inspiring, but Maria feels vulnerable. Relying on others has only ever resulted in broken dreams. Christmas might be a season of hope, but does she dare risk everything for love?

Buy Elizabeth's book Hope for Christmas on Amazon

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1 comment:

  1. God's presence in my life and in the lives of my family and friends. I hope they will have His peace <3


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