Tuesday, October 30, 2007

A Big Apple Christmas

Love Christmas? Then this book may be perfect for you...it is a collection of four novellas written by friends of mine. And they've stopped by to answer a few questions about their stories.

By Vasthi Reyes Acosta, Gail Sattler, Lynette Sowell, and Carrie Turansky
A Contemporary romance collection that captures the sights and sounds of the Christmas season in New York City.

How did you come up with the ideas for your novella?

Vasthi: Growing up in New York City, as a small Puerto Rican girl, I loved the fact that Christmas didn't end for me on Christmas day. We still had El Dia de los Reyes (Epiphany or Three Kings Day) to look forward to. We received gifts on that day as well. The night before January 6th, tradition dictates that water and grass be left out for the wise men and their camels. In return the wise men left us a small gift. I always felt special knowing that while my classmates enjoyed their Christmas gifts I still had more gifts coming after the new year. So naturally I wanted to write about our celebration of El Dia de los Reyes.

Gail: The hustle and bustle of New York City at Christmas time is special and unique, and fun! And most of all, crowded. Then I thought of what it would be like to be surrounded by such a crowd, with nothing but a list of fun places to go and fun things to do, and Shopping For Love was born.

I think New York is a special place at Christmas time, and I'd always wanted to write a Christmas novella. Then one November, I saw a news clip of how the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center is selected. Enter my widowed heroine and her scheming children who surprise her with a trip to see her tree in Rockefeller Center.

I love stories that bring characters together who are very different from each other, so the idea of matching a professional organizer and a free-spirited poet intrigued me. New York City is a wonderful place to visit at Christmas time, and I thought setting our story there would be enjoyable for our readers.

It’s often said that writers need to read, read, read! So tell us what you are reading.
Vasthi: I'm always reading more than one book at a time. Master Class in Fiction Writing by Adam Sexton and Courting Trouble by Deanne Gist.

Carrie: I always have a book or two on my nightstand. Recently I’ve read A Bigger Life by Annette Smith, The Restorer by Sharon Hink, In Search of Eden by Linda Nichols, Off the Record by Elizabeth White, and Remembered by Tammy Alexander.

Lynette: I have a couple of Love Inspired Suspense novels on my stack. I just got started on Christine Lynxwiler's latest release, Forever Christmas.

Gail: A book by fellow author and friend, Lena Nelson Dooley.

What's next for you in your writing?
Vasthi: I'm hoping to find a home for my trilogy and write the third novel in the series.

Carrie: I am just finishing Surrendered Hearts for Love Inspired. Next I hope to work on a Civil War story set in Richmond. I also have an international adventure/romance set in Kenya that I am just beginning to brainstorm with my daughter who just returned from working in Africa for several months.

Lynette: I love mysteries, and I love romantic suspense. I'm working on becoming a better writer in both genres.

Gail: I'm working on a chick lit, but it's still in the beginning stages.

Are you a "plotter" or a "seat-of-the-pants" writer?
Vasthi: Both. I like to plot out as much as I can first to feel confident of the story I'm going to tell, but then I start writing and scenes appear that I hadn't planned, and characters show up that I didn't know, so I just flow with it.

I am a plotter. I work on my characters and setting first, then I write a running outline that no one sees but me. (Thank goodness!) Then I revise that and write my synopsis. From there I begin writing and sometimes I deviate from the outline a little, but not too much.

Lynette: Both. I think the right amount of planning and plotting are necessary so I don't write myself into a corner. But I also like to keep my brain open for any neat twists that come up with my characters.

Gail: Definitely a plotter. I have to know the ending before I write the first word.

What writing resources do you recommend?
Vasthi: Become a member of American Christian Fiction Writers--it is a fabulous group! Subscribe to Writer's Digest, visit author web sites there is a lot of wonderful writing advice for free. Maybe someday I'll have my own web site too.

: I agree with Vasthi. Joining ACFW has helped me tremendously. I’ve also gained a lot from attending writers’ conferences. I often consult Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Browne and King.

Lynette: Besides finding a good critique group and writing group, read a lot. Pick up some good craft books. I like Plot and Structure by James Scott Bell and Getting Into Character by Brandilyn Collins.

Gail: Other authors are the biggest resource. Join a writing group, either in person or online, and get involved.

Who has been one of your best encouragers on your writing journey?
Vasthi: My family. They are my cheerleaders.
Carrie: My mother-in-law and my daughters.
Lynette: My husband. He won't let me quit.
Gail: My husband. He indulges me and takes care of everything he can so I can write.

Please stop by the special new web site we created for this book. You can read excerpts of each novella, learn more about the authors, see some of our favorite Christmas recipes and enjoy photos of New York City. We have some fun giveaways planned for our readers, so pick up a copy of A BIG APPLE CHRISTMAS and get ready to answer the questions and enter the draws starting in October.

You can learn more about the authors at their websites:
Gail Sattler
Lynette Sowell
Carrie Turansy

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