Hi Ms. Carlson! Thank you for taking the time to “stop by” Book Reviews by Buuklvr81, and answering some questions for us!
BL:Do you have a favorite Christmas story or book that has particularly touched your heart?
MC:I’ve always been an O. Henry fan and The Gift of the Magi is a poignant Christmas tale that I’ve loved for years. In fact, it was the inspiration for one of my own Christmas novellas (All I Have to Give). O. Henry (a pseudonym) had some interesting life challenges (including doing some prison time) which might explain his unique ability to write so realistically and movingly about human behavior and problems—and yet his stories were always laced with hope.
BL:You have written numerous Christmas novellas – what do you like best about writing this type of story?
MC:There’s something about a Christmas story that invites “magic,” creativity and the unexpected. Because I never outline, writing is an exploratory journey for me, but it’s especially so with a Christmas tale. So I always look forward to when it’s time to write another one. Ironically I end up writing my Christmas stories right in the middle of summer—it might be close to 100 degrees outside and yet I’m writing about snow falling, hot chocolate and jingle bells. Fortunately my air conditioned writing studio looks out over a pine forest, but I’m often caught by surprise once I step out the door.
BL:Do you have an idea for next year’s Christmas book yet?
MC:I’ve already written next year’s Christmas novella and it might be my favorite ones so far. It’s called Christmas at Harrington’s and it has some very fun twists and turns. As usual, I start the character out with some major challenges—much more so than usual—and yet by the time the story ends…well, I guess I can’t tell you what happens. I’ll just say that I had a good time with that book.
BL:Was there or is there a special dog in your life that spurred the idea for The Christmas Dog?
MC:Many years ago, when our boys were preschool age, we were asked to doggy-sit by an international college student we’d befriended. She said it would only be for a week, but we ended up with that dog for sixteen years. She’d rescued the scruffy little mutt from the streets and named him Prince. And although he looked nothing like a “prince” he turned out to be A Prince Among Dogs (and actually has a book named after him). He was probably the inspiration for the dog in the book.
BL:Do you have a favorite Christmas tradition that you can share?
MC:My favorite tradition is simply being with family and friends. Does it get any better than that? But because my husband’s birthday is also on Christmas Day, and because he got tired of having turkey for his birthday every year, I asked him what he’d prefer. “Lasagna,” he proclaimed. So for the last fifteen years, we’ve had lasagna on Christmas Day and everyone seems to enjoy it more than turkey.
BL:What message(s),if any, do you want your readers to come away with after reading one of your stories?
MC:If I had only one undercurrent theme running through my books, I would hope that it’s grace. To me, the beauty of fiction is getting to create characters with problems and hang-ups and then you get to show why they’re like that. And suddenly compassion is born. Because the more we understand others, the easier it is to forgive them and set judgments aside.
About the book:
Betty Kowalski isn’t looking forward to the holidays. She just can’t seem to find Christmas in her heart. Maybe it’s because her husband is gone. Maybe it’s because she’s missing her children. Or maybe it has something to do with her obnoxious new neighbor, who seems to be tearing his house apart and rearranging it on the lawn.
But when a mangy dog appears at her doorstep, the stage is set for Betty to learn what Christmas is really all about.
About the Author:
Melody Carlson is the award-winning author of over two hundred books, several of them Christmas novellas from Revell, including her much-loved and bestselling book, The Christmas Bus. She also writes many teen books, including Just Another Girl, Anything but Normal, the Diary of a Teenage Girl series, the TrueColors series, and the Carter House Girls series. Melody was nominated for a Romantic Times Career Achievement Award in the inspirational market for her books, including the Notes from a Spinning Planet series and Finding Alice, which is in production as a Lifetime Television movie. She and her husband serve on the Young Life adult committee in central Oregon. Visit Melody’s website at www.melodycarlson.com.
Carlson’s main character, Betty, isn’t sure she has mcuh patience left this christmas. With a mysterious neighbor, and an even more mysterious dog, she feels she’s not into Christmas this year. But, wiht a boost from God(and a little dog!), she tries to make the best of it.
I love Carlson’s characters, as well as the message she puts in the lines of this charming holiday read! Loving your neighbor as your self, having faith and the spirit of Christmas are just a few of the lessons learned in this great book!
Grab a copy of this great book and fall in love with this adorable little dog that can teach a lesson!
Five stars, two thumbs and praises to a gifted author!
*Available now at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group*
**This book was provided for review by Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group**