Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Countdown to Christmas | Interview w/ Melody Carlson

Welcome to Day 2 of the Countdown to Christmas {Book} Party! Yay! If you missed yesterday's interviews and giveaways, Tricia Goyer and Ruth Logan Herne stopped by. Christmas memories and giveaways!

Today, I'm pleased to have Melody Carlson drop in for a Blogside Chat! In case you're unaware, Melody has written a TON of books. Her Christmas books are some of my faves, and she has a new Christmas book out this year called A Simple Christmas Wish.

(Later today, I'll be posting as part of a Debut Authors Giveaway Hop. Plus, there are 75+ other stops in the hop!)

ib4b: Melody, welcome to i blog 4 books! What is your most memorable Christmas and why?

Melody Carlson: 1964 because Oregon had a huge flood that Christmas. We normally made a three hour trip to my grandparents’ home for holidays, because they knew how to do Christmas right. But because of road closures etc., it was ‘inadvisable.’ Still, my sister and I urged our single mom to make the perilous drive. Anyway, a couple hours into the trip we were stopped by state troopers because the road ahead was under water. They said ‘travel at your own risk’ warning that the roads behind us were getting inundated too. We told Mom to “go for it” and watched with wide eyes as our heavy 54 Chevy plowed through the water and as water leaked inside through the floorboard. And we also witnessed a VW Bug floating away. At my grandparents, since we couldn’t get to the woods to cut down a tree due to floods, my grandpa chopped down a gorgeous twelve foot holly tree in their yard and that became our Christmas tree. Beautiful but prickly.

ib4b: Oh wow, that definitely sounds like a memorable Christmas! Name three words that you associate with Christmas.

MC: Love, peace, joy. I just wish that the whole world could enjoy those gifts!

ib4b: How will your family celebrate Christmas this year?

MC: We’ll be in our home in the mountains. Hopefully with snow. We’ll have family and friends and neighbors—we usually invite anyone who needs a place to go. We’ll eat too much, laugh a lot, play games, sing songs, open gifts, and just enjoy celebrating God’s precious Gift to mankind. Over the years I’ve tried to simplify the “holidays” and just focus on the parts that bring the most joy.

ib4b: What is the best gift you’ve ever given?

MC: Tough question. I don’t think of myself as terribly clever when it comes to gifting. I lean toward the practical. Plus, it would probably depend on which person received it. My sons might say it was the season ski passes they got in high school. My granddaughter might say it was her first bike.

ib4b: Those are great gifts! Who gave you the best Christmas gift you’ve ever received? What was it?

MC: I recently shared this story publicly (for the first time). On my first Christmas (I was 9 months old) and my parents’ marriage was in serious trouble because my dad was an abusive alcoholic and my mom (with two small children) was in way over her head. I believe God looked down on me and said, “I’m going to give you exactly what you need today.” That was the day my husband was born. (Yes, I’m nine months older). But we’ve been happily married for more than 35 years and God was right—Christopher was exactly what I needed and my best gift ever!

ib4b: What a sweet story! I'm so glad God knows what we need ... even before we do! Tell me about the Christmas tradition that means the most to you.

MC: Over the years, I’ve been less inclined to hold onto to “traditions.” Mostly because each year is different. We have a different group of guests in our home. Different situations. Sometimes there are problems and conflicts and we just have to make the best of it. But my favorite “tradition” is to find a moment when all is quiet (usually after everyone is in bed) and I just sit in the glowing light of the tree and decorations, relishing the wonder of what God did by sending His precious Son to be the Light of the World for everyone.
ib4b: How do you keep your focus on Christ during this hectic but wondrous time of year?

MC: I think it’s the same throughout the year. You maintain a personal relationship by spending time with Him—on a daily basis. By being thankful and by attempting to imitate his love and grace toward those around you.

ib4b: You sound like you've been in my head recently ... and put into words many of the things I've been thinking about making "Christmas" last all year long.

This or That ...
  • White or colorful lights? White lights on the tree. Colored lights on the house.
  • Turkey or ham? Both.
  • Tree - real or fake? Real, Real, Real!!!
  • Hot cocoa or apple cider? I’m really more of a coffee and tea drinker.
  • Frosty or Rudolph? Rudolph
  • Wrapping paper or gift bag? Both. I like how wrapped presents look beneath the tree. But if I’m rushed, I’m thankful for gift bags.
About A Simple Christmas Wish
Rachel Milligan is caring for her seven-year-old niece, Holly, at her home in Chicago when she receives devastating news: Holly's parents have been killed in a plane crash. Because Rachel is Holly's only known relative, she assumes that she will be her beloved niece's guardian. However, custody is awarded to Lydia, a distant aunt who happens to be Amish. Just a week before Christmas, Rachel takes Holly to the Amish community in the hopes of persuading Aunt Lydia to relinquish custody. Instead, Lydia sets out to teach Holly to live according to the Amish way. As family secrets emerge and old wounds are healed, Rachel realizes that she will do whatever it takes to ensure that Holly has the loving family she needs.

Combining an Amish family saga with the anticipation of Christmas cheer and the promise of a budding romance, this newest Christmas story from beloved author Melody Carlson is sure to please.

About Melody Carlson
Melody Carlson is one of the most prolific novelists of our time. With more than 200 books published and sales topping 6.5 million, Melody writes primarily for women and teens. She’s won numerous honors and awards, including The Rita, Gold Medallion, Carol Award and Romantic Times Lifetime Achievement award. Grace Unplugged is her novelization of a major motion picture which releases in fall of 2013. Melody has two grown sons and one granddaughter. She makes her home in the Pacific Northwest with her husband. When not writing, Melody likes to travel, bike, camp, garden, and walk her yellow Labrador in the great outdoors.

Connect with Melody Carlson Online


  1. Great interview!!!! I loved all the questions and Melody's answers. I thought it was so wonderful about her greatest gift. God takes care of us before we even know we need taken care of and answers our prayers before we even pray them. What an awesome God!

  2. Enjoyed the wonderful interview with Melody Carlson. She's a great author.

    Barbara Thompson

  3. This is a good interview. I've tried many times to win this book. So, will try again. Thanks for this chance. MAXIE mac262(at)me(dot)com


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