Today I’m happy to welcome fellow Anaiah Press author, Laura Nelson Selinsky to my blog. Why yes, I have started reading Christmas books and this one is on my TBR pile, watch out for the review coming soon!
Q: Where is your novella, Season of Hope set?
Laura: My story is set in an urban community—a bit downtrodden, but full of wonderful people. It is modeled on the real neighborhood from which many of my students came when I taught in an alternative education program. There’s an ancient Salvation Army chapter with a family shelter for which my husband and I used to cook meals, as volunteers.
Q: And what made you want to have your story play out at Christmas time?
Laura: Jesus offers the young couple at the heart of my story and all of us the hope of new beginnings, even when we’ve made mistakes or others’ bad choices have hurt us. Christmas is a perfect picture a new beginning in some challenging circumstances.
Q: What is your favorite part about Christmas and does it show up in the novella?
Laura: I sneaked two of my favorite Christmas traditions into the book. The protagonist Claudia reads Christmas stories to her young half-sisters, as I read to my kids. I love Christmas baking, so Marie, a spunky secondary character, is a fabulous baker; I even typed up the recipes she uses, (alas, they aren’t in the book).
Q: What was the hardest scene to write in the book?
Laura: The hardest writing in the book was the romantic scenes. My characters are real people who just happen to live in my head, and I hate to pry… Seriously, I found that making romantic language sound natural in the voices of my characters to be tough.
Q: Tell me about your main characters.
Laura: My leads are Claudia and Nick. Claudia is stretched thin, raising her young half-sisters while running the family’s corner store. When the novel begins, she feels that she has given up on her dreams to make her little sisters’ dreams possible; I think many women feel that at times. Pastor Nick is a well-meaning young Texan, a lawyer who left his father’s law firm to run a seen-better-days mission in Philadelphia. Claudia initially thinks Nick’s too naïve and idealistic to succeed, but they squabble and support each other through significant danger on their way to a happy ending.
Q: What are you working on now?
Laura: Besides a full-time job, teaching English to students with significant learning differences, I am busy promoting Season of Hope and Beach Dreams, which is a short story anthology for which I’m a contributor. The two books came out within a week of each other, so that’s a lot of promotional work. I am drafting both the final novel of a fantasy trilogy and a historical fiction novel with fantasy elements. My husband is the only person who knows the historical reality behind the latter novel. Even my critique group members see the historical with the names and places redacted; knowing the actual historical characters would color the way they read the novel and affect their ability to critique it.
ABOUT THE BOOK
The Christmas lights in the mission’s front window are burning a little dim. So is Pastor Nick Mayfield’s hope. Managing a down-on-its-luck mission in a tough neighborhood in Philadelphia isn’t easy, and not for the first time, he questions his decision to leave a promising law career to follow his calling.
Across the street, Claudia Delacorte works day and night in her abusive stepfather’s store. She’ll do anything to assure her beloved half-sisters have a happy and safe future, even sacrifice her happiness. So when the new pastor shows interest in her, she scoffs at his naïve overtures—she doesn’t have time for love. Or Christmas.
But when a series of crimes throw the neighborhood into turmoil, Claudia becomes an easy target. During a robbery gone horribly wrong, Nick and Claudia must work together to save her sisters, the store, and each other. Will this tragedy restore hope to their community? Or will they lose everything they’ve fought so hard to keep?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Author Laura Nelson Selinsky teaches Shakespeare, Chaucer, and myth at Hill Top Prep. She loves her free time with her husband and her adult children and their partners. For twenty years, she’s chased second graders through Hope Church. She makes excellent Scotch shortbread—it’s perfect with tea and a book!
You can find Laura on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/huzzahlns
Facebook: Laura Nelson Selinsky
Melony Teague is a freelance writer who believes everyone has a story to tell. As co-author of As the Ink Flows, she loves to inspire and motivate others through her written words. With foamy lattes in-hand, she writes Contemporary Romance with a dash of humor. Watch for her debut, A Promise to Keep out Jan 2020. Though she has no hobbies outside of reading, writing, and eating chocolate, she is a member of ACFW and teaches seniors in her community to write their memoirs. She confesses with no shame that she has a strong belief that pumpkin pie is an acceptable breakfast food since it’s mostly vegetables. Melony was born in South Africa and now lives in the melting pot that is Toronto with her husband, their two teenagers, and two cats who think they’re humans.