Another week, another Wednesday, another fabulous book to share in my Wonderland Wednesdays featuring the Wonderland Wishes Collection. Up next, Home for the Holidays by Lesley Ann McDaniel.
I’ve enjoyed getting to know these ladies as we worked on this collection together. We all have different strengths, so combined I felt like we had a really wonderful mashup of talents and ideas. I wondered if I was the only one who noticed that, so I started by asking Lesley about it.
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There’s No Place Like Home: Or How to be a “Church Person”
Okay, here we go with Lesley Ann McDaniel!
Collections like this can really forge wonderful friendships and teach a lot about different aspects of the author life. Have you found this to be true? What friendships have you made or skills have you honed as a result of being a part of collections?
I have participated in quite a few boxed sets at this point, and I would say that it’s been the best way to get to know my fellow authors (apart from the in-person friendships I have, of course). Putting together this kind of collection can be a real challenge, and you can get to know people really well in that kind of creative environment.
It’s also been a practical way to pick up tips from other authors. There are certain aspects of this business that I either don’t get around to doing on my own, or in some cases, didn’t even know existed. A boxed set can be like a publishing think tank, and I’ve learned so much.
When I read the synopses, yours jumped out at me right away. Your line about pretending to be a “church person” cracked me up. What gave you the idea to have someone fake faith to pique a man’s interest?
I had to think back to what triggered this idea. My main character, Victoria, is a minor character in both of the other books in my Holiday Hearts series, and I wanted to give her a story of her own. In book one, she developed into a flirt because that served the purpose of spurring that book’s main character, Shelby, into action. Shelby had to embark on her journey to prevent Chris, that book’s hero, from encountering flirtatious Victoria.
So there I was with a non-believer as a main character, which I think can be a great starting point in a Christian novel. It presented a challenge, of course, considering that this is a novella. She had a long way to go in a short time.
The plot for this book came together because of the image I picked for the cover. For the series, I’m using an image at the bottom of each cover of a cup of coffee (I think it’s actually hot cocoa, but don’t tell anyone) and a cookie. Each cover has a different shape for the cookie. Looking at my options, the house cookie stood out, and the plot line came to me. Victoria falls for a guy who build houses for people in need. It would be so like her to volunteer for his cause, even though she knows nothing about construction. And of course, she’s going to pretend to be a “church person” if that’s what he’s into.
Are any of the characters in Home for the Holidays featured in any of your other books? Will you be showcasing him or her in a future novel, perhaps? Which one and why.
Well, the two couples from books one and two (Christmas Bells are Ringing and Heavenly Peace) make appearances in this book. And I named Victoria’s sister “Joy” because I had already picked the title for book four. Any guesses…?
You got it. It’s called Comfort and Joy, and it will be out next Christmas. I can’t wait to find out how things go for Joy. I kind of left her hanging at the end of this book.
If you had to compare this book to two movies as a mashup (like mine would be maybe It’s a Wonderful Life meets You’ve Got Mail…ish), what would this be?
I love thinking of stories this way. I’ve recently started learning how to write screenplays, and this is one of the ways that screenwriters communicate the “feel” of their project.
So, since I’m finishing up a screenplay of this book, I’ve already put a bit of thought into this. I would describe my book as Coffee Shop meets Christian Mingle.
New readers always wonder where to begin with an author’s work. So, which book would you recommend for someone who loved Home for the Holidays?
Even though my series books can be read out of order, I always recommend going back and starting at the beginning. So my answer would be Christmas Bells are Ringing, which is book one in my Holiday Hearts series.
All my books have a similar feel to them, so my hope is that if you enjoy one book, you’ll enjoy them all!
Thanks for taking a few minutes with us, Lesley!
And if you’d like to follow Lesley online, you can find her at:
Stay tuned next week for Sylvia Stewart! 🙂