Multi-Author Interview (SMP Romance 2017 Holiday Blitz)

Today on Okie Dreams, we are sharing a multi-author interview for SMP Romance’s 2017 Holiday Blitz. Featured authors include Donna Alward, Bronwen Evans, Donna Grant, Lecia Cornwall, Emma Douglas, Kieran Kramer, Manda Collins, May McGoldrick, Nancy Naigle, and Terri Brisbin.

Multi-Author Interview

SMP Romance 2017 Holiday Blitz

Donna Alward

A busy wife and mother of three (two daughters plus the family dog), Donna Alward believes hers is the best job in the world: a combination of stay-at-home mom and romance novelist. Donna loves being back on the East Coast of Canada after nearly twelve years in Alberta where her romance career began, writing about cowboys and the west. She is the author of Somebody Like You, Somebody’s Baby, and Someone to Love.

Multi-Author Interview SMP Romance

When do the holidays official start for you?

December 1 – or the weekend just preceding it. That’s when we get out the decorations and go crazy.

What’s your favorite thing about the holidays?

THE MOVIES. I love sitting with my kids (who are of the nearly-adult variety) and watching holiday movies with a glass of wine or hot cocoa.

Are there any holiday traditions you do every year without fail?

Tons! There are certain things we bake. We have a whole bunch of Christmas Eve traditions, including a barbecue (steak!), putting presents under the tree, going for a drive to see the lights, and watching The Polar Express. And even at their age, they still ask me to read ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas.

What’s your favorite holiday movie?

I have too many – my fave depends on my mood. Top contenders: Christmas Vacation, Christmas with the Kranks, White Christmas, Love Actually, The Polar Express.

Do you have a favorite holiday book?

Hmmm. I don’t tend to re-read holiday themed books, but I’ll confess that I have a soft spot for any (all) of the Christmas books in the Chesapeake Shores series. Those O’Briens… 🙂

What’s your all-time favorite holiday song?

Nat King Cole’s version of The Christmas Song. Simplicity and nostalgia all rolled into one smooth voice.

What’s your favorite activity during fall or winter?

Cozy nights with a glass of wine and a book. LOL! Seriously though, I miss living near the Rockies, because the skiing there spoiled me for anywhere else.

What’s your favorite gift you’ve ever received or given?

One year my sister put together a recipe book with our mom’s fave recipes over the years. She added some of her own, too, but if I want something that Mom used to make back in the eighties? It’s in that book!

Do you have any items on your wish list this year?

Yes! Yoga socks, books, and a kindle.

Any resolutions or goals for next year?

Do better. 🙂

Bronwen Evans

When do the holidays official start for you?

Mid December

What’s your favorite thing about the holidays?

Guilt free reading and being with my family. Even an author needs down time.

Are there any holiday traditions you do every year without fail?

Besides putting up my Christmas tree? I always make a pavlova with kiwi fruit for our Christmas day dessert. Remember it’s summer in New Zealand.

What’s your favorite holiday movie?

I have three – Love Actually (one of my favourite movies of all time) and Die Hard and Lethal Weapon. I love action movies.

Do you have a favorite holiday book?

No, but I will say one Christmas a friend kept telling me to read JR Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood as I had never read it. So I decided to read book 1. Well, over the Christmas break I read all 12 in a row!

What’s your all-time favorite holiday song?

Mary’s Boy Child by Boney M

What’s your favorite activity during fall or winter?

Well, it’s summer in New Zealand at Christmas, and I love simply getting out my Kindle, pulling up my lounger, and lying by my pool reading a great romance book.

What’s your favorite gift you’ve ever received or given?

I love giving, who doesn’t. So I usually give anonymous gifts to my friends children. I knew one child was saving for a present but would be short, so I sent him a card with money in it from Santa. Seeing his joy was priceless. My most memorable gift was when I was 7 and I got my first puppy. I’ll never forget seeing his little nose poking over the edge of the box and hearing his little barks.

Do you have any items on your wish list this year?

Not really. I have a book wish list and at least everyone knows I’m easy to buy for.

Any resolutions or goals for next year?

I haven’t thought about it yet, but I usually just wish for my family to be happy and healthy.

Donna Grant

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Donna Grant has been praised for her “totally addictive” and “unique and sensual” stories. She’s written more than thirty novels spanning multiple genres of romance including the bestselling Dark King stories, Dark Craving, Night’s Awakening, and Dawn’s Desire. Her acclaimed series, Dark Warriors, feature a thrilling combination of Druids, primeval gods, and immortal Highlanders who are dark, dangerous, and irresistible. She lives with her two children, a dog, and four cats in Texas.

When do the holidays official start for you?

I’d say October 1st, because I get ready for Halloween. Then November 1st to get ready for Thanksgiving, but it day after Thanksgiving, it’s all Christmas!

What’s your favorite thing about the holidays?

The decorations. I love to see it all!

Are there any holiday traditions you do every year without fail?

We spend Christmas Eve at my parents where there is a bunch of finger foods. Then Christmas Day everyone comes to my house where we have gumbo (Cajun tradition). Then we head to the movies about about 2.

What’s your favorite holiday movie?

It’s a toss up between White Christmas and Love Actually and Christmas Vacation. We watch them every year.

Do you have a favorite holiday book?

No. I’m an equal opportunist for holiday books. 🙂

What’s your all-time favorite holiday song?

White Christmas

What’s your favorite activity during fall or winter?

Around me we have the Texas Renaissance Festival, which is the largest in the US. It always begins at the end of September and runs until Thanksgiving weekend. It always signals the begin of fall for us.

What’s your favorite gift you’ve ever received or given?

I received my long-haired Chihuahua for Christmas. She was unexpected, but so amazing!

Do you have any items on your wish list this year?

Walls. The flood from Hurricane Harvey took everything, but I’d like walls and doors for privacy again. lol

Any resolutions or goals for next year?

I try to make some improvement each year. For 2017 it was balance. I’m not sure what 2018 will be yet. I might still need to work on balancing everything.

Emma Douglas

Emma Douglas would love to live in a world where professional napping was a thing. But until then, she thinks writing books is a pretty awesome alternative. When not writing about imaginary people, she can be found reading, doing something crafty, binge-watching TV, playing her latest song crush on repeat, or singing badly in her car. She lives in Melbourne, Australia in a tiny house stuffed full of books, too many craft supplies and two cats who take up more space than you would expect. Find out more about Emma at www.emmadouglasbooks.com.

When do the holidays official start for you?

After my mom’s birthday which is early December!

What’s your favorite thing about the holidays?

Getting together with my family and friends and just having a good time with the people I love.

Are there any holiday traditions you do every year without fail?

Making the plum pudding with my mum and watching Carols by Candlelight which is broadcast on TV here in Oz on Christmas Eve.

What’s your favorite holiday movie?

Die Hard

Do you have a favorite holiday book?

The Father Christmas Letters by J.R.R Tolkien. Gorgeous illustrations and funny! They’re letters he wrote to his kids (as Father Christmas) each year, telling the stories of what had been happening at the North Pole that year.

What’s your all-time favorite holiday song?

O Holy Night because I love the melody.

What’s your favorite activity during fall or winter?

I do Christmas in summer here in Oz so that makes it swimming or otherwise avoiding the heat. But in winter I have a weird liking for walking in the cold, as long as I can thaw out with a good book afterward.

What’s your favorite gift you’ve ever received or given?

Both my current cats I gave myself for Christmas but that probably doesn’t count. I got a membership to the local zoo which was fun as I like to wander around there. Other than that, like a true bookworm, every year I love getting books.

Do you have any items on your wish list this year?

Nothing big but I’m sure I’ll come up with a list of books and art supplies that would be great to get.

Any resolutions or goals for next year?

Both to write more and to have more time for non-writing things. Maybe I need a clone for Christmas?

Kieran Kramer

Kieran Kramer, author of the Impossible Bachelors series, was born in Washington, D.C. to an Air Force pilot father and actress/singer mother. She grew up mainly on Johns Island, a rural sea island near Charleston, South Carolina, where she helped build her family’s log home. Having worked for the CIA and as journalist for The Charlotte Observer, Kieran is now a stay-at-home mom. She once won $34,000 on Wheel of Fortune, and also won on Family Feud. She’s been married to her naval officer husband, Chuck, for twenty-one years, and they have three children.

When do the holidays official start for you?

Thanksgiving Day, as soon as I turn on the TV to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade! Can’t miss the Rockettes segment, ever!

What’s your favorite thing about the holidays?

Inhaling the delicious scent of the Christmas tree, seeing the twinkling lights, hanging out with the family and our friends.

Are there any holiday traditions you do every year without fail?

I always make frosted sugar cookies, and I always try to watch as many Christmas movies as I can. I also try to go to the Holiday Boat Parade in Charleston harbor!

What’s your favorite holiday movie?

It’s a Wonderful Life; I never get tired of it!

Do you have a favorite holiday book?

Definitely How the Grinch Stole Christmas….

What’s your all-time favorite holiday song?

Away in the Manger sung by Julie Andrews–the UK version of the melody

What’s your favorite activity during fall or winter?

baking bread, using my crockpot, reading cozy books, buying myself winter clothes, going to parties, eating holiday cookies

What’s your favorite gift you’ve ever received or given?

My favorite gift is having my family all together in one place. Nothing matters more. Sometimes we can’t all be together, so I cherish the Christmases that we can celebrate under one roof.

Do you have any items on your wish list this year?

Yes, having my own little family together again–the last two years some of us have been overseas. But if I have to mention something from the store, I’d love to have some canvases and paint and painting lessons!

Any resolutions or goals for next year?

Yes, to slow down and get centered, to really look around each day and marvel at this beautiful world filled with people who all want to love and be loved. I refuse to let the haters in. Oh, and I have to keep dancing to my Alexa, haha!!

Lecia Cornwall

When do the holidays official start for you?

We officially call it Christmas the day of the Toronto Santa Claus Parade, which is in late November. We watch the parade on TV, have our first toast of eggnog, and enjoy the season’s first batch of Very Special Christmas Chocolate Chip Cookies. Then on the closest Saturday to December 13–that’s my husband’s birthday–we go out as a family to get our Christmas tree (we still have a real tree) and put it up. 

What’s your favorite thing about the holidays?

Family and food.

Are there any holiday traditions you do every year without fail?

Christmas baking is a huge tradition for us. I make Very Special Christmas Chocolate Chip cookies, Quiche for Christmas breakfast, and Kulach (Ukrainian Christmas bread).

What’s your favorite holiday movie?

Hard Question! The Bishop’s Wife, perhaps, though Love Actually, White Christmas, and Polar Express are very close seconds (or thirds and fourths).

Do you have a favorite holiday book?

I have a small collection of Christmas books that my mother used to put out as decorations every year. When I was little, I loved the one about old fashioned Victorian Christmases, and I adored the gorgeous illustrations in a children’s book called Once In Royal David’s City. My mother also had a book of poetry and stories called 1000 Beautiful Things, which includes a story called The Other Wise Man by Henry Van Dyke. I’m not sure if it’s the memory of my mother reading that story to me or the story itself I loved, but I still have the battered book, and treasure it.

What’s your all-time favorite holiday song?

Another tough question! “Merry Christmas, Darling” by The Carpenters,

“J-I-N-G-L-E Bells” by Frank Sinatra, and anything from Loreena McKennitt’s album To Drive The Cold Winter Away.

What’s your favorite activity during fall or winter?

I love planning for the holidays, and being outdoors, that includes walking with my dog through the fall colours along the Bow River, baking and cooking for Thanksgiving (in mid-October in Canada), decorating the front porch for Halloween, raking leaves and putting the garden to bed for the winter, and stringing up the outdoor Christmas lights on one of the last nice fall weekends before it gets too cold (we don’t turn them on until December 1, which was one of my father’s rules). My now-grown kids still make ice luminaria for Christmas and New Year’s Eve whenever it’s cold enough outside to freeze a bucket of water (Try this, readers, they’re gorgeous, and a little bit of Christmas magic in the dark. Fill a bucket with water. It freezes overnight, but the centre of the ice block stays liquid. Take the ice block out of the bucket, chip a hole in the top, pour out the water, and set the luminaria outside with a tea light candle inside).

What’s your favorite gift you’ve ever received or given?

When I was first married, my in-laws gave us airline tickets so we could fly to Calgary to spend Christmas together as a family. Christmas with my own family growing up was usually very stressful, but my in-laws filled Christmas with love, laughter, warmth, and fun. Although my children are grown (aged 23 and 26), I’ve been fortunate enough to have them home for Christmas every year, and to me that’s the best Christmas gift of all. 

Do you have any items on your wish list this year?

New books are always welcome or maybe just an extra shelf for my massive (and ever growing) to-be-read pile! There’s also the traditional Miss America answer to this question–a wish for world peace–but doesn’t it just seem more important than ever this year?

Any resolutions or goals for next year?

I always set goals in categories: personal, career, home/family, and new things I want to try. I’m usually good about achieving the career and family goals, but not so good at the personal or new ones. I already know that next year will be full of huge new challenges and opportunities for me, so at the moment my goal is to find my way through whatever comes with as much grace and balance as possible.

May McGoldrick

When do the holidays official start for you?

The holiday season has no start or end in our house. We are a multi-cultural and multi-denominational family. One holiday hands off the fun to the next…and the next…and the next…And then we start again! Our full name is ‘May Your Holidays be Endless McGoldrick’! (You can call us ‘Festive’ for short.)

What’s your favorite thing about the holidays?

Family get-togethers

Are there any holiday traditions you do every year without fail?

Before Christmas, we have a ‘Gingerbread House Night.’ I always think simple…graham crackers, candies, some frosting for the roof of a quaint little cottage. My competitive and mildly cutthroat family members, however, build the Golden Gate Bridge, the Taj Mahal, the Eiffel Tower, the White House…

What’s your favorite holiday movie?

Love, Actually

Do you have a favorite holiday book?

The Night Before Christmas

What’s your all-time favorite holiday song?

Christmas is All Around You (Bill Nighy via The Troggs)

What’s your favorite activity during fall or winter?

Pick your own peaches. Pick your own apples. Pick your own pumpkin. Cut your own Christmas tree. And reading.

What’s your favorite gift you’ve ever received or given?

For all the years our sons were young, we hid Christmas gifts all over the house. Assembly and wrapping took place after the boys were asleep on Christmas Eve. I remember the year when I used the last bit of wrapping paper while congratulating myself on my precision and planning. What I didn’t know was that Jim had yet to wrap my gifts.

The next day, we all lined up on the stairs and then raced down to see what Santa left for everyone. The most charming gift was sitting under the tree. A large black trash bag containing Nikoo’s gifts…tied up with a bow.

Do you have any items on your wish list this year?

A cottage on the beach in Southern California. Jim says, “Keep writing.”

Any resolutions or goals for next year?

Smile every day.

Write every day.

Make others happy.

Manda Collins

Manda Collins is the author of the Studies in Scandal series, The Lords of Anarchy series, The Ugly Duckling series and the Wicked Widows series as well as several other Regency-set romances. She spent her teen years wishing she’d been born a couple of centuries earlier, preferably in the English countryside. Time travel being what it is, she resigned herself to life with electricity and indoor plumbing, and read lots of books. When she’s not writing, she’s helping other people use books, as an academic librarian.

When do the holidays official start for you?

The first frosty morning when there’s a nip in the air and I can feel that winter is on the way. I love that feeling!

What’s your favorite thing about the holidays?

Getting together with family and friends is the best. We don’t necessarily see one another all that much during the year, but we all make time during the holidays.

Are there any holiday traditions you do every year without fail?

I listen to carols sung by the King’s College Choir every year and spend at least one day boiling cloves and spices on the stove to get the house smelling like Christmas.

What’s your favorite holiday movie?

The Thin Man starring Myrna Loy and William Powell as Nick and Nora Charles. (Of course MY favorite holiday movie has witty repartee and murder in it!)

Do you have a favorite holiday book?

That would be Christmas Angel by Jo Beverley. It’s one of her early Company of Rogues books and I love the way Lucien and Beth and her children become a family over the course of the story.

What’s your all-time favorite holiday song?

The Holly and the Ivy.

What’s your favorite activity during fall or winter?

I’m not really the outdoor type (though I have been known to go outdoors) so I like to snuggle up inside with a cup of hot chocolate and read. Or knit.

What’s your favorite gift you’ve ever received or given?

My grandmother gave me the gift of the love of reading. It’s the best thing I’ve ever been given.

Do you have any items on your wish list this year?

I’m at an age now where the things I wish for aren’t material (though obviously there are some that I’d like–a new car, for instance) but stuff like health and for my family to be safe and happy. I wouldn’t turn down a pretty scarf, though!

Any resolutions or goals for next year?

Just to keep writing books that my audience enjoys reading!

Nancy Naigle

USA Today bestselling author NANCY NAIGLE whips up small-town love stories with a dash of suspense and a whole lot of heart. Now happily retired, she devotes her time to writing, antiquing, and the occasional spa day with friends. A native of Virginia Beach, she currently calls North Carolina home. Nancy is the author of Christmas Joy.

When do the holidays official start for you?

I used to believe I was an “after Thanksgiving” gal when it came to gearing up for the holidays, however, the last two years I’ve had Christmas books come out in October so I’m totally amped up extra early. Hallmark’s Countdown to Christmas starts in late October too, and I’ll be tuned into those movies no matter when they start. So, Merry Christmas with a pumpkin and turkey feather on top!

What’s your favorite thing about the holidays?

The smell of pine from a fresh cut tree throughout the house, and getting more intense every time I vacuum up the needles. Warm aromatic afternoons of baking. Crafting homemade gifts. Fellowship. Christmas movies and cocoa. Glossy gift wrap, and wire ribbon that makes a simple shoelace bow look pretty on a package.

Are there any holiday traditions you do every year without fail?

Baking cookies. Old family favorites, and a few new recipes which always results in at least one complete #fail.

What’s your favorite holiday movie?

My favorite all-time holiday movie is the original Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer is still my very, very favorite. I’m not embarrassed to admit that I still tear up when the Abominable Snowman bonks poor Rudolph on the head. Thank goodness for good ol’ Hermie the wanna-be dentist!      

Do you have a favorite holiday book?

I love all those special sized hardcover holiday books. I have a shelf dedicated to them. One that I really love is by Debbie Macomber — THERE’S SOMETHING ABOUT CHRISTMAS. The beautiful gold cover perfectly envelopes the warm story inside.

What’s your all-time favorite holiday song?

Silent Night.

What’s your favorite activity during fall or winter?

Bundling up and stargazing on a chilly night.

What’s your favorite gift you’ve ever received or given?

Homemade gifts. Always!  Among them, an old Singer sewing machine with the metal frame turned into a table, a handcrafted snack jar made out of wood with a mason jar, loop potholders, and homemade Christmas ornaments. A girl can never have too many ornaments, right?

Do you have any items on your wish list this year?

I don’t have any tangible items on my wish list. Making happy memories is all I wish for this year.

Any resolutions or goals for next year?

To live a healthier lifestyle, and figure out how to do that while integrating more book events into my schedule so I can meet more of the dear readers who’ve blessed me with spending their free time reading my books. Thanks, y’all.

Terri Brisbin

When do the holidays official start for you?

Thanksgiving!

What’s your favorite thing about the holidays?

Family! And now watching the grandkids celebrating!

Are there any holiday traditions you do every year without fail?

Our traditions have changed a bit as my sons married and grandkids began arriving. The one thing we still do is gather to decorate the Christmas tree at our house.

What’s your favorite holiday movie?

Christmas Vacation and Elf   

Do you have a favorite holiday book?

I just love reading holiday romance anthologies!

What’s your all-time favorite holiday song?

A Christmas Wrapping by the Waitresses

What’s your favorite activity during fall or winter?

I love walking in my neighborhood after a new snow.

What’s your favorite gift you’ve ever received or given?

My favorite gift was when I arranged a surprise family trip to Disney World for Christmas! It was hard but I succeed!

Do you have any items on your wish list this year?

None yet but there will be!

Any resolutions or goals for next year?

It’s been a really difficult 2017 so my resolution for 2018 is to make sure my loved ones know they are…loved.

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Deanna Lynn

Deanna Lynn is the founder and lead blogger/reviewer of Okie Dreams.com. She reads widely, laughs often, and loves to talk about books, music, movies, TV shows, writing, and this confusing thing called life.

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