When you like books as much as I do, you’re bound to start making the acquaintance of few authors here and there. Coincidentally, Rachael and I graduated from the same college. And through similar interests, (hmmm, wonder what that could be?) we met. So it’s really fun for me to get to interview Rachael Phillips here today about her Christmas novella, Ride with Me into Christmas, that’s a part of A Door County Christmas collection.
Rachael, a church music director, began her unplanned writing career creating articles for her church newsletter. A past Erma Bombeck Global Award winner over l,100 other entries, Rachael laces most of her works with upbeat, offbeat humor. Since winning the 2007 American Christian Fiction Writers Genesis award, she has published 13 novels, three novellas and more than 700 articles, columns, devotions and stories, as well as four biographies. She also has cowritten a Women of the Bible reference guide with two other authors.
Rachael and her husband Steve, a family doctor and adjunct professor at Taylor University, have been married for 42 years and live in Indiana. They have three grown children and six-going-on-seven perfect grandchildren.
Meet Rachael online:
In this new and updated release of a popular Christmas novella collection, peer behind the closed doors of a Wisconsin tourist town gone dormant for the winter season. Watch as the drama and romance start to heat up—just as Lola the innkeeper promised her four single friends a year ago when she gifted them with her prayers and a Christmas cactus. Will each woman find love—along with cactus blooms—as promised?
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Author Interview: Ride with Me into Christmas by Rachael Phillips
Quick (1-Word) Answers:
Favorite Dessert: All of them. However, I am a slave to fresh-out-of-the-oven chocolate chip cookies.
Pet Peeve: Random apostrophes.
Current Read: I just finished Diann Mills’ Pursuit of Justice.
Song on Repeat (include artist): The Messiah. Love it at Christmas!
1. Whose idea was it to hole up in an inn for a weekend to work on Christmas novellas?
I imagine it was the brainchild of Cynthia Ruchti and Becky Melby, both of whom live in Wisconsin. They knew that experiencing Door County up close and personal would help me, an Indiana Hoosier, and Eileen, a Texan (who wore flip-flops off the plane in November!) comprehend its magic.
Cordially Barbara: Flip-flops in winter?! YIKES.
2. Did you struggle to write a full story within the novella word limit?
I always struggle with staying within word count—I’m a lifetime member of the Wordy Club. So I had to continually chop my manuscript to stay within the 20,000-word limit.
3. On a day of inclement weather, what would your protagonists of Ride with Me into Christmas be doing?
One thing I learned in Door County is that Wisconsinites rarely consider any weather inclement. But if Joanna were stuck inside, she would be sewing on her Christmas gift for her granddaughter: a rag doll that resembles the child, plus matching dolly-granddaughter-Grandma green satin holiday dresses. Paul would be cooking yummy dishes to give away.
4. Did Joanna and Paul teach you anything while you wrote Ride with Me into Christmas?
The other authors and I visited the Eagle Fire Tower in Peninsula State Park. I have never liked fire towers, but I thought that making both Joanna and Paul afraid of heights might be interesting—especially if, trying to impress each other on their first date, neither would back out of climbing the tower! They were stuck halfway up like a couple of scared kittens in a tree.
In order to write that scene effectively, I made myself climb Eagle Tower. So I think I wrote pretty convincingly of their cold-sweat terror.
When we edited this new version of A Door County Christmas, I discovered that the old tower had been dismantled since our visit. So I placed Paul and Joanna on Eagle Terrace, a cliff-like overhang, instead.
CB: That scene was riveting and surprising. I did not see Paul being afraid of heights, but I loved that he was!
5. Did the other novella authors impact Ride With Me Into Christmas?
Oh, yes. We critiqued each other’s writing, but since they were all well-published and I was a newbie, I learned tons from the others. I still do.
6. I like to write book reviews where I compare the book to food. What would you compare Ride with Me into Christmas to?
Ride with Me Into Christmas makes me think of a Door County Cherry Sundae, my favorite indulgence at Not Licked Yet: luscious frozen custard smothered in hot fudge and warm Door County Cherry topping. Mmmmmm!
Where was I? Oh, yes, comparing it to the story. Ride with Me into Christmas combines all the sweetness, warmth and tartness that make a mature romance a special treat.
CB: ohhhhh, my goodness. That sounds divine and I just love that comparison!!
Continue your Christmas reading by grabbing A Door County Christmas and catching the story of Ride with Me into Christmas!!!