I always look forward to our little chats, Susie. Do you have a favorite genre to write? If so, what is it?
Oh, that’s asking me who my favorite child is! I love them all! Historical is definitely more difficult to write because of the research involved, but I love writing historical because they bring me into a different world and I learn so much. But I’m a contemporary romance girl, too, and probably the most fun for me to write. By far, my “mom” novel (The Great Christmas Bowl) was my favorite to write. I admit that I laughed at my own humor the entire way through the story. My children rolled their eyes. However, maybe the best answer is…the story I’m currently writing!
That’s the answer I most often give to that question. If you didn’t live in the part of the country where you do, where would you live?
I love the lush beauty of
where I lived for three years, but also the rugged charm of .
I also love the ocean, but not the heat, so probably Colorado would be a lovely place to
live, also. North Carolina
What foreign country would you like to visit and why?
I’ve been to quite a few, but I’ve never been in
or . I recently wrote about the Left Bank in
Paris, so that’s sparked my interest, but I love the food in Austria Italy, and I’d love to go on one of those
cooking tours of
(my husband would cook, I’d drink wine and give him advice). Italy
Describe what you think would be the most romantic vacation you could take.
I love the beach, and the most romantic vacations are the ones I’ve taken in
on Isla Mujeres, just off the coast of Cancun.
It’s a tiny island with a slower pace than Cancun,
and it’s absolutely lovely. We try and
get away every year.
Where would you like to set a story that you haven’t done yet?
World War 2
What is the main theme of this novel?
Baby, It’s Cold Outside is a Christmas novel about the power of unfailing love during the darkest storms of our lives. Ultimately, it’s about the fact that in the end, Jesus is our safe place.
That is so true. Tell us about the story.
When five near-strangers are trapped together in a house during the Christmas holiday of 1949, they discover that they have more in common than they realize, and in the revealing of their secrets they experience a Christmas miracle.
Please give us the first page of the book.
Thursday Dec 22, 1949
If she could, Dottie would simply erase the next four days off her calendar.
More than any other holiday, Christmas had the power to rip her asunder. A thousand tiny shards of excruciating memory bombarded her as she ventured through Berman’s Grocery store on the annual requisite journey to pad her pantry for the holiday.
Christmas was for those with something to celebrate, with family, and the hope of a better tomorrow. Even Berman’s Grocery store believed that. As if emboldened by the optimism of the new decade, and casting away the specter of rationing over the past five years, they advertised a holiday special on Rock Cornish game hens at thirty-nine cents a pound.
Dottie Morgan picked up the packaged hen. It fit well into her gloved hand, weighing two pounds, maybe a bit more. She’d never had a Rock Cornish game hen.
Behind her, a mother in the bakery section corralled two giggling schoolchildren. Dottie peeked at them—Minnie Dorr, with her little tykes, Guy and Hazel. She recognized the grade schoolers, dressed in their blue-checkered wool jackets, belts hitched around their bulky waists and sweltering in their knitted caps, from the library’s young readers program that Violet now ran. Six-year-old Guy could wheedle right under Dottie’s skin like a burr.
Or, a curl of warmth, if she let him.
Dottie turned away from them, dropping the hen back into the cooler. She didn’t need a cart, but hung her wire basket on her arm, passing by the turkeys. She hadn’t purchased a bird in…well, she knew she shouldn’t have stopped by the store on the way home. Today, the place bustled with women stocking up for the holiday, celebration in the air, and it only stirred up the old aches.
Near the canned cranberry sauce hung an advertisement of a jolly Saint Nicholas slaking his thirst with a Coca-Cola, smiling upon two pajama-clad children surrounded by gifts.
At the end of the bakery section a giant velvet stocking bulged with candy canes, Pfeffernusse cookies, and popcorn balls.
A display of ice-skates and holiday lights reminded patrons to visit Berman’s Hardware, next door.
On the radio, Bing Crosby crooned out “Silent Night.”
Memories simply couldn’t be dodged at Christmastime.
Dottie stilled, her hand on a bag of flour, as she watched widow Cora Sundeen march past, her blonde hair pulled back from her pretty face and tucked into a black boiled wool hat. Her son hung onto the hem of her matching coat. His ruddy cheeks and blue eyes could devour Dottie whole.
Cora caught sight of Dottie and slowed, her face betraying a second of hesitation before she produced a smile. “Mrs. Morgan! I was just telling Cliffy how, when I was young, we’d celebrate Christmas Eve at the library, with cookies and a story.”
Dottie calculated the dates, when she last saw Cora seated at her knee at Christmas Eve, and put the woman at twenty-seven, or older, which meant little Cliffy must be nearly six. Probably, Cora had only a handful of memories of her fallen soldier husband.
“Oh, Cora…” Dottie looked away, perspiring under her wool coat, wishing, yes, she’d driven straight home. Who needed Cornish hens and eggnog, and plum pudding and fruitcake? After all, who exactly would Dottie cook for? “You know I haven’t had the Christmas story hour…well, it’s been a few years.”
“I know.” Cora’s voice lowered. “But perhaps it’s time to start the old traditions again.” Her arm curled over the shoulder of her son. “For the next generation.”
Dottie had no next generation, but she refused to show that on her face. “Have a lovely holiday, Cora,” she said. She added a smile to soften her librarian tone, and turned away from Cora’s fading smile.
The radio announced, “I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” and Dottie headed for the door.
Tomorrow. She could return tomorrow when the place might be nearly abandoned, every woman in Frost,
at home preparing for the holiday weekend. Minnesota
She just about plowed over Lew Parsons ringing the Salvation Army bell just outside the door. His red velvet Santa-arm hung folded and pinned to his shoulder and he greeted her with a smile.
“Merry Christmas, Mrs. Morgan.” He used his schoolboy tone, despite the fact he had last year married Henrietta Fitzpatrick and now had a child on the way.
Dottie tacked on the appropriate smile. “And to you, Lew.”
She probably should dig into her handbag and find a dime, but she couldn’t slow. She just might be suffocating, choking on the sweet aroma of too many families who had somehow survived this wretched decade.
As if to add gloom to her mood, the pewter Minnesotan sky had begun to drizzle icy droplets of despair, eating away the meager dusting of snow.
Dottie wrenched open the rusty door to her father’s faded yellow International Harvester truck and climbed onto the bouncy bench seat, the springs whining with the December cold. She’d long ago thrown a blanket over the seat, opting to cover the worn holes rather than replace the car. She wrestled the gearshift into place and eased the truck out of the dirt lot. The rain pinged on the windshield like bullets, as if it had already begun to turn to sleet. She turned on the wiper blades, but they cleaned only a pitiful swath in the middle. She leaned down over the wheel to navigate as she turned onto
St. Olaf Avenue and
headed out of town.
Frost never suffered for holiday decorations. The entire town turned out in early November to embellish the lamps along the road with white pine boughs, hang lights from Miller’s Café and Soda Fountain, and add sparkling lights to Benson’s Creamery and the gilded window of the Frost Weekly News and the First Bank. The Snowflake Theater listed tomorrow night’s opening of Holiday Affair, featuring Janet Leigh and Robert Mitchum. Across the street, J.C. Penny’s boasted a window-sized red-berried wreath over their second floor window and at the end of the street, in the circular garden in front of the
Frost Community Center—once the —the
towering blue spruce glowed with twinkly lights against the rain. Germanic Center
Only the star remained absent from the top of the tree. Perhaps it’s time to find the old traditions again…
No. Not yet. Besides, it wasn’t as if the town really missed her. Frankly, they probably thought she’d gotten what she deserved.
Intriguing! How can readers find you on the Internet?www.susanmaywarren.com
Warm up to Chrismtas early this year with Susan May Warren's Baby, It's Cold Outside! To celebrate the release of her new Christmas book with Summerside Press, she and the publisher are giving away a Kindle Fire and hosting an early Christmas Party on Facebook!
Read what the reviewers are saying here.
One festive winner will receive:
- A brand new Kindle Fire
- Baby, It's Cold Outside by Susan May Warren
But, wait there’s more! Join Susan May Warren on 10/27 for merriment and a few early Christmas presents at her Baby, It's Cold Outside Christmas party! Grab your Christmas sweaters, socks and pj’s and join Susan and a few friends for a fireside chat about her recent books (Heiress and Baby, It’s Cold Outside), holiday traditions, favorite Christmas recipes, a trivia contest and more! Invite your friends and don’t miss the fun!
RSVP here and we'll see you on October 27th at 5 PM PST / 8 PM EST!
Sounds like a blast, Susie. Thanks for letting us be a part of your blog tour.
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