Monday, October 20, 2014

THE YULETIDE ANGEL - Sandra Ardoin - One Free Ebook

BIO: Sandra Ardoin is a multi-published author of short fiction who writes inspirational historical romance. Her Christmas novella, The Yuletide Angel, releases October 2014. She’s the married mother of a young adult and lives in North Carolina.

Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
My mother told me I was boring, so … I guess if there’s anything of me, it’s my belief system and how I see the world. I’m not sure I can create protagonists that see things in a different way—spiritually, etc. But I can relate well to the shyness of my heroine in The Yuletide Angel.

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
The quirkiest thing I’ve ever done is probably not something I should speak about in public. J

One thing that was out of character for me happened when I visited my parents who lived on Florida’s intercoastal. Hurricane Elena struck in 1985, and we evacuated to my brother’s apartment to worry for three days over the damage done to the house. After they gave the all-clear to return to the neighborhood, we sat for hours in traffic. Once we were within a few blocks of the house, my mom broke free of the vehicle, impatient to find out if their home still stood. I yelled for her to come back. She didn’t. What could I do? Someone had to be there when the National Guard tossed her in the pokey for dodging their check point. I took off after her with an eye out for pursuing soldiers pointing guns. I’m happy to say we made it, and the house was fine. But for this law-abiding citizen, it was an adventure.

Now I and my readers are wondering about that quirkiest thing that shouldn’t be talked about I public. J When did you first discover that you were a writer?
In 1986, I made my first sale. My poster quote was purchased by Argus. It said, “Christ is the third partner in a perfect marriage.” It was all up hill after that.

Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
When I was in third grade, I devoured the Little House books. In high school, I developed a love for anything by Mary Roberts Rinehart, Agatha Christie, and Phyllis Whitney. Rebecca is still my favorite classic, but I also enjoyed Jane Eyre and anything by Jane Austen. For years, gothic romance/mystery/romantic suspense was my reading mainstay—the authors above, plus Mary Higgins Clark, Elizabeth Peters, Tony Hillerman. Then I started reading more historicals, which is the direction the Lord has given me in my writing. But I still love mystery/suspense and prefer my historicals with at least a thread of such.

How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
First, lists! If I write out my tasks and mark them off as I do them, I see my progress and don’t worry as much about forgetting to do something important.

Second, I try to stay on top of things. I try not to procrastinate. It gets on my nerves.

Third, I relax at night. After supper and the dishes are done, I try to chill out watching TV or reading.

How do you choose your characters’ names?
They need to fit the time period. I have an aversion to reading obvious contemporary names in a 19th century-set novel. However, I’ve learned that some names we might consider contemporary are not so much. One source I’ll use is to find names.

I kept my baby name book to use for first names. I’ll use the phone book, or lists by country, for last names. Mark McCutcheon’s Building Believable Characters has a great list toward the back of the book. And it depends upon the setting. So many places in North Carolina (and Texas, for that matter) were settled by Germans and Scotch-Irish. Last names can reflect that.

I love to dig through past documents for names—for instance, marriage records. I came up with some wonderful ones in a Texas marriage document from the mid-1800s. There were names like Reason, Green, Valentine (all men), Sophronia, Easter, Delaney (all women). Now, Delaney is one that sounds more contemporary, doesn’t it?

Last, but not least, they have to fit my idea of the appearance and personality of the character. Violet Madison, my heroine in The Yuletide Angel, is very shy, which brought to mind “Shrinking Violet.”

What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
Violet learns that we have to be careful of the “pride” thing, so let’s say that I’m thrilled each time my writing finds a home, but I try to keep it in perspective.

If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
A quarter horse. I love horses—always have, always will.

What is your favorite food?
Mexican. I miss Tex-Mex, but I’ve gotten accustomed to the white-cheese queso served in North Carolina restaurants.

What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
Frankly, it’s something I’m still working on—wordiness, or not writing tight. Why say something in three words when I can say it in six?

Tell us about the featured book.
The Yuletide Angel is a Christmas novella set in 1890.

Here’s the summary:
It's Christmastime in 1890s Meadowmead, and someone is venturing out at night to leave packages at the homes of the needy. Dubbed The Yuletide Angel, no one knows the identity of this mysterious benefactor.

No one, except Hugh Barnes, a confirmed bachelor who finds himself drawn to the outwardly shy but inwardly bold Violet Madison, a young woman who risks her safety to help others.

When Violet confesses her fear of eviction from her childhood home, Hugh longs to rescue her. His good intentions are thwarted, however, when Hugh's estranged brother shows up in town ... and in Violet's company.

But Violet faces an even bigger threat. A phantom figure lurks in the shadows, prepared to clip the wings of The Yuletide Angel.

Please give us the first page of the book.
Hugh Barnes hid behind the winter skeleton of an oak tree near the rundown house on Kelsey Street and watched a shadowy figure creep up the porch steps. By the dull beam of the cloud-covered moon, he distinguished more movement than features. He needed no light to discern who skulked outside the widow’s clapboard house. According to local accounts, he was witnessing a visit by The Yuletide Angel.

After opening the front door and leaving a flour sack bulging with good will, the angel tiptoed away. At the road, she turned and swept back toward town, her dark skirts swaying with her quick, bold steps.

Hugh blew a warm breath on his cold hands and stepped out from behind the tree. He kept his distance, but made certain the town’s Christmas-season Samaritan remained in sight as she delivered food to someone else in need. He frowned as the crisp, December air bit his face. A bout of insomnia had led him to his bedroom window in time to see her leave her home well after midnight. Curiosity caused him to follow.

Violet Madison, his shy neighbor, was The Yuletide Angel. He could scarcely take it in.

How can readers find you on the Internet?
Visit me at and on the Seriously Write blog. Connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Goodreads, and Pinterest.

The Yuletide Angel, is available for pre-order on Amazon.

Thank you, Sandra, for sharing this new Christmas book with us.

Readers, here are links to the book. By using one when you order, you help support this blog.
The Yuletide Angel

Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. Please tell us where you live, at least the state or territory. (Comments containing links may be subject to removal by blog owner.)

Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.

The only notification you’ll receive is the winner post on this blog. So be sure to check back a week from Saturday to see if you won. You will have 4 weeks from the posting of the winners to claim your book.

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kec200 said...

Great interview! I'm in Wendell, NC so curious as to where you are in NC.

Kathy Church

Cindy W. said...

I would love to win a copy of The Yuletide Angel. Thank you for the chance.

I live in Indiana.

Smiles & Blessings,
Cindy W.

Mary Preston said...

A wonderful first page thank you & such a beautiful cover.

Sandra Ardoin said...

Thank you, Kathy. I'm about thirty miles north of Charlotte--transplanted to NC and loving it here! :)

Sandra Ardoin said...

Thank you, Cindy! I grew up in northwest Indiana.

Sandra Ardoin said...

Thank you, Mary. I glad you like the cover. My publisher did an awesome job of taking the feel I envisioned and making it a reality.

Sandra Ardoin said...

Thank you for having me, Lena!

Unknown said...

Great interview and such a lovely sounding book! I can't wait to read it!
Kelly Y in central VA
kelly *at* dkcountryarts *dot* com

Sandra Ardoin said...

Thank you, Kelly! :)

Deanna Stevens said...

Would love to read this, just in time to get in the Christmas spirit :) dkstevens from NEbraska dkstevensne *at* outlook dotcom

Norma S said...

Hi Sandra,
Great interview, sounds like a great book. I like the way you choose names from baby books and phone books.
God's blessings.
Norma live in Ohio

Sandra Ardoin said...

Thank you, Deanna. Christmas will be here before we know it. :)

Sandra Ardoin said...

Thank you, Norma. Baby books have such a wide range of names that have been popular throughout the years.

PriviesAndPrims said...

Would love to read this. Good people in a world that sometimes forgets the needy. Nice story line. :)

Doreen PriviesAndPRimsATYahooDotCom

Lancaster County, PA

kam110476 said...

The Yuletide Angel sounds very sweet, very romantic! I'd love to win a copy!
Kristen in OK
kam110476 at gmail dot com

Anonymous said...

I love Christmas stories! Looking forward to reading this novella! Thank you for sharing!

CindyG. in FL

Sandra Ardoin said...

Thank you, Doreen, Kam, and Cindy. I appreciate your kind words about The Yuletide Angel! :)