Welcome back, Darlene. Let’s do some fun questions first. What song most closely resembles your life?
Yesterday at church I heard an old hymn that describes my life’s journey very well, “Day by Day (and with each passing moment.)” I love these words from the first verse: “He whose heart is kind beyond all measure/gives unto each day what He deems best/lovingly its part of pain and pleasure/mingling toil with peace and rest.”
Do you have a favorite Bible verse? And why is it a favorite?
Here’s another recent discovery, from the passage in Lamentations that starts with the exclamation “Great is thy faithfulness!”
Later in the paragraph, Jeremiah says, “When life is heavy and hard to take, go off by yourself. Enter the silence. Bow in prayer. Don’t ask questions: Wait for hope to appear. Don’t run from trouble. Take it full-face. The ‘worst’ is never the worst.” (Lamentations 3:28-30, Message).
I love the phrase “wait for hope to appear.” The word “hope” (which also happens to be my middle name, lol) has been popping up over and over again. Don’t fuss, don’t question—just wait for hope to appear. Because it will.
I love that, Darlene. One of my favorite verses from The Message is Romans 15:13:
“Oh! May the God of green hope fill you up with joy, fill you up with peace, so that your believing lives, filled with the life-giving energy of the Holy Spirit, will brim over with hope!”
What is the one thing you wish you could go back and change in your life?
Oh, that’s a tough one. If I think about all the things I’ve done wrong in my life, I’ll end up with a long list of regrets—but they have made me the person I am today. Lately I’ve wondered “what if” I had switched to a music theory major as my professors suggested, when I failed to as a candidate for a Master of Music in piano. Instead, I switched to a Master of Arts in religious education.
What is the most important characteristic for a good friend to have?
Listening! When needed and without judgment.
What extracurricular activities did you participate in when you were in school?
I was in band and choir and also participated in the math club and the Spanish club. A real nerd.
What is your favorite movie of all times?
Field of Dreams and It’s a Wonderful Life never disappoint.
Tell us about why you wrote this book.
The origins are unclear. I thought we were writing a sequel to the highly successful Christmas Traditions series published in 2014. My publisher suggested a matchmaking theme which replaced the sequel idea. But my book combines both threads: the twin daughters who appeared in An Apple for Christmas became matchmakers for each other.
So why? I love writing Christmas stories and this was an opportunity that will hopefully sell well. A story that felt silly and foolish while writing it turned funny and charming when I read it.
Please give us the first page of the book.
, October 1901 Vermont
lingered by the wall of the University’s gymnasium, trembling in anticipation.
Why she had ever agreed to her twin’s hair-brained scheme? How could they
possibly get through the evening without their escorts discovering their
For a moment she thought she saw her twin, Margil, with Ned Hawkins, and her heart stuttered. But her date for the night, Clint Keller, didn’t notice them, and she relaxed. Her sister had accepted two dates to the homecoming dance and insisted that Pippin go with Clint, who’d asked first, so Margil could attend with Ned when he finally got round to asking. “Besides,” Margil had said, “it’s our senior year. You have to go to homecoming at least once.”
The band played “Good Evening, Carrie.” Clint turned to Pippin. “Would you care to dance, Marg?”
Before she could answer, Clint swept her onto the floor. According to the twins’ plan, Pippin and Clint would dance during one set while the other enjoyed refreshments or took a walk. They were wearing identical outfits, something they hadn’t done since childhood.
The dance was nothing like the nightmarish images Pippin had conjured last night. Long ago dance classes proved valuable as Pippin slipped into a lively two-step for one the year’s most popular songs. “Was you dreaming ‘bout me, Carrie?” Clint was an excellent dancer. Her fears of having her feet stepped on in Marg’s uncomfortable heels proved unfounded. Also, dancing minimized talking.
They stayed for a second song. Clint had the physique of a football player, a talent for baseball, but the glasses of a scholar. When he smiled, Pippin wished he were smiling at her, Pippin Margaret Cortland. But of course he believed her to be Margil Rose Cortland.
That single word threw cold water on her spirits.
“I’m glad you agreed to come with me. I was afraid you would politely decline, as your sister has many a time.” He pushed his glasses back up his nose, something Pippin’s mother often did. Even with the glasses his brown eyes sparkled at her.
Pippin blushed. She had indeed turned him down on numerous occasions, not believing a man with his handsome features and fondness for sports could be seriously interested in a wallflower such as herself. Her mouth stayed closed as she searched for an explanation. How ironic, that Clint finally had the woman he had pursued for years but didn’t know it.
They danced for a moment before she said, “I’m curious as to how my sister is perceived. I want her to find happiness in this world, and not only in her fantasies.” She smiled and twirled the curls around her face, the way Margil did.
“How rude of me to mention her.”
I’m liking this already. How can readers find you on the Internet?
Thank you, Darlene, for sharing this new collection with us. I'm eager to read it, and I know my readers will be, too.
Readers, here’s a link to the book. By using it when you order, you help support this blog.Merry Matchmakers: 10 Christmas Novellas (A Merry Matchmaker Novella)
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