Welcome, Izzy. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
It's a hard thing to quantify, but I would say less than five percent. My character's personalities are a blend of my knowledge of people based on what I've read and folks I have known. I show up in the ways that I have seen God at work in my life, in the lives of the people around me, and in His Word.
What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
I am not really a quirky person, so this one is hard for me. Probably the closest thing is something I would usually describe as eccentric: I love Christmas. Any time during the year, you can find Christmas decorations in my house. This year, I kept our Advent wreath out on the table in the living room with a fat battery candle in the center. :-)
Oh, and I LOVE Christmas earrings. I purchase new ones every year. I start to wear them on Thanksgiving Day and wear them until after New Year. I don't have enough pairs to wear a different set everyday yet, but I'm close!
I love Christmas, too, and I start playing Christmas CDs the day after Thanksgiving and play them until New Years Day. When did you first discover you were a writer?
In elementary school. The first thing I ever wrote was an adaptation of the Christmas story for a play for my fourth-grade classroom Christmas party. I have been writing ever since.
Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
I love a good story, so I read just about anything. Romance contemporary and historical, historical fiction, literary fiction, non-fiction of all types, mysteries of all types although I am partial to cozies. I am not a great fan of science fiction/fantasy but I have read a bit.
How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
Even when running non-stop I have discovered that there are unfilled spaces of time during the day, like when I'm driving to the grocery store or waiting for the gas tank to fill at the pump. I make use of these quiet spaces to breathe and pray.
How do you choose your characters’ names?
This is always fun. I use name lists. For contemporaries, I will use baby name lists found online. For my historical, I used marriage records from my time period. I search for names that I think fit the personality of the character who needs a name at the time.
What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
I am most proud of my three children. Our oldest daughter is out making her way in the world and our twins are both doing well in college. All three know the Lord, what more can I ask for really? I am truly blessed in them.
In my writing life, I am very proud of my recent Maggie Award. It is the first award I have won with my writing, and I'm afraid I'm still glowing.
You go right ahead and bask in that achievement. If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
A horse. They are strong, useful, and they can run like the wind.
What is your favorite food?
Potatoes. I love them raw and any way they can be made. I'm allergic to milk, so no cheese please!
What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
Gee, I'm not sure I've overcome any of them. It seems like I fight them with each manuscript, I've just gotten a little better at noticing and correcting my errors with practice. My current struggle is with finding enough time to make my word count everyday. I still work full time at something other than writing, that plus family obligations make it tough.
Tell us about the featured book.
First in a series of Christmas novellas, the theme of the The Christmas Gift is that with God there is no such thing as too late. It's never too late to find love, and it can show up in the most unexpected places.
Fifty-five year old Jack Callahan has been alone, by choice, for five years.
Forty-five year old Erica Thomas has never had a serious relationship and believes that love and marriage is not God's plan for her.
Can a chance meeting in an airport and an impetuous photo change their destinies and prove that it's never too late to fall in love?
I’m eager to read this story. Please give us the first page of the book.
"Attention all passengers on Diamond Airlines Flight 3924 to
departing from Gate C15. Our plane is inbound, and as soon as it has landed and
we have deplaned, cleaned, and serviced it, we will begin boarding. We expect a
thirty-five minute delay."
Jack Callahan stretched the kinks out of his back, let out a deep sigh, picked up his backpack, and stood up. He'd been still for too long. Sitting in libraries, standing in museums. His very cells were tired of the inactivity. He was sure he had most of the information he needed for his next book, and he knew where to look for answers as the inevitable detail questions came up. His mind was full. It was time to percolate. As soon as he got home, he would head out down the trails and start writing. When he was done, he would do a little painting.
He sat back down in the pleather chair once again waiting as the sun began to set. Its rose-gold light shot through the window and kissed the hair of the woman sitting opposite him. Her hair was the color of wheat. He could capture it with a blend of raw umber and white maybe, but the rose color and the metallic way it reflected, that would be harder. He stared knowing that the sun was moving fast through its setting. He would have only seconds to capture that particular look. He felt for his phone.
He shifted his gaze down to her face.
"Take a picture. It will last longer."
Before she could protest, he snapped the picture and said what he had never said to anyone. "I'm sorry. I'm a painter, and I was captured by the light as it touched your hair."
"Right." Her eyebrows shot up, lips thinned to a frown, eyes darted to the side. She turned ninety degrees to the right to dismiss him, which gave him a further view of her wheat colored hair in the sunlight. It was probably creepy, but he snapped another photo.
Thirty minutes later, he was in his window seat on the plane looking out at the tarmac fading in the dusk.
"I hope you've turned your phone off for takeoff."
He snapped around at the sound of her voice. There she was checking her seat number with the label of the seat next to him.
Yes, give me more. How can readers find you on the Internet?
You can find me at my website: http://www.echull.com and on Facebook-@IzzyJamesAuthor
Thank you, Izzy, for sharing this new book with us.
Readers, here’s a link to the book. By using it when you order, you help support this blog.The Christmas Gift
Conversation starter questions: Do you like to read Christmas stories? Do you prefer contemporary stories, historical storied, or love both equally?
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