Tuesday, November 21, 2017

THE GIFT OF CHRISTMAS PAST - Cindy and Erin Woodsmall - One Free Book

Dear Readers, The Gift of Christmas Past, is my favorite among all the Christmas books I’ve read this year. It’s poignant, and it stayed with me for days after I read the last page. I’ve loved Cindy’s writing for a long, and with the addition of her daughter, this book continues the tradition of stories that really grip your heart, characters who pull you into their world, and both a strong romantic thread as well as a strong spiritual thread. A very satisfying read.

Welcome Erin, and welcome back, Cindy. I know that this is a collaboration. How did this story come about?
Cindy: This story began in November 2016. Erin and I had written another Christmas novella together, but it wouldn’t be released until 2018, so there was a chance to create something new and different. We brainstormed during the holidays, working around the birth of Erin’s third child, Silas. Then we put our feet on the ground in Asheville for the research and got to work!
Erin: I’ve been doing various things for Cindy’s writing career for around a decade, working on the website and blogs, brainstorming, outlining, and more. After I lost a baby in January 2016, I needed a creative outlet. Cindy saw that, because she’s very intuitive, and we started collaborating on an Amish Christmas novella about a pharmacy, with the tentative title of A Spoonful of Christmas. It went so well we wanted to do it again!

Did you find it easy to work together on it?
Erin: Actually, yes. Our personalities mesh well together. I consider Cindy one of my closest friends and it’s been a joy to work with her.
Cindy: Definitely easy. Moreover, the brainstorming and writing together brought new and unexpected excitement to my workday.

How did collaborating with this team impact you?
Cindy: It’s hard to explain—we went from understanding each other on one level to understanding each other on a much deeper level. Collaborating means I have someone close to me who gets what I do, who is excited about the process of writing, and who knows what it takes to get the story from the “drawing board” to the written page. Going places to research has been so much fun, and we’ve made memories that will last a lifetime. We have our brainstorming sessions at our favorite coffee shop. I’ve never experienced anything like this, and I never expected to, so it’s changed me. (As of November 2017, we’ve written three books together, two for Random House.)
Erin: It’s impacted me much more than I can succinctly put into words. I learned a new skill—going from the “behind the scenes” work to creating stories and getting into the heads and hearts of characters, and in that I found a new side of myself. Cindy and I were already close, but like she mentioned earlier, after working together on novels, we have a new level of understanding with each other.  

What is the hardest thing about writing as a team?
Erin: The hardest part, surprisingly, has been figuring out a file system that works for both of us! There are a lot of files with specific information that has to be updated almost daily as we move forward—the chapter-by-chapter outline, the research notes, the character chart, our personal thoughts, and the actual chapters. It’s vital that we don’t save over each other’s work or make changes to a document without the latest information. I thought using Dropbox would be a good solution, because if either of us makes a change, it updates the document for both of us. But that system didn’t work for Cindy because of how changes show up on her computer.
Cindy: Computers. Don’t get me started on my propensity for technology glitches! Sharing information and making sure each person has the most updated files is so important. For all documents that aren’t actual chapters or the master copy, we figured out that Google Docs is a good solution.

What are you reading right now?
Both: Edits for next year’s novel!
Erin: I just downloaded Laura V. Hilton’s new Christmas novella collaboration, Love’s Thankful Heart. Novellas are so fun to enjoy during Christmastime!
Cindy: I love Katie Ganshert’s work. I’ve just cracked the first pages of Life After.

How did you choose your characters’ names?
Erin: I have three children, and with each one my husband and I found ourselves in … uh, spirited debates over names. Hadley, Monroe, and Chloe were all on my list of names that were rejected.
Cindy: Typically, I go through an Amish address book, so it was a lot of fun that we were able to hash out contemporary names. I just love the name Elliott for a girl.

Would you want to work on another book together?
Both: We already have! We feel like we’re just now getting really good at it. Next year we have two coming out through Random House’s WaterBrook Press imprint, one in August and one in October. The tentative titles are Ocean Roads and A Spoonful of Christmas. And we have at least three more ideas for future books!

I’ll want to feature both of them on my blog. What do you want to tell us about The Gift of Christmas Past?
Erin: This is Cindy’s first indie and her first non-Amish book. We’re able to offer it at a great price, in stores as a paperback, as well as free for readers on Kindle Unlimited. It’s a well-researched story with heart. We hope it feels like you’re stepping into the characters’ worlds.
Promises made. 
Lies spoken.
Dreams shattered.
She was arrested.
He returned to the safety of his wealthy parents.

Almost ten years later, Hadley and Monroe are both specialists in the field of speech therapy. They meet again . . . thrown together to help a four-year-old-girl rendered mute after being rescued from a fire.

Years of secrets and anger beg to be set free as Hadley and Monroe try to push aside past hurts and find common ground in order to help the traumatized child and her family.

Can the love of Christmas past drift into the present, bringing healing and hope for all?

Please give us the first page of the book for my readers.
Hadley’s mind reeled with disbelief as her foster mom shoved her clothes into an old suitcase. “But…but I’m innocent.”

“Maybe.” Dianna gave a half-hearted nod. “I hope so. It’d be an awful thing to squander the opportunities we’ve offered you.”

“I…I am. The investigation will prove it. I promise. You’ve got to believe me. Please.”

“Like I said, maybe you are innocent…of this incident. You had seemed to be making great strides since you went to anger-management classes. I’ll give you that, Hads.”

“Then don’t send me back. Please. My friends are here. Monroe is—”

“Decision’s made. You made it when you broke curfew for the third time.”

“But I was only a little late and for good reasons. You said so—”

“I’m aware.” Dianna didn’t pause her movements as she packed Hadley’s toothbrush.

Hadley bit back tears, hating any sign of being vulnerable. “Then why?”

“They’ve found two witnesses who place you in the Reeds’ yard.”

“What?” Hadley’s knee-jerk gasp was the totally wrong response. Stay cool. Remain calm.

“Yeah, apparently you were there.” Dianna released a slow sigh. “Imagine that.”

Regret twisted through Hadley. She never should’ve set foot on the Reeds’ property. “Okay, I was at their place, but I never—”

“Interesting.” Dianna stood up straight, the top of her head now even with Hadley’s nose. She yanked a beautiful red sweater off a hanger, a Christmas gift from Scott and her to Hadley a mere three weeks ago. “You’ve denied being anywhere near there until right now. They said they saw you start a fire using leaves, sticks, and what appeared to be some kind of accelerant.” She shoved the sweater into the suitcase with the other clothes as if it and Hadley no longer mattered.
Should she explain her actions? The moment the question came to her she knew the answer. No matter the subject or the situation, adults couldn’t be trusted. Anything Hadley said would be passed along to the authorities, distorted, and used against her.

Dianna jammed two pairs of wool socks into the suitcase. “Anyway, Scott and I think it’s in everyone’s best interest if you don’t live here anymore.”

(To read the rest of Chapter One, go here: http://www.cindywoodsmall.com/excerpt-the-gift-of-christmas-past/ 

Where can our readers find you on the Internet?
We can be found on Cindy’s Facebook, where we both answer readers.  https://www.facebook.com/authorcindywoodsmall

Also on Cindy’s website and blog: www.cindywoodsmall.com

Thank you, Cindy and Erin, for sharing this book with me and my blog readers. I know they will love it as much as I have.

Readers, here are links to the book.
The Gift of Christmas Past - Christianbook.com
The Gift Of Christmas Past: A Southern Romance - Amazon paperback
The Gift of Christmas Past - Kindle

Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. You must follow these instructions to be in the drawing. Please tell us where you live, at least the state or territory or country if outside North America. (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.

If you’re reading this on Goodreads, Google+, Feedblitz, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, or Amazon, please come to the blog to leave your comment if you want to be included in the drawing. Here’s a link:


Emma said...

I am looking forward to reading "THE GIFT OF CHRISTMAS PAST by Cindy and Erin Woodsmall. Thank you for the opportunity to win.I enjoy reading your books.

Wendy Newcomb said...

I too love Cindy's books, anxious to read this one that she wrote with her daughter. It's wonderful that they work together like this for us readers!

Thank you for the chance to win a copy. Wendy from South Sioux City, NE.

wfnren at aol dot com

Anonymous said...

This sounds like an interesting story. I like when authors write outside the genres they are well known for. It shows their creativity! How wonderful that Cindy wrote this with Erin.
marypopmom (at) yahoo (dot) com
Maryann in New York

Linda Kish said...

I'm guessing foster kids must hear those words far too often. I wish I could have been a foster parent. But, for various reasons, I couldn't. I'd love to read this story.

Linda in CA

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Cindy W. said...

I love Christmas stories and would truly love to win this one. Thank you for the chance.

Smiles & Blessings,
Cindy W. from Indiana

VanG said...

Oh my...I loved the interview, love the cover, love the synopsis, love Cindy Woodsmall, love Christmas stories, and would love to win a copy of this book!!! 😊 I have yet to read one of Cindy’s books where she collaborated with her daughter. Thanks for a chance to win this giveaway. πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ» VanG in NC

Kay Garrett said...

Thank you for the interview and excerpt from THE GIFT OF CHRISTMAS PAST. I love Christmas stories and this one sounds amazing - especially with your great recommendation. Thanks for the chance to win a copy!
Kay from Mountain View, AR
2clowns at arkansas dot net

kim hansen said...

Cool cover. cheetahthecat1986ATgmailDOTcom

Becky said...

The Gift of Christmas Past sounds like a wonderful book! It's been on my list to read. The cover is really cool! Becky from Kansas City, Missouri

Patty said...

What a heartbreaking opening scene!

Patty in SC

Unknown said...

I love Cindy Woodsmall's books, and can't wait to read this!

rubynreba said...

I have read several of Cindy's books and it will be interesting to read one that is non Amish!
Beth from Iowa

Emma said...

Emma said...
I am looking forward to reading "THE GIFT OF CHRISTMAS PAST by Cindy and Erin Woodsmall. Thank you for the opportunity to win.I enjoy reading your books.PA.

Unknown said...

I loved another Cindy woodsmall book I read recently. It was my first one. I can’t wait to read this book. I’m from the suburbs of Chicago!

Unknown said...

I love Christmas books and this sounds like such a good book! Thanks for the opportunity to win a copy!
Tiffany from Louisiana.

Dianna said...

I want to read this because I've never seen a book with a character who spells her name the way I do!
Dianna G. (TN)

Vkivian Furbay said...

I've read many of Cindy's books and I love the way the characters touch my heart. they seem so real. Would love to win this book. Vivian of Colorado.

Jennifer Hibdon said...

Great interview. Looking forward to reading this collaboration of mother- daughter. Thanx for the giveaway!!!!

Jennifer Hibdon said...

I am a Michigander living in the Flatlands of Lubbock, Texas.

Shelia64 said...

sounds like a great book! Shelia from Mississippi

Anonymous said...

I'm from Herriman Utah.

Thanks for sharing a piece of the story.

Kristina Kohler

Anonymous said...

Thanks for a chance to win

Connie Porter Saunders said...

The Gift of Christmas Past sounds like the perfect Christmas read. Thank you for sharing Cindy & Erin's interview and for this chance to win.
Connie from KY

Unknown said...

I live in the Chattanooga, TN area. 😁

Becky T said...

Hello, from Dothan, AL! Thank you for doing a wonderful giveaway and promoting such great authors!

Sharon Richmond Bryant said...

Enter me in your awesome giveaway!!
Conway SC.

Donna E said...

I have a couple of Cindy's books, and think she tells great stories. I am now looking forward to reading this Christmas one to see how the collaboration with Erin works out. Think it will be great.
Donna from Jones OK
donna (dot) durnell (at) sbcglobal (dot) net

MWhite said...

I love Cindy's books. I usually read digitally, but would love a paper copy. Thank you!
Marcia from Gardner MA

Roseanne said...

Okay, so that tease did its job. Now I want to read the book, well done! Roseanne from Pittsburgh Pennsylvania

Unknown said...

Love Cindy’s books and can’t wait to read this one.
Denise from Bluefield WV

Nancy in IN said...

Sounds so great. Thank you.
Hope to read soon.

Anonymous said...

CINDY I have read almost all your books! I just love them! THE GIFT OF CHRISTMAS PAST SOUNDS LIKE A GREAT READ! please enter me in the drawing!

Anonymous said...

I would love to read your books, Jamie from Alabama

Anonymous said...

Hello from Austin, TX! I loved the interview and the new book sounds really good. Congrats on the new baby/grandson! Thank you for the giveaway opportunity.

perrianneDOTaskewATmeDOTcom (no google acct)

Anonymous said...

My mom and I are big fans of Cindy Woodsmall. I know my Mom would be thrilled to receive "The Gift of Christmas Past" under the tree Christmas morning. I live in Leamington, Ontario. Canada.
Linda Fast

Natalya Lakhno said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Natalya Lakhno said...

"The Gift of Christmas Past" definitely goes on my to read list. Blessings!
I live in Citrus Heights, California.

Unknown said...

I can't wait to read her newest book.

Noelle from Florida

Rhonda's Doings said...

I love all your books and can't wait to read this one by you & your DIL.
Rhonda in Virginia