Tuesday, September 16, 2008
The Santa Letters Blog Tour
I am very excited to introduce as my first blog tour review, author Stacy Gooch-Anderson and her warm and inviting new Christmas story, THE SANTA LETTERS.
Stacy lives in Salt Lake City with her husband and four sons. She attended the University of Utah and has won several awards through the Society of Professional Journalists. THE SANTA LETTERS which arrived this year just in time for the upcoming holiday season, is a story of trials, forgiveness, and the joy that comes from allowing Christ into your life.
A year after her husband was killed by a hit-and-run driver, Emma Jensen finds herself dreading having to face Christmas without her sweetheart and with all the financial strains that have been placed on her family since William's death. Only six-year-old McKenna, still believes that Santa will bring a Christmas miracle for their family.
But Christmas has always been a time of magic, and the Jensen's miracle comes in the form of an mysterious package on their front door days before Christmas, with a letter signed by none other than Santa himself. As the letters and packages continue to arrive the family remembers the miracle of the Savior's birth and learns that their beloved husband and father may be closer than they think.
At 190 pages, this delightful Christmas story is just the right size to open your heart to the miracles that are all around us. Having lost my own father to cancer several years ago just after Christmas, I can understand the suffering that goes along with facing life without a dear one. Stacy Gooch-Anderson, has taken this pain and turned it into a story about life and love. This book teaches forgiveness, overcoming loss, and how to let Christ into our lives in a tone that is anything but overbearing. There were several times that I found myself tearing up as I thought about ways I could let the Savior into my life. But this book is not just for those of us who have suffered loss. It is for anyone who wants to reunite with the true meaning of Christmas. It is for anyone who earns to remember that there is more to this season than presents and decorations. This story is for anyone who wishes to feel the Savior's love in their lives. In short, this story is for you.
And because I am lucky enough to be hosting a blog tour and not just sharing my review, I was able to have a little Q & A time with the author.
BERLINWRITERGIRL: We've all heard of the 12 days of Christmas, but this was the most Christ centered version I have ever seen. How did you come up with this idea?
STACY GOOCH-ANDESRON: Several years ago, I found out that two of my sons had been in a sexually abusive situation and my first instinct as a parent was to kill and then sadness for having failed them. After many prayers, the only answer I got was that in order to heal them, I had to first heal myself. I went to my scriptures and studied the Savior's birth. And since Christmas was upon us and there was no money after so many legal and counseling bills, I merged the best of life and what the Savior has to offer and put together the Santa Letters as way to help us all forgive and heal and remember all the true gifts that have been offered.
BWG: There were several Christmas traditions mentioned in your book, which ones if any came form your own life?
SGA: All of them came from our own Christmas Letters experience but many of them like humor, the ornaments every year, the music concert and a night of service are annual Christmas traditions for us. The only one that was fictionalized in the book was Health and Good Cheer since I know of no event like that held in any city. But we did take a walk at a place called Gardner Village and enjoy the sights there as a family.
BWG: How can people use this book to bring themselves closer to the Savior this Christmas season?
SGA: Since the main focus of the book is bringing Christ back into Christmas, I would hope that people would think more about Him and what He can do for us and has done for us rather than the commercialization of the season. I also think service is key to that. Whether in the service of your family, friends or mankind in general, service will bring you closer to Him and heal your heart as you find the real Christmas spirit.
BWG: I noticed you named two of the main characters after your parents. Was there any significance in doing so?
SGA: My father, William (Bill) Rex Gooch, died at age 61 from cancer on March 28, 2004 while he was serving as the Bishop of an LDS ward. His whole life was about service and unconditional love. My mother (Laurel Stapley Gooch) really struggled with his passing and lost much of her joy in life. My kids called her Miss Emma after a "classical" Laurel moment when she mistook my son calling her Emma on the phone and replied, "Sorry there is no Emma here, wrong number.: and then hung up the phone. This happened about three times before she finally asked me if Justin had a friend named Emma - it sounded just like him. After looking at the niumber and determining that it had been Justin, I called him back and asked what was up. He was stumped and in his normally fast dialect told me that he'd said Gramma, not Emma. He was the one left confused at her reaction. She ran upstairs after that to give her ears a thorough cleaning. She died earlier this year at age 63, also from cancer, on April 29, 2008. Her life was all about serving as a mother and unconditional faith but the lessons they taught me all growing will live on in our memories and through this book.
BWG: To those of us who are inspiring writers, what advice can you give us?
SGA: Find your passion and write from your true inner voice and never, never give up! And hone your skills in whatever way you can. talents were made to be used - not buried.
BWG: Would you share a little bit about your journey in writing and publishing this book?
SGA: You read a bit about my story above but what I didn't share then was that for 15 years I'd prayed earnestly that I could write stories that would touch the hearts of men. Even when we went through this, I didn't think about writing it since I figured that no one would be interested on one family's journey of healing. But then a good friend of mine, when she found out what we were doing, challenged me to write the story.I feel like I was just along for the ride from there as I watched the Lord's hand take over in everything to the timing of it, the publisher whose desk it landed on and the success since.I truly feel it is not my story but one that I was blessed enough to be a part of.
Perfect to read for Family Night, great to give as a gift, and inspirational enough to pick you up when life becomes overwhelming, THE SANTA LETTERS can be purchased through Amazon, or Deseret Book.