5 November 2010

Focus on Christmas Fiction with Vickie McDonough

Please welcome Vickie McDonough back to my blog today to start a month of Thursday focus on Christmas books. I am eagerly awaiting this book to arrive its on order and on its way just not here yet.

1.   Firstly can you tell us a little about yourself?

I grew up in Oklahoma, which just 125 years ago was Indian Territory. The area I live in was part of the Creek Nation. When I was first married, I spent a year in Israel, living on a kibbutz (a community-owned farm) and traveling to different parts of the Holy Lands. It was an awesome experience.
As of the middle of October, I will have been married 35 years to a quiet computer geek. Robert and I have four grown sons, a daughter-in-law, and a feisty four-year-old granddaughter. When I’m not writing, I love to travel and do book research. I also enjoy reading, gardening, and watching movies and my favorite TV shows.
2.    Can you tell us how you came to write a Christmas book and how it is writing as part of a novella?

I’ve done several of the Barbour Christmas novella collections before. I wanted to do another one, so I pulled together a team of four authors, and we started brainstorming ideas. Mail-order brides is always a popular theme among historical romance readers and it interested all the members of our team, so we selected that topic.

Since our characters and stories weren’t related to one another, we established Mrs. Mayberry’s Matrimonial Society for Christians of Moral Character. Each gal writes to her future husband via the society, and in the last novella, Mrs. Mayberry even gets her own story. We also decided to have our heroines ride west on the transcontinental railroad to pull a little bit of real history into the book. Then we set the stories around Christmastime and used that as another theme that tied the novellas together.

All of this plotting and brainstorming was done online, because the four authors live in three different states. The other authors in this collection are Susan Page Davis, Therese Stenzel, and Carrie Turansky.

3.    How did you come up with the title.

Since it was a Christmas book, we wanted “Christmas” in the title. Brides book are always popular, and mail-order brides are even more well-like, so it was a pretty simple decision to call the book Christmas Mail Order Brides. We’re glad the publisher didn’t change it.

4.    How did you find the topic and was it easy to write for you?

The idea for my novella was penned a long time ago. It was a shotgun wedding story that I had proposed to my publisher in a “Shotgun Weddings” novella collection. But my publisher decided not to print any more novella collections, except for the Christmas ones, so the book got rejected. I loved the story and had hoped I’d find another place to use it, and I was glad that it found a home in the mail-order bride collection

5.    How did you come up with the characters for your story?

My novella, The Prodigal Groom, is a prodigal son vs. runaway story. Something terrible happened in my hero’s past that caused a breach between him and his father. He left home and never returned. When he becomes a Christian, he feels God compelling him to go home and make peace with this father. He is on his way to do that very thing when he encounters my heroine. She grew up in an orphanage, but since she’s eighteen now, she must leave the only home she’s ever known. When the orphanage’s creepy benefactor insists she come to work for him, she knows she can’t. Every girl who’s worked there has disappeared after a few months. Instead, she answers an ad and flees west to become a mail-order bride. Marrying a stranger has to be better than living with that lecherous, old man.

I think I kind of side-skirted your actual question. It’s hard to say how characters develop. Sometimes I’ll model one after a real person I’ve read about in a research book, other times I know my general story idea and shape my characters to be a good fit. I generally use the Heroes and Heroines: Sixteen Master Archetypes book to help me mold them.

6.    Do you have a message you hope readers take out of your story?

No matter what you’ve done, God will forgive you if you seek Him with all of your heart. No matter how bad your family life may be, He can heal and restore it. No matter how desperate your situation, God can help find a way out, if you only seek Him and put your trust in Him.

7.    Can you tell us a little about your story?

Since I did that already in question #5, here’s a blurb on the whole book: Ride the transcontinental railroad as marriage arrives by mail-order—and just in time for Christmas. Annika arrives in Wyoming to discover her intended is missing. Jolie’s journey to Nevada is derailed by disaster. Elizabeth carries a load of secrets to Nebraska. And Amelia travels to California to wrap up her final attempts at matchmaking. Will the holiday season be the ticket to spark love in unexpected ways?

8.    Do you have any upcoming projects you would like to share?

I’d like to mention that Second Chance Brides, book two in the Texas Boardinghouse Brides, just released. This is the sequel to The Anonymous Brides and continues the tale of two women who are left stranded in a small Texas town when they man they came to marry weds someone else. Now they must find a job—not an easy feat in such a little town—or find another man to marry. Dare they hope to marry for love?

I also have a new historical series set in South Carolina coming out next year. The titles are Mutiny of the Heart, Indigo Dreams, and Dueling Hearts. The first two of these books are set in the eighteenth century—something new for me to write.

9.    Finally, where can we find you one the net?

My website is www.vickiemcdonough.com  If you sing my guestbook, you’ll be entered in a drawing for a free book.

Also, If you search my name, you can find me on Facebook and Twitter, and I’m also a monthly contributor to the Bustles and Spurs blog: www.bustlesandspurs.com  


Jan Marie said...

What a fun interview! I love the name of the Matrimonial Society and I would really like to read this book. I used to not like books set in this era but am becoming more enchanted with them of late.

Thanks for the chance to win.


Ausjenny said...

Thanks for popping by Jan Marie,
I love the name also.
Just wanted to mention there is no giveaway at this time.
When I have giveaways I will mention it in the title.

Ann Lee Miller said...

I love Vicki's writing and would love to win. :)

Charity said...

I read the Anonymous Bride but I am waiting to get the other ones. I love Vickie's writing and she has quite a unique style of writing. Thanks for the interview. I do many on my blog but it is nice to read others and see what they ask different than I do. And I love finding out more about my favorite authors! Can't wait to read the rest of your interviews:)

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