Please welcome back Paula Vince an Aussie Author back to my blog for my focus on Christmas series. I wanted to have a few different perspectives of Christmas from different areas. I relate well to what Paula has said. Also her latest book Best Forgotten which won this years Caleb Prize would make a wonderful christmas gift.
1) What do you most associate with Christmas where you live?
Some blistering hot days and pleasant, warm summer evenings full of the aroma of outdoor barbeques. Cool fruit punch and festive salads. The Christmas holiday period is a wonderful time for winding down as our Australian school year comes to an end.
2) Do you have any special family traditions you do at Christmas time?
We love to watch or visit our Adelaide Christmas Pageant, which is said to be one of the best in the Southern Hemisphere. There are also other local pageants and festive occasions we attend. A five minute drive from where we live is a town named Hahndorf which was settled by German pioneers in the nineteenth century. Each December a traditional visit from St Nicholas takes place there, which I love to take part in with my children.
On Christmas Eve night, we attend an service at our church. I love singing carols in the auditorium lit by nothing but splashes of candlelight. And, of course, one of our favourite traditions is driving around at night searching for light displays and nativity scenes set up in peoples’ gardens. We have a town named Lobethal in the Adelaide Hills, another one founded by European settlers, and its people hold nothing back when it comes to light displays, making it one of Adelaide’s most renowned tourist destinations each Christmas. (Jenny here I would love to see the lights of Lobethal I have heard they are amazing)
3) Do you have a favourite Christmas Carol, and if so do you know why?
It would have to be O, Holy Night. It is such a majestic piece of music that makes my spirit soar on the high notes, while I want to ‘fall on my knees’ with the chorus at the same time. I love the lyrics, which speak of the power and love of Jesus for each of us. The fact that he entered the world unobtrusively as a tiny baby fills me with awe each time I hear it. (Jenny here this is a song that many have picked and its one I really Love too.)
4) If you could spend Christmas anyway you could, how would you celebrate?
I’ve never known anything but hot Aussie Christmases, but I wouldn’t mind, just once, celebrating it in a traditional cold, snowy climate for the contrast. Friends and family who have been lucky enough to be able to do it describe the experience as terrific.
5) Do you have any special memories of Christmas?
My sister and brother are older than me by several years. During my childhood Christmases, we’d all sit around the tree first thing in the morning with our parents, taking turns to open presents. After lunch, we’d have a sit-down lunch with turkey and salads at the table. It was probably the only day of the year we used to spend together like that and I valued the time.
6) What is a typical Christmas Eve and Christmas Day for you?
Christmas Eve is my birthday. I try to keep the day free to relax and observe it in some special way instead of simply letting it filter through my fingers in a mad effort to finish off last minute wrapping, cleaning and shopping. I spent it in that frantic way once before and promised myself never to repeat it. Last year, I spent my birthday driving home from Nelson, over our Victorian border, where we’d had a holiday for a week. I even called into the Naracoorte Christian bookshop and said, “Hi” to Jenny. (Jenny here I remember that you dont know how exciting it was for me to meet an author I even bought one of Paula's books. didn't realise it was your birthday at the time.)
On Christmas Day, we have lunch with one of our extended families and dinner with the other, alternating each year. This year, we’ll have lunch with my family and dinner with my husband’s.
7) Do you have any Christmas movies or books you like to see or read?
We watch “The Greatest Story Ever Told” or whatever Christmas movie is televised. I’d love to get my hands on a movie called, “Bushfire Moon” about a true-blue, colonial Aussie Christmas. I saw this one at the movies in my teens and always remembered it. (Jenny here again I forgot about Bushfire Moon I also saw it at the movies. I remember it was really hot but one family still had a yule log.)
The kids and I borrow Christmas books from the library and I also like to read over every Christmas story by Laura Ingalls Wilder in her “Little House” series.
8) Do you have a Christmas message for my readers?
I’d like to tell everybody to have a joyful and blessed time. Saying, “Don’t get caught up in the commercialism” is pointless, so get your necessary commercialism out of the way quickly so you can enjoy every minute of the days leading up to Christmas. Take time to reflect and relax. I love to think of us as a world-wide family all celebrating the birth of Jesus together.
God Bless, everyone.
A young accident victim wakes up in hospital and can’t remember who he is. Why does he have nothing in common with his family? Why does he despise the person he was supposed to be? Why has his best friend disappeared without a trace? And is somebody after him?
His family can offer no solutions. His girlfriend is strangely aloof. And he cannot shake off a feeling that the answers will prove more foreboding than his amnesia. Yet he must find out before he runs out of time. Paula Vince has woven elements of secrecy and suspense with her trademark warmth and compassion to bring you a new, fascinating story.