Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Let Them Eat Fruitcake by Melody Carlson and contest

Lets kick off the upcoming holiday season with a Christmas interview with Melody Carlson and a feature from her new novel Let them Eat Fruitcake. At the end of the interview there is an awesome contest so be sure to post comment on my blog and visit some of the other blogs on the tour for more chances to win! So with out further adieu....

Melody Carlson has published over 150 books, with sales totaling more than three million dollars. Among those titles, many have appeared on the ECPA Bestsellers List and several have won awards including the Gold Medallion and the RITA Award. She and her husband, Chris, live in the Pacific Northwest near their two grown sons.

• Christmas carols are one of my favorite things about Christmas. What is your favorite carol?

I’m a little old fashioned when it comes to carols. I actually like “Good King Wenceslas” – bet not too many people are familiar with that one. But the song’s about a king who decides to share with a beggar at Christmastime. It was actually inspired by a beloved/martyred king in Bohemia (St. Stephens Day resulted). Anyway, I learned the carol in choir way back in junior high and I still like singing it sometimes, although I can’t always remember all the lyrics and no one else ever seems to know it.

• I remember sneaking with my sister into the living room one day where the tree stood and together we untapped all of the packages to see what we were getting. Thinking that we would get away with our little caper we rewrapped all of the presents. As my children would say we were ‘busted’ when our parents came home to presents that were not shall we say wrapped to perfection. Are you a person who loves the secrets and surprises or do you want to know what is hidden in the packages under the tree? As a child did you do any sneaking around to discover hidden presents?

Absolutely! I clearly remember opening a package when I was about thirteen and I really hoped it was going to be special because it had a sticker on it that was from a very cool department store and we didn’t usually get cool, store-wrapped gifts like that because our mom was divorced, no child support, and money was tight. Anyway, I carefully slit the tape and opened it to discover it was a pair of leopard print footed pajamas. Okay, they were cute enough and popular then, but I’d been hoping for something way more swanky. I also remember the letdown feeling of having to reopen the package that I had cleverly rewrapped (I was actually good at that sort of thing) and feign surprise and delight. Anyway, I didn’t do that again. But nowadays, both my husband and I are the worst at waiting and keeping secrets. We almost always give each other our presents before Christmas—but sometimes it’s more personal that way and we get to enjoy it more not having others around and more gifts to deal with. Basically, my theory is that Christmas shouldn’t be limited to just one day.

• What is the best Christmas present you ever received?

That’s a tough question. As a child, it was probably Chatty Baby. How’s that for dating a person? As an adult, it was my first married Christmas and we were pinching pennies because we’d just found out I was pregnant, had no health insurance, and the morning sickness was so bad that I ended up quitting my job. Now I was used to being poor and pretty crafty so I was making handmade gifts and enjoying it. And I honestly didn’t expect much from my husband. So I was shocked when he brought home presents for me. And, yes, it was the day before Christmas, but he couldn’t wait for me to open them. I was flabbergasted when the gifts turned out to be a gorgeous Pendleton sweater (I’d never owned anything that nice) and a pair of great leather ski gloves. I still have both of these items thirty years later. “How could you afford this?” I demanded, both happy and alarmed. We did not use any form of credit then. He confessed that he’d used most of his Christmas bonus. But, honestly, what a guy! And he’s still very generous that way.

Are there any foods that you only have a Christmas dinner? Could you please share a family favorite recipe?

As it turns out, my generous husband’s birthday is also Christmas Day. So after years of traditional turkey and dressing, I asked him, “What would you like for your birthday dinner.” He chose lasagna and that’s what we’ve had for around fourteen years now. I don’t use a recipe (because I like to cook that way) but some of the things that I think makes it good is real Italian sausage mixed with the ground beef and sautéed with mushroom, garlic, onions. This topped with lots of layers of good cheeses and I go light on the tomato sauce.

• When we grow-up our family traditions change to join with our spouse’s traditions. What traditions do you have that are different from when you were growing up?

As I mentioned I grew up in a single parent home…so what made our Christmases special was to head to my grandparents’ old Victorian house where all our extended family would gather for great food, good times, and lots of laughs—usually around twenty or more of us all together. It was a real traditional old fashioned Christmas that I remember warmly to this day. Unfortunately, my husband missed out on all that and holidays were actually pretty grim at his house. Consequently, he had this aversion to holidays and it took a long time to establish any kinds of traditions. Mostly we just try to get everyone together, enjoy food and each other, share gifts, sometimes play games and occasionally we sing. I have to say having a precocious and adorable granddaughter (4 ½) really spices things up.

What traditions do you hold most dear?

Family, friends, food, festive fun…taking time to remember Whose birthday we’re actually celebrating.

Christmas is a time that many memories are made. What is the best Christmas memory you have?

In 1964 Oregon experienced the Christmas Day Flood. Traveling was a challenge, but my sister and I coerced our mother to get us to our grandparents, which actually meant passing through a flooded river—we saw a VW Bug floating away, not that we could help because our old heavy Chevy car was starting to fill with water to. But we made it. Then we got to our grandparents to find there was no tree! Thanks to the floods we couldn’t get to the woods as usual. But my grandfather had these big holly trees in his parking strip that he wanted to remove anyway, so out we went and he sawed one down. It got a little prickly carrying it into the house, but it was gorgeous with its shiny green leaves and bright red berries. My grandmother almost didn’t want to decorate it. But we did and it was the best tree ever!

I love all of the holiday movies but White Christmas is my favorite. I make my family sit down every year to watch this classic. Do you have a favorite holiday movie?

I still love It’s a Wonderful Life. But White Christmas is a close second.

• Out of all the mythical Christmas creatures who do you relate to the most?

Maybe Rudolph since his life wasn’t always easy, but he used the difficulties to do something that surprised everyone.

• What pet peeves do you have associated with the Holiday season?

I absolutely hate the idea that many people go into huge debt for the holidays. That is so wrong on so many levels. I wish that people would rely more on creativity and ingenuity than a plastic card to make their Christmases really special. It’s about scaling down and it’s time our country began to figure it out. Besides, it’s a lot more fun making do than piling up debt.

What led you to write a Christmas story?

I decided that 86 Bloomberg Place would go through four seasons and since this was winter, it seemed only fair to do Christmas.

• Could you please briefly describe your novel?

Four career women are sharing a home (and challenges) and decide to have a Christmas party to bring them closer together. Of course, things never go as planned and the Christmas party doesn’t either. Still, they discover a few things about friendship and giving and what really makes Christmas special.

As a special part of this tour, if you post a comment on this post or any other post in the tour by 5pm CST on November 21, you will be entered into a drawing for a $25 gift certificate to the Collin Street Bakery.
The Collin Street Bakery is world-famous for its - you guessed it - fruitcake and will deliver your baked goods almost anywhere in the world. You can enter multiple times by commenting on more than one post (but only one comment per post will be counted). You are also eligible to enter by commenting on other posts in the tour. So be sure to check out the others on the tour by following this link.

To purchase a copy of
September 2008Soft cover, 302 pp.,
$14.99, 8.2 x 5.5 x 0.9 inches
Fiction, General
ISBN: 1589191064


Janna said...

I liked the first book in the series and my kids and I talked about what fruitcake is just yesterday :-)

ryanx6 at msn dot com

Anonymous said...

I love this interview with Melody Carlson....I have read many of her books but I especially like her Christmas fare...."The Christmas Bus" and "A Christmas Present" pop to mind.

I would love to win "Let Them Eat Fruitcake" as I am the one that LOVES fruit cake. Most of my friends think I am crazy.

Gayla Collins in WY

Lucie said...

Please enter me in the drawing for, "Let Them Eat Fruitcake". I really enjoyed the interview with Melody! I can so relate to her!! Cannot wait to read her books now that I have gotten to know her a little bit :-) Who knows I may use one of her books for my book club!

Thank you!


LucieInCA [at] aol [dot] com

Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed the interview, it brought back many familiar memories of my children's daring attempts at trying to see what they had under the Christmas tree...often with hilarious results!
I'd love to be entered in your giveaway contest. I enjoyed Melody Carlson's "Christmas Bus".

Sandy G.


darbyscloset said...

Sounds like a fun and wimsical book, just what we need to read during the holiday season!!
Please enter me,
darbyscloset at yahoo dot com

Robin Shope said...

Melody Carlson is one of my fav authors. She is great!

Kim said...

Please enter me for The Let them eat fruitcake drawing. Christmas book themes are my favorite and the interview was awesome!

Anonymous said...

Don, Can you remember opening presents and re-wrapping them ????
Enter me in the contest also .

Kim ( you have my email... Sis)

Donna Moore said...

Kim I believe that I was just following your older sisterly lead when we snuck in to unwrap and rewrap the presents. It would have been a great caper if the wrapping paper didn't stick to the tape. LOL!

Anonymous said...

What a fun interview! Our traditional Christmas dinner is lasagna, too!

Please enter me in the drawing!

Deborah Piccurelli

Michelle said...

I love her books - and can't wait to read the Christmas one!!


chellegoodson at gmail dot com