As You Are at Christmas
—a novella by Davalynn Spencer
About the author:
Davalynn Spencer is an award-winning journalist whose writing has taken her from the city crime beat and national rodeo circuit to adjunct professorship and inspirational publication. Her work has appeared in The Upper Room, Power for Living, The Quiet Hour, Chicken Soup for the Soul, American Cowboy, Western Horseman, and Prorodeo Sports News.
Davalynn is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Christian Authors Network, and The Christian PEN. She writes inspirational romance represented by Linda Glaz of Hartline Literary Agency, speaks and leads worship at women’s retreats, and makes her home on Colorado’s Front Range with her husband, Mike, and their Queensland heeler, Blue.
Connect: Follow Davalynn’s inspirational blog at www.davalynnspencer.blogspot.com, visit her website at www.davalynnspencer.com, and connect with her via http://www.facebook.com/davalynn.spencer and https://twitter.com/davalynnspencer.
Endorsement: Dreams of family, finding love right under your nose, and rekindled faith make As You Are at Christmas a charming romance for any season. — Lisa J. Lickel, author of Meander Scar
About the Book:
Angela Murphy’s plans for a cozy Colorado Christmas shatter when she finds her fellow-teacher boyfriend entangled with another woman. But she goes home anyway—to her grandmother Mollie’s Berthoud Boarding House where she’s forced into tasks with Mollie’s handsome new boarder, Matt Dawson. While temporarily rooming at the boarding house until his new furnace arrives, Matt sees through Mollie’s manipulations to pair him with her granddaughter, but he can’t complain about spending time with the beautiful gray-eyed school teacher and the mangy stray they pick up on their way home from cutting a Christmas tree. In the company of both a beauty and a beast, Matt understands more clearly the words of a long-forgotten youth leader. Will those words draw him back to a long-forgotten God? And will Angela find that home lies not in the Victorian house of her childhood, but in the arms of the man she’s grown to love?
As You Are at Christmas is available December 1, 2012 from White Rose Publishing (Pelican Book Group) in e-book format and will be featured there December 15. Throughout the month of December, all Extravaganza titles will be on sale for $0.99 at PBG, CBD and Amazon.
Buy the book from the publisher or
Davalyn, what do you love about this book?
I love the way God’s redemption makes the ugly into something beautiful, much like Mollie Murphy transforms onions into a desert-like relish with her Sweet Onion Jam. You can find the recipe on my website—and don’t forget to also sample Mollie’s homemade pumpkin bread!
Beyond that, I love the way brokenness can bring two people together who may otherwise never have crossed paths. In this case, it’s a broken furnace and a broken heart. And I love the way long-forgotten words came back to Matt, the hero. A comment by his church youth leader years earlier stays buried deep in Matt’s subconscious and comes to the surface at just the right time. That’s exactly what happened to me as I wrote this story. A theme that was hovering in the back of my mind inserted itself in the plot when I wasn’t looking.
What’s the main thing you learned during the process of writing and publishing this book?
As I wrote this story, I learned to listen to my characters. I know that sounds strange to people who don’t write, but I’m a seat-of-the-pantser, and tend to “watch” the movie in my head as I’m writing. Okay – don’t call the men in white coats! Creativity comes in many forms.
What should your readers discover and want to share with their family and friends after reading this book?
I hope readers will open their hearts at Christmas to more than just family, and experience what Matt does when he recognizes the Lord’s redemptive love—that we don’t have to get cleaned up to come to God.
“My favorite story is Beauty and the Beast—not the popular animated version, but a televised play I enjoyed with my children years ago when they were little. As we watched Beauty kneel beside the dying Beast and offer him her love, I saw the power of Christ’s love for us. “While we were yet sinners” he loved us. What would have happened if God had waited until we were lovely or lovable? We would have been forever lost under a curse, just as Beast would have been lost without Beauty’s love to break the evil spell.
This theme worked its way into the fabric of As You Are at Christmas. When my protagonists Angela and Matt were forced into a tree-cutting expedition by Angela’s manipulative grandmother, they stopped to rescue a woeful stray from the roadside. I had to give in to my characters’ demands that transforming love be a part of the story. And they were right!
I shouldn’t be surprised that my first fiction contract was for a Christmas novella because Christmas is my favorite holiday. Come to think of it, a lot of my favorites popped up in this story—Christmas, Colorado, pumpkin bread, Beauty and the Beast, and of course, romance.
God’s grace undergirds the stories I love best, and serves as the motivation behind my fiction as well as my devotional book (Always Before Me). The Lord’s love letter to us echoes through His creation and through our circumstances—good and bad. My characters discover this and it changes their lives. Hopefully it will change readers’ lives as well. What better reason to write!”