Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The Santa Letters

No, I'm not trying to make Christmas come earlier, though it is just right around the corner and I'm nowhere near ready. (Normally I start shopping in April, but this year, as of today, I've only purchased one present so far.)
But . . . since Christmas will be here before you know it, I have a special treat for you today. Stacy Gooch Anderson, author of the amazing Christmas story, The Santa Letters is here with us today.

I was able to read an ARC of The Santa Letters earlier in the summer and I was blown away by this book. Then I had the privilege of meeting and visiting with Stacy at the LDS Booksellers Convention last month, and she is just as wonderful as I thought she would be. She shared with me the story behind The Santa Letters and I was touched and deeply moved by it, by her sweet spirit, and the burning testimony she possesses of the Lord's love and his mindfulness of each and every one of us at all times, through all our trials, as well as our joys.

The Book
The falling December snow brings with it the sadness that has engulfed the previous year for the Jensen family. This first year without their father and husband has been trying. Money is tight, but it's the emotional strain that threatens to snap under the weight of grief. Just as Emma and the children begin to sink beneath the surface, a mysterious package arrives on the doorstep. An ornate wax seal beckons them to open the accompanying note and start on a journey through Christmas.

The note is signed simply, "Santa," and each day a package arrives to remind them of the true meaning of Christmas - love, family, memories, and, most important of all, Christ.

This book was a very emotional one for me to read, but it was an uplifting emotion, and by the time I finished the story, I wanted to start it again. I've forced myself to wait until next month when I will begin sharing a little of it each day with my own family. It is now my favorite Christmas story, as as I told Stacy, it's destined to become a Christmas classic.
Now, lets talk with Stacy about her wonderful book.

Me: Stacy, we're so happy to have you with us today. Would you tell us a little about yourself?

Stacy: I'm just your average everyday wife and mother trying to survive in a household of men (I have four sons and my youngest brother who will live with me when he returns home from Mexico) as I try to save them from themselves. I do hang up my cape every once in while though when I put my two left feet up and watch CSI or any dancing shows that quickly reminds me I am not perfect. ;-) Seriously though, my days consist of cleaning house, laundry, running kids to soccer, hockey and scouts, keeping up with church jobs, PTA and writing and, like every other mom in the world, trying to find a few minutes everyday to just breathe and know that all is okay in the world.

Me: It does sound like you stay pretty busy. I think every mother
should be dubbed "Super Woman," minus the tights:o)
What got you into writing?

Stacy: I really got the bug when a teacher of mine entered some poetry I'd written into a school contest. When I won, I was hooked knowing that I could inspire and sway people using a string of words thoughtfully put together rather than having to resort to an audibly loud voice since I was blessed with the vocal chords of a mouse. Writing finally gave me a voice that could be heard.

Me: I absolutely adore The Santa Letters, and I'm sure everyone
else who has read it feels the same.
What was
the inspiration behind the story?

Stacy: A few years back, I found out that two of my sons
had been in a sexually abusive situation.
spending so much money on legal and counseling bills,
there was not much money left for Christmas. I knew
though that I had to find a way for our
family to heal - including myself since I couldn't
teach my sons to be forgiving, loving
and faithful people until I could do it myself.
The Santa Letters was my way to do that for my family
as we all remembered the true gifts of not
only Christmas but those treasures we experience
throughout the year. We focused on the blessing
rather than the pain.

Me: And that is one of the many reasons I admire you so much.
How long did it take you to write the story?

Stacy: Once I accepted the challenge from a
friend to write it for mainstream America
(I still had doubts that anyone would
care about my
family's story)
It only took me about a month to
write it. But the process of living it
and the change of heart took years.

Me: Well, this story will definitely change hearts and touch lives.
Now when I talked with you before, you mentioned that
you are working on a sequel. Would you tell us about it?

Stacy: It's more of a companion book and it's called
The Inmate Letters.
It goes back to Guillermo's story and then meets
up with Emma and the
letter she writes to him
during the night they celebrate justice, mercy and
forgiveness. It then carries on with their friendship as
Guillermo learns about redemption and accompanying peace.
You can read the first chapter on The Santa Letters
website at www.thesantaletters.org.

Me: That sounds wonderful. I can't wait to read it.
Are you working on any more projects?

Stacy: I am working on a whole slew
of projects that are in various
stages of completion. You can
read more about those too on my
author website at


Me: Thanks so much for hanging out with us today, Stacy.
You're an amazing and talented lady,
and I look forward to your future work:o)

Stacy: Oh, Jewel, you're such a gem and one
I've thoroughly enjoyed getting to know better.
I'm glad to count you as one of my friends.
Truly, it's been my pleasure.....

The Santa Letters can be purchased at your local bookstore and also by logging on to Amazon.com and Cedarfort.com

After The Interview (Strictly off the record:o))

Stacy: (Gushing) Oh, Jewel, you're so amazing! I absolutely love your work! I've heard all about you from other authors and I couldn't wait to be interviewed by you. I mean, you are the greatest. I'm your biggest fan!

Me: Aw shucks. Thanks so much, Stacy.

Stacy: (Pulling a copy of my book from her purse.) Look! I have a copy of your YA fantasy The Journey. It's just the greatest book ever! Oh, please sign it for me.

Me: Of course. What would you like me to write?

Stacy: Write "To Stacy, my biggest fan and best friend forever."

Me: All right . . . Here you are.

Stacy: (Grins and holds my book to her heart as she gets a little weepy.) Oh, I can't believe it! I'm going to display your book in my china cabinet for all my friends to see. (Begins bouncing up and down.) Say, why don't you come to my house for dinner next week so my family and friends can meet you! You don't mind large crowds, do you?

Me: How large?

Stacy: Oh, maybe . . . 500? I just have to have everyone there!

Me: 500 sounds about right. Just make sure they all bring cash or a checkbook.

Stacy: Okay! Yipee! Okay, I'm going now. Gotta get home and make those phone calls!

Me: All right. I'll see you next week. ( I shake my head and smile.) Fans. You gotta love em'.

More Suggested Christmas Reading

I featured this book once before, but I wanted to do it again because it's such a neat story.

Book: Hannah's Reach
Author: Eileen Snow
Publisher: Brigham Dist.

Hannah's Reach is the story Charles Dickens would write if he were alive today. Always one to weave a heart-wrenching tale of a lonely child, he could find no better setting for his story than today's foster care system. It's the book about love, children, and the spiritual side of Christmas readers have wanted to experience for years.

Amazon Reader Review
It is very rare to find a book, that keeps the integrity intact. I was impressed with the intricate maneuvering of all involved in this wonderful story, then how everything came so neatly together at the end.

As I was adopted, however luckily not part of "the system", I found myself getting emotionally involved in the story line as well. Above all, it speaks of love, truth, perseverance and miracles. Truly Eileen Snow has given us a tremendous gift from the heart.

I had the privilege of meeting Eileen Snow last year at the LDStorymakers Writers Conference. She is a very beautiful and gracious lady, and I dare you to read this book and not get teary:o)
Hannah's Reach can be purchased by loggin on to Amazon.com

Also, experience The Journey by logging on to jadamsnovels.com or Amazon.com


Stacy G. Anderson said...

I love you sense of style! I will have that dinner for you if I become rich and famous...;-)

And I've got to read Hannah's Reach too It sounds fabulous!

Thank you for the sweet review. You are unforgettable....


Tristi Pinkston said...

I just got a call from Stacy inviting me to that dinner. Plan on me!

Jewel's Gems said...

This is gonna be a blast. I only hope my car can make up that giant hill to Stacy's house and get past the guard dogs. Maybe I'll rent a Hummer:o)

Janette Rallison said...

Okay, it's 108 here in Arizona so yeah, hard to get into the Christmas spirit but it does look like a beautiful book!

Shirley Bahlmann said...

Ha, ha, Jewel, you're delightful!