Monday, November 21, 2011

Author Highlight: Melissa Ann Goodwin

Author Highlight and Book Giveaway!

First time author Melissa Ann Goodwin has written a wonderful story just in time for Christmas. Her new book The Christmas Village is a heartfelt story about friends and family. I had a chance to ask her a few questions about her story and writing process.

Kristi's Book Nook Interview:

How do you promote kids and reading?
I see my role as being to write the best darn stories I can, ones that kids will love and the adults in their lives can feel good about. In my children’s stories, the kids are the heroes, and I hope that makes kids feel empowered. I think that the best way to get kids to read is to give them a good story.

Tell us about your website?
I have a blog site for the book, where I post any news about the book and list my book signing events. Then I have what I think of as my “personal” blog, where I write about anything and everything. Many of my followers are writers, so we often talk about writing and publishing. But my blog has really evolved to be just a place where I can share my thoughts and feelings with blogger buddies, and I hope to keep it that way.

Will you be doing any school book tours for 2011/2012?
I don’t have school book tours scheduled for this year. However, next year, my husband and I will be traveling cross-country in an RV much of the time, so I hope to be able to set up many school and library visits along the way. If anyone would like me to visit them, please drop me a note!

What are your thoughts on the new technology for reading a book?
I thought I wouldn’t like e-books, but there is no question that they are convenient. I downloaded Kindle to my laptop and read a bunch of e-books on vacation. I think that if the technology makes it easier for people to take the time to read, that’s a good thing. But there’s no question that I still LOVE to hold a physical book in my hands. I love the way books feel and smell. I would be very sad if I thought that physical books were going to disappear completely.

What advice do you have for parents on getting their kids reading?
I’m no expert on this, but I think what might work is to help kids find books about things that interest them. For example, you might wish that your daughter was interested in reading Jane Austen, but if she is really interested in dinosaurs instead, get her a book about dinosaurs.

Tell us about your book(s) and illustrations.
The Christmas Village is a middle-grade novel about a 12-year-old boy whose world has fallen apart after his father’s disappearance. He and his mother escape to his grandparents’ home in Vermont, where he becomes fascinated with Grandma’s Christmas village because he imagines that it’s a perfect place where nothing ever changes. He wishes that he could live there, and before you know it, his wish comes true! He finds that the village is a Depression-era town, and that it’s not as perfect as it seemed. Once he’s there, his whole perspective changes and his goal is reversed – now all he cares about is getting back home to his own family by Christmas. Of course, unexpected events put that in jeopardy, and whether he’ll make it back, and how that will happen, create the rest of the adventure and suspense.

How long did it take you to get this idea to where it is now?
I worked on this book, off and on, for more than three years.

What will kids love most about your book(s)?
Kids will love the fantasy of disappearing into a miniature world, and they will really like the fact that the children are the stars and the heroes. They’ll like the surprises, the action and the humor.

What will parents and teachers love most about your book(s)?
Adults will love the nostalgic feeling, and the gently delivered bits of history. They will also feel good about the positive messages the story holds about friendship, family and forgiveness. And, I think they’ll enjoy the adventure and the surprises too!

What's your next project?
I’ve already started working on a young adult novel about a girl who is evacuated to Wales at the start of WWII.

For a chance to win leave a comment with your name and email!

The Christmas Village

Jamie Reynolds is only twelve and his dad has done something that has turned the town against him and as a result his dad leaves town. Jamie's best friend Tommy can't hang out with him anymore because of the terrible thing Jamie's dad has done. With Christmas just around the corner his mom whisks him away to her parents home in Bell's Crossing. At grandma and grandpa's, big breakfasts, festive decorations and a surprise Christmas village make him wish for simpler times where nothing ever changes.

After Jamie's grandmother surprises him by showing off the little village, his mother tells him all about the people who live there. She explains that its 1932, and how some of the people survived the great depression. Grandma calls the little village Canterbury. Jamie's mother made it seem so real. The smells of Christmas filled the room, pine trees, burning wood in the fire place and an apple-cranberry candle made Jamie wish that he could live in Canterbury and longed to forget his troubles.

Asleep on the couch, Jamie is suddenly awakened. It was midnight and he could hear voices coming from the little Christmas village. He leaned in barely breathing watching two children ice skating on the village pond. It was Kelly and Christopher, the two his mother told him about. He felt as though he knew them. He watched the miniature villagers. On the far side of the pond the ice breaks and Kelly sinks into the icy water. Jamie panics and is not sure how to save her. Before he knows it he is catapulted into the village.

Jamie has nightmares that he is being chased by a dark stranger. As this story unfolds, Jamie is forced to choose between staying to help his new friends or going home. This is a wonderful story that family and friends can share around the hearth with a cup of hot chocolate. Little listeners will root for Jamie and his friends in the little town of Canterbury.

Goodwin has done an excellent job of introducing characters and weaving a tale with so many twists and turns that readers will get to the end and read the story all over again. The vivid imagery puts readers right in the midst of the story.

Melissa Ann Goodwin treasures fond memories of a happy and carefree childhood growing up in Andover, Massachusetts. She is grateful for the many wonderful teachers there who encouraged her to read the books that inspired her to become a writer. She now lives in Santa Fe, NM, with her husband, artist J. Richard Secor. Melissa has written many stories, poems and articles for children’s magazines, and her non-fiction pieces have appeared in national magazines and regional newspapers. The Christmas Village is her first novel for children.

The Christmas Village page:
 The link to the Book Blog page:
 My personal blog:
 The Christmas Village Facebook page:
 Now available at Smashwords:

Thanks Melissa for stopping by and sharing your story.

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