Darlene, welcome to my Christmas series of Writers on Reading. I’ve been looking forward to these interviews like—well, excuse the cliché—but a kid at Christmas! So you've got so many Christmas novels to your name, and your most recent, Jacob's Christmas Dream, released just over a week ago. What do you look for when selecting a Christmassy novel or novella to cozy up with this month?
Let’s start with Christian and historical. I looked at several pages of Christian Christmas books, the covers that jumped out at me are ones from series I’m also in, or similar themes. Western, but not cowboys. Mail order brides. American. From there I look at the blurbs, and who knows what will tickle my interest? In the process of looking at the books, I bought a time-travel Christmas novella to try.
Sounds very fun! You’ve got some great reading ahead of you this season. I don’t know about you, but many of us associate this season with traditional baking. I don’t think a Christmas novel would be complete without those special scents floating around in your head. What are your favorite Christmas goodies to read or write about?
One of my novellas is An Apple for Christmas, so I had a lot of fun writing about apples. My favorite family tradition is decorating sugar cookies.
You’re making my mouth water, lol. Is there an element of these books that you’d feel cheated if it wasn’t there? Or something special you like to add to your Christmas stories?
I was going to say snow—but not really. Or Christmas day itself—but not really. There are two kinds of Christmas stories that I write: one is inspired by a Bible story. This year’s Jacob’s Christmas Dream is drawn from the story of Isaac and Rebekah. The other starts well before Christmas, but culminates on the holiday.
I adore both kinds—almost as much as I adored your fun answer. As far back as you remember, what was the first Christmas-related fiction story you read or had read to you? Is there a Christmas book you like to share with your children or grandchildren? Do you have any other special Christmas reading memories?
Oh, it has to be, isn’t everyone’s A Christmas Carol? I haven’t read Christmas stories to my children (aside from the Biblical accounts), but I also like to read The Gift of the Magi and The Best Christmas Pageant Ever.
My mother had a recording of Mr. Pickwick’s Christmas by Dickens. It’s part of a larger book, one I’m not sure of. Over the years, I came to love listening to it just as she did.
Oh, Darlene, that’s so special! Thank you for sharing. (See, why I love these interviews?) What is on your Christmas fiction to-read list this year? And what is your ideal Christmas reading experience?
I am reading (or rereading, in some cases), Christmas Traditions for a book club. I also have that time-travel Christmas book to read, and a book of Christmas-timed mysteries. A story that has that “aw” moment at the end. Scrooge’s transformation, the ham in Best Christmas Pageant Ever, the exchange of gifts in Magi.
Over the years, has any Christmas novel or novella really stuck with you that you’d like to share with our readers? And is there one you’re looking forward to rereading?
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I mentioned a couple above here. Of the Barbour collections I’ve been involved with, I’m most fond of A Woodlands Christmas, which has four wonderful stories which are tied together by an itinerant carpenter named Gabriel.
We’re going to have to look into that book. Darlene, thanks so much for visiting with us and letting us get to know you better. Folks, you can continue to connect with Darlene—and find out more about her books—at the links below her bio.
Best-selling author Darlene Franklin’s greatest claim to fame is that she writes full-time from a nursing home. She lives in Oklahoma, near her son and his family, and continues her interests in playing the piano and singing, books, good fellowship, and reality TV in addition to writing. She is an active member of Oklahoma City Christian Fiction Writers, American Christian Fiction Writers, and the Christian Authors Network. She has written over fifty books and more than 250 devotionals. Her historical fiction ranges from the Revolutionary War to World War II, from Texas to Vermont.