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Christmas is just around the bend! This time of year, everything seems to move at warp speed, and I struggle to find time to complete everything I feel I should. One of my favorite activities at Christmas, though, is reading Christmas stories. I have a collection of kids’ books I still enjoy reading (when my kids will humor me…lol), and I keep an eye out for new books to add.
Today we have the opportunity to visit with Jean Gordon about her new book, Holiday Homecoming. Let’s take a look at the story first.
Pastor Connor Donnelly is done with romance. After proposing to his high school sweetheart, Natalie Delacroix, five years ago—and being turned down—he’s putting all his time and energy into his community. He’s determined to make the Christmas pageant he’s directing a success. But family and friends are set on fixing up the good-looking bachelor in time for the holidays. And now that Natalie is back in Paradox Lake—and helping with the pageant—they might just succeed. Because working so closely with Natalie stirs up old feelings…and Connor starts to hope for a second chance with the one who got away.
Welcome, Jean! I love this cover! What inspired this particular story?
I love holiday stories, especially Christmas stories. I was still reading Christmas 2014 books in March 2015. So, I was thrilled when my Love Inspired editor gave me the go-ahead to make Holiday Homecoming, the second book in my Donnelly Brothers series, a Christmas story.
There’s just a certain “magic” about Christmas stories… Have you done any travel for research? If so, could you tell us about it?
My Donnelly Brothers series and my earlier Small-Town series are both set in the Paradox Lake area of the Adirondack Mountains—about 100 miles away from our home. My husband and I traveled there several times so I could get a feel for the area and the people and take pictures of ordinary places my characters might frequent. I’m pleased to say that I’ve received letters from several readers who live or lived in that area commenting on my getting “the details” right. We’ve also hit most of the area’s historical sites, including Fort Ticonderoga, the Schroon-North Hudson Historical Society, and the Ticonderoga Heritage Museum. Although I don’t write historical romance, I love history.
What a great opportunity to really get into the setting of your stories! What is your favorite Christmas tradition or memory?
Going to Christmas Eve church service. I especially love the music. When I was a child, service was midnight mass. Once none of us kids believed in Santa anymore, my parents let us open one gift after church. I’ve continued the tradition, only now the service is earlier in the evening, so we also have a snack.
Music? You’re speaking my language… 😉 I’m picturing candlelit ‘Silent Night’ — beautiful! And a snack? Around here we have quite the collective sweet tooth… What is your favorite Christmas dessert? Would you be willing to share the recipe?
Cheesecake is a favorite dessert for me at any time. For many years, I made them for Christmas gifts and dinners. Because of family dietary needs, I developed this recipe for
Almost Fat-Free Cheesecake
1-2/3 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup sugar
8 tablespoons butter or margarine melted
3 pkgs (8 oz each) nonfat cream cheese cubed
1-1/2 cups sugar
3 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 cups nonfat sour cream
Combine graham cracker crumbs, 1/4 cup sugar and butter. Press into the bottom and sides of a 10-inch spring from pan. In large mixing bowl, beat cheese until smooth; gradually add 1-1/2 cup sugar, beating until fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Add flour, and lemon juice. Mix well. Fold in one cup of sour cream. Pour into pan. Bake in preheated 325-degree oven for 60 minutes. Turn off oven and leave door ajar for 30 minutes. Combine other cup of sour cream, 2 tablespoons sugar and vanilla. Carefully spread over cheesecake, return to oven for 30 minutes with door ajar (do not reheat oven). Remove from oven, cool, and refrigerate at least 3 hours or over night. If desired, garnish with fruit.
We’ve chatted about cheesecakes a number of times, so you’re certainly not alone in favoring them! 🙂 And an almost-guilt-free version? You can’t beat that! Thanks for sharing your recipe. Can you give any hints about what you are writing now?
I recently sent my editor copy for the third and last book in The Donnelly Brothers series. It’s about Josh, the middle brother. It was a difficult, but rewarding book to write. He grew up with an often-absent alcoholic father. She’s his best friend and, unknown to him until about half way through the book, a recovering alcoholic with five years of sobriety. As if him learning her secret doesn’t set off enough sparks, his father, who’s been missing for eight years and declared dead, returns to make amends.
It sounds like they have some tough stuff to work through… Can you share (briefly) about something you feel the Lord has been teaching you recently?
To let go and listen. He’s been teaching me this for a while and it’s finally starting to sink in.
Oh, it can be so hard to let go sometimes! Thanks for taking the time to visit with us today, Jean!
What is your favorite Christmas song or tradition? Share in the comments!
More about Jean:
For Amazon Bestselling inspirational and sweet romance author Jean C. Gordon, writing is a natural extension of her love of reading. From that day in first grade when she realized t-h-e was the word “the,” she’s been reading everything she can put her hands on. She and her college-sweetheart husband tried the city life in Los Angeles, but quickly returned home to their native small-town Upstate New York, where she sets her books.
To keep in touch with Jean, you can sign up for her author newsletter on her website JeanCGordon.com. And feel free to email her at JeanCGordon@gmail.com .You can also visit with her at Facebook.com/JeanCGordon.author or Tweet her at @JeanCGordon.
Also by Jean Gordon:
The Donnelly Brothers, book 1
A Hometown Reunion
Single mom Becca Norton is surprised to discover her high school crush Jared Donnelly is back in town. The motocross champion hasn’t been home in years, but the former bad boy is as gorgeous as she remembers. And his kindness toward her kids melts her heart. But when she learns his true purpose in town is to build a motocross school on land near her home, she has to put on the brakes. Her children’s welfare is her priority, and her former in-laws have made it clear they don’t approve of Jared or his plans. Soon Becca may have to choose between her heart…and her home.
THE DONNELLY BROTHERS: Hometown boys make good…and find love.