Thursday, December 06, 2007

The 12 Authors of Christmas - Cheryl Wyatt

Captain's Log, Supplemental

It’s here! I’m featuring 12 Authors this month, all talking about Christmas. Kicking off the tour is Cheryl Wyatt.

View the tour, including Rachel Hauck and Tricia Goyer’s authors, here.

About Cheryl:

Cheryl Wyatt's closest friends would never dream the mayhem she plots during announcements at church. An RN-turned-SAHM, joyful chaos rules her home and she delights in the stealth moments God gives her to write. She stays active in her church and in her laundry room. Cheryl is convinced that having been born on a naval base on Valentine's Day destined her to write military romance. Cheryl completed courses through Christian Writers' Guild and Longridge Writers and has been previously published in various non-fiction projects. She currently writes Inspirational Romance for Steeple Hill's Love Inspired line.

Her debut novel, A Soldier's Promise (Book 1-Wings of Refuge Series) received a Top Pick! from Romantic Times BOOKclub. It releases Jan. 2008 from Steeple Hill but can be pre ordered on most online bookstores now. A Soldier's Family, book 2 in her Wings of Refuge Series, releases March 1, 2008. Book three, (tentatively titled A Soldier's Sonnet) is set to release in April, 2009. Visit her newly refurbished Web site at: www.CherylWyatt.com.

Tell us about your first Christmas memory?

One of my earliest Christmas memories was getting to help decorate my grandma Nellie's silver tinsel tree. She had little red felt-covered deer ornaments that my sister and I loved to play with. We would sit for hours with her and watch the silver tree change all kinds of colors from a rotating light panel. Grandma still has that tree, and though the felt has long-ago worn off, the memories brush just as soft against my heart as velvet felt against little girl fingers. The little dilapidated deer ornaments still find refuge beneath her forty-year-old silver tree.

Growing up, did your family have Christmas traditions? Tell us how you incorporated them into your family life. Or, how you created new ones.

Our family tradition was to stay up until the wee morning hours playing cards with extended family and baking sugar cookies together and then decorating them with homemade icing. Not until after my husband and I had children did I realize that was a tradition his family had as well. Unfortunately, I am domestically challenged to detrimental degrees where kitchens are concerned. The only kind of cookie that escapes my slaughter is no-bake cookies...well, because it's impossible to burn them since there is no oven or stove or other heat source involved. My husband is fervently teaching my children how to bake sugar cookies though, so there may be hope of salvaging the cookie tradition after all! LOL! Me? I think I'll just stick with playing canasta.

When do you put up your tree? Describe the decorating at your house.

Um, well, I have wanted a white tree since we got married ten years ago. He has wanted a green tree. So we have both, one in the living room and one in the family room. We put our tree up a day or so after Thanksgiving. We let the girls pick out one new ornament a year. When we become empty-nesters, we plan to put the girls' ornaments in their hope chests and let them take them to their homes when they have their own families.

What is your favorite Christmas song or album? (Feel free here to talk about choirs or other musical things you participate in during Christmas.)

My absolute favorite Christmas song is The Little Drummer Boy. He has nothing to offer baby King Jesus in a materialistic sense, but he gives himself and his talent. It reminds me that God wants our hearts and not our things. The story in that song reminds me of my promise to always write as worship and how we can offer up our talents as a gift to Him.

Relive your childhood Christmas mornings for us.

Utter chaos and a roomful of squeals of glee. LOL! My parents sacrificed SO much to make Christmas nice for us. They worked so hard to make that day extraordinarily special. Though we didn't get many gifts throughout the year, I always remembered seeing exactly the thing I'd most longed for under that tree on Christmas morning.

Tell us about your Christmas setting--do you have a white Christmas?

In Southern Illinois, we rarely have a white Christmas…but I'd love it if we did. By Christmas, most of the leaves have fallen off trees, so the landscape is pretty bereft of color other than lights. We go to a place called Candy Cane Lane, where several large neighborhoods, nearly the entire town now, have their homes elaborately decorated. It takes a few hours to drive through it, but it feels like a winter wonderland, there is so much to see.

It's Christmas Eve… Describe your day and evening.

Christmas Eve is usually very relaxing and fun. We are usually at my parents' or my husbands' parents' house with a house full of extended family. We usually play games and laugh a lot. We usually let the children open one present each, then try to give them toxic doses of turkey so they will actually fall asleep before the sun rises. LOL!

Confession time. Shop on line or at the mall?

Equally both. LOL! I do half and half. I'm leaning more toward online though, unless it's clothing items.

Christmas grows more and more commercial every year. Setting thebhustle and bustle aside, what does Christmas really mean to you?

Christmas is a baffling time for me because I start introspecting (there's a "writerly word for ya!") about how the king of Heaven came to earth in the most humble of circumstances. It puts things in perspective for me and makes me not care that some parts of my home (like the shingles we're replacing this week thanks to a leaky room that caused a monsoon in the game room) aren't perfect. If an animal stable filled with stale hay was good enough for Him, then my fixer-upper is good enough for me. Christmas symbolizes exactly what the Bible says…"Unto you this day a Savior is born…."

It's Christmas day… what's for dinner? Do you make cookies or other traditional foods?

I don't have to cook much…as I said, I offer to help but I've pretty much been banned from all kitchens within a thousand mile radius. So I deemed myself the official taste tester. We do turkey and ham and homemade stuffing. Nothing comes out of a box except the crackers we crumble into it. And sage..lots and lots of sage. When I smell sage, it reminds me of Christmas.

Tell us about your favorite Christmas memory.

My favorite Christmas memory was when we had moved to Illinois. Lots of my extended family, aunts, uncles, cousins, grandmothers, etc. surprised us by driving in from New Mexico and Oklahoma to spend Christmas with us. I'll never forget that day and the moment we opened the door and saw them standing there. My parents and siblings has moped around for days, tearful before this because our families had always spent Christmases together prior to everyone moving away due to the collapse of the uranium economy in Grants, New Mexico where we all lived close together for a couple of decades.

What are your plans for this season?

This year we will spend Christmas with my parents since we spent Thanksgiving and Easter at his mom's. Each year we switch off. I'm going to enjoy my family and thank God for another year with everyone alive and well and together.

Any final thoughts on Christmas?

I think I've just about covered it. LOL! If anyone wants to do some after-Christmas shopping, check your local Wal Mart shelves for A Soldier's Promise. LOL! Though it's set to release Jan 1, 2008, I've seen the next month's books on shelves as early as the 23rd of the previous month.

I pray for each person reading this, for you to have a renewed understanding of the gift of God's abiding love, and that you are renewed with peace and hope if not all of your loved ones can be with you this season. I pray God blesses you with a strong sense of His presence.

Camy here: Thanks for sharing, Cheryl! (Hey guys, remember I talked about that Mountain Dew apple dumpling recipe? It’s in the back of A Soldier’s Promise, so if you make the recipe, come back here and tell me what you thought of it! Oh, and warning—it was a bit sweet for me, so I halved the sugar.)

10 comments :

  1. cool interview. I think im also the one who would be banned from the kitchen when meats etc are being cooked as i dont know how to do them well. cookies i do like baking but i tend to eat the dough.
    thanks for sharing your christmas memories. I just put our tree up tonight. Mum sure will be shocked in the morning to find a new tree.

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  2. Ausejenny...sounds like we have lots in common. I love the dough TOO! But I won't let my children eat it because of the raw eggs in it. So I have to sneak bites when they're not looking. (Laughing here.) Thanks for stopping by with your thoughts.

    Merry Christmas to you! Let us know what your mum thought of the tree.

    Hugs,

    Cheryl

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  3. The Little Drummer Boy is my favorite too! And I hate that they very rarely air the Rankin/Bass animated special of the same title anymore. Because that too was my favorite of them all.

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  4. This was a very nice insight into you Squirly!

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  5. Cool, Patricia! I have heard so many versions of the song and I love that they play it often on the radio.

    Thanks, Dream! Hugs!

    Squirly

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  6. Cheryl,
    the cookies/biscuits i make dont have egg so that helps and i dont have kids so all the more for me. i hope to make some tomorrow.
    Mum was surprised she didn't realize to begin with she knew something was different but then she realized.
    shes impressed cos its more real than our old one. I am putting the icicles on tonight boy they take awhile so am having a break.

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  7. Let me think, when was the last time an interview made me tear up?

    Great job, girls.

    I LOVE this book (and it's author, lol).

    I have a confession, when I critted this book and saw the recipe, I wrote it down and tried it that night. My guys LOVED it. Then I too, halved the sugar and took it to a church fellowship. They raved over it.

    Thank you for sharing your Christmas memories with us, Cheryl.

    Thank you for sharing your friends with us, Camy.

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  8. Glad your mum liked the tree, ausjenny! How fun!

    Pammer, awww! Thanks for stopping by. Glad your boys liked the dumplings. They are so sweet to begin with...the boys I mean. LOL!

    Hugs,

    Squirly

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  9. Great interview, Cheryl. I love The Little Drummer Boy, too! I cry every time I hear it, though. :)

    Missy

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