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The 12 Authors of Christmas – Missy Tippens

Captain's Log, Supplemental

Continuing the 12 Authors of Christmas, here’s contemporary romance author Missy Tippens!

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

About Missy:

Born and raised in Kentucky, Missy met her very own hero when she headed off to grad school in Atlanta, Georgia. She promptly fell in love and hasn’t left Georgia since. She and her pastor husband have been married 20-plus years now, and have been blessed with three wonderful children along with an assortment of pets.

In L.B.C. (Life Before Children), Missy worked as a clinical microbiologist. Once she had her first baby, she retired to become a stay-at-home mom. She’s grateful to God that she was able to do that for 16 years and had the opportunity to pursue her writing during that time. Nowadays, in addition to her writing, she teaches as an adjunct instructor at a local technical college.

Missy is an award-winning writer and was a finalist in Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart Contest. After ten years of pursuing her dream, she made her first sale of a full-length novel to Steeple Hill Love Inspired. She still pinches herself to see if it really happened! Her debut novel, Her Unlikely Family, will be released in February 2008.

Missy would love to hear from readers through her website, www.missytippens.com, or by email: missytippens@aol.com.

Tell us about your first Christmas memory.

I think I mostly remember from photos. But there is one Christmas when I was about 7 that I remember. I got a huge doll house, about as tall as me (made of cardboard, I'm pretty sure). I also got a beautiful new pink plaid skirt and pink sweater. I've seen photos of that Christmas morning. I'm beaming in my pink outfit, standing beside my doll house. :)

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

We did have traditions! And having them has left me with such good memories. I've been determined to do the same for my children. While I was growing up, we always took an evening to go out and drive around looking at the lights. We also had the strange tradition of going out to eat dinner at Pizza Hut (one of the few restaurants open at dinner time!) on Christmas eve. Then we would go to a candlelight service at church. Afterwards, we would go home and open one small gift. One I particularly remember was a coin purse my dad had made for me out of leather.

When do you put up your tree? Describe the decorating at your house.
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We always buy a live tree, a Frazier Fur. And we try to do it as soon after Thanksgiving as we can. However, some years it's well into December before we get the chance. This year, we got it up fairly early, on the 1st. My husband's job is to get the tree in the stand and carried into the house. He's also very patient while I have him turn it in all directions (over and over again) to find just the right side. Once the tree is up, I do the lights with some help from the kids. Then my kids do most of the ornaments while I put lights and greenery on the mantle and outside. It was sweet that one of the items on my daughter's Christmas list this year was that the family decorate the tree together.

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

Oh my goodness, I must own two dozen Christmas CD's! I adore Christmas music, from Manheimer Steamroller to classical. I couldn't possibly pick one, however I really love Jewel's album. I also sing in the choir, and we usually do a cantata each year. Also, I'm in our handbell choir, and we play at Christmas as well. The choir also does a Service of Lessons and Carols to start off Advent, and we sing for two of the three Christmas eve candlight services. As you can tell, it's a pretty busy time of year!

Relive your childhood Christmas mornings for us.

We would wake up at the crack of dawn and rush out to find all the wonderful gifts under the tree from Santa. After opening gifts, we would have breakfast, usually my favorite sausage gravy and biscuits prepared by my dad, with eggs made by mom. After that, we would play all day long! :)

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

I'm near Atlanta, so we're lucky to see snow once a year, and that's usually in January or February. Christmas tends to be mild, sometimes even warm. I know one year we went to play tennis in short sleeves! For the most part, it’s usually crisp and cold, an average temp in the 40’s or 50’s.

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

The day can be crazy as I’m usually out buying last minute gifts so that my three children’s piles look more even! That evening, we have three services at church, followed by communion in the chapel. I usually attend the two earlier services where the choir sings and bring my children along for one of the two. (My husband is a pastor and there the whole evening.) The service is so beautiful, and I get a great view from the choir loft. At the end of the service, as we sing Silent Night, someone lights a candle at the end of each pew, and then the light is passed from person to person until it’s bright enough to light the sanctuary. The faces just glow with the joy of Jesus’ birth! I love my view. :)

Confession time. Shop on line or at the mall?

I’m such an Internet shopper! I don’t usually hit the mall unless absolutely necessary. It’s impossible to find a parking place! I do go to Walmart and Target, though, which is bad enough crowd-wise. But the mall is to the point of ridiculous. Just give me Amazon and Bestbuy.com. :)

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

It means celebrating the gift of Jesus with family and friends. It’s always been such a special time for me with family. We usually spend part of the holiday with my family or my husband’s family, alternating years.

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

I’ve continued my dad’s tradition of making biscuits and gravy after the gifts are opened. Then later in the day I usually make a beef roast with all the fixin’s. I don’t do cookies! They’re too much trouble. I will buy the pre-decorated refrigerator cookie dough shaped like little Christmas trees, though.

Tell us about your favorite Christmas memory.

I have so many! But one favorite was when my grandmother gave me her diamond ring. I had always loved the ring, and she had promised it to me in her will. But she wanted me to have it early, so gave it to me the Christmas right before I turned 18. It was about 35 years old at the time she gave it to me, so just think how old it is now! LOL And I still wear it every day.

What are your plans for this season?

We’re having a typical Christmas this year. It’s our year to get together with my family, so we’ll see them the day after Christmas.

Any final thoughts on Christmas?

Thanks so much for these great questions, Camy. They reminded me to appreciate every holiday memory and tradition, to appreciate the fact that I have all my family with me for the holidays this year. My son will graduate from high school in June, and I’m assuming we’ll see him for the holidays next year. But for some reason, everything we do this school year feels like a last before the huge change of having my oldest leave the nest. It’s been an emotional ride, but I’m trying to enjoy every minute.

Camy here: Thanks for sharing, Missy!

Hey, folks, Missy was one of the writers at that brainstorming retreat I went to in early November. We had a blast!

Missy and I have been friends since before we were contracted! Missy’s DEBUT NOVEL comes out in February, so keep your eyes peeled here for a giveaway!

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