It’s a joy to interview our own Candice Sue Patterson, and offer you a chance to win a fabulous gift in Candice’s GIVEAWAY! But first, throw another log on the fire, don your fuzzy slippers, and join us as we focus on Candice’s new Christmas story, Silver White Winters!
QPQ: Candice, what was your inspiration for Silver White Winters?
CSP: Long before I started brainstorming my second My Favorite Things-themed book, a story about a country music singer had been congealing in my mind. Since the story is set in the Appalachian Mountains of West Virginia, a good friend suggested I should tie coal mining into the story. At the time, the Freedom Industries chemical spill in Charleston, WV, was dominating headlines because thousands of people were without water for weeks. This company supplies specialty chemicals for the mining industry. I started researching coal mining after I decided this was the perfect occupation for my hero and discovered the mountaintop removal controversy that West Virginians have been fighting Massey Energy over for years. I was appalled. It made me want to hop in my car, drive to the mountains, and join the fight. God worked it out in my head how to build my fictional story around this and connect it to the hero’s personal struggle, which has nothing to do with mining. Coal Mountain itself became a character of sorts, along with the main characters.
QPQ: Why Appalachia?
CSP: One of my favorite Christmas movies as a kid was Smoky Mountain Christmas with Dolly Parton. Dolly played a singer who’d had it with fame and the music business and flees to a cabin in Tennessee for Christmas, and I wanted my story to have that warm holiday feel. I used the Appalachian Mountains for Silver White Winters because my mom’s dream is to hike the Appalachian Trail someday. This book is dedicated to her.
I’ve also discovered that West Virginian’s are a good, hard-working, and very tough group of folks. They fight for what they believe in. That makes this setting all the more special.
QPQ: What about Lane and Raelynn will appeal to readers?
CSP: They’re real. They have dreams—some that panned out and some that didn’t. They’ve both made good and bad choices, some that’ve brought paralyzing regret. We can all connect with those things on some level. They’re both passionate about what they do. Finally, they have a history together.
QPQ: What do you want readers to take away most from Silver White Winters?
CSP: The story is really about seeking God’s will for our lives. I pray each reader will search themselves for what talents and abilities they possess and then find a way to use them for God’s glory.
QPQ: What is it about Christmas romances that you enjoy writing?
CSP: Christmas is a season of love. A love so strong that God chose to send His son to earth to die for our sins. There’s no greater love. Since I write romance, I enjoy weaving human love around the story of the ultimate love.
QPQ: Thank you for sharing your heart with us, Candice! We wish you continued success in your writing. Would you please share your blurb and an excerpt from Silver White Winters?
CSP: I’d love to!
She thought she had it all. Until she discovered the treasures in the snow.
Country music singer/songwriter Raelynn Rivers is a has-been. According to the latest gossip magazines, that is. Her last number-one hit was six years ago, and her songwriting ability has vanished. Her foundering career is all she has left, and she’s determined to once again hold the title of “Country Music Queen.” But Raelynn’s dreams are derailed when a coal mine collapses in her home town of Eve Hollow, West Virginia, trapping her daddy and brother inside.
The man in charge of the mine rescue is Lane Ryan, her childhood best friend and the former fiancé she abandoned twelve years ago for her career. In the snow-covered mountains of Appalachia, Raelynn reconnects with family and rediscovers her musical abilities—and her faith. And no one inspires her more than Lane. She’s finally ready for a relationship, but the secret Lane carries around is as big as Coal Mountain.
Will Raelynn sacrifice her title, or say goodbye to Lane forever?
“Are you sure about this?” Lane squeezed the trigger on the can of fake snow, spurting the junk on the window and into his face.
Rae plugged in a fifty-foot strand of colored bulbs, covering her black sweater in multi-colored polka dots. “I know it’s cheesy, but cheesy is a nice change for me.”
“I take it you don’t do cheesy at your mansion in Tennessee?”
She picked at her fingernails. “I haven’t really done Christmas the last two years. Once, I was in rehab for the holidays, and the other, I’d just gotten out. Didn’t feel very Christmassy.”
The thought of her spending the holidays alone tore his gut. He knew, in a way, what that felt like. “So what’s the place like the rest of the year?”
Guilt slithered around his neck and squeezed like an anaconda. He focused on the window. Another spray of synthetic fluff hit the glass and flew into the air. He coughed. “You’re gonna be around to clean this mess, right?”
Rae walked to him and linked her arms around his waist. She stared at the strings on his hooded sweatshirt. “I really don’t need such a big house, since I’m the only one who lives in it. Now might be a good time to downsize. Or share it with someone.” Ever so slowly, her gaze trailed up his neck to meet his.
Lane chocked the aerosol can in his grip to keep himself in check. The woman could set his body on fire with a mere bat of her dark, curly eyelashes. “Rae, we need to talk.”
“A man who wants to talk?”
He tried to smile back but couldn’t. “Yeah.”
She arched away. “Uh-oh. You haven’t changed your mind about us, have you?”
He pressed his palm to her cheek. “Of course not. I love you.”
She relaxed against him. “I love you, too.”
Lane drew a breath and released it. “If we’re gonna plan a future together, there are some things we’ve got to work out first.”
She rested her head against his chest. “Future. I like the sound of that. But can we talk about it later? It’s been a perfect day, one of the best I’ve had in years, and I don’t want to spoil it.”
“OK.” He exhaled, rubbing circles on her back. “We’ll talk about it later.”
QPQ: That’s awesome! Where can we find Silver White Winters?
QPQ: Great. And where can readers find you?
**** Readers, Candice is hosting a GIVEAWAY! She’s offering an eCard, redeemable for the entire collection of PBG Christmas Extravaganza 2014 stories. That’s 11 eBooks for free! To enter, 1) Share this interview, and 2) Leave a comment or question for Candice below. The winner will be posted in the comment section of this blog Monday, December 8th! ****
Candice Sue Patterson studied at the Institute of Children’s Literature and is an active member of American Christian Fiction Writers. She lives in Indiana with her husband and three sons in a restored farmhouse overtaken by books. When she’s not tending to her chickens, splitting wood, or decorating cakes, she’s working on a new story.
Candice writes Modern Vintage Romance—where the past and present collide with faith. Her debut novella Bright Copper Kettles is available now.