BL:Thank you, Donna, for stopping by Book Reviews by Buuklvr81! It’s a pleasure to have you here today!
I’d like to start off asking you about your writing. What all goes into researching for the stories in your novels?
DVL:It depends. When I wrote The Christmas Promise I went to severals weeks of AA to listen and observe. For The Christmas Blessing I sat down and interviewed or followed a few doctors around. For The Christmas Secret I listened to women from a rescue mission as they talked about how they got there and how long they’d been there and what was next for them! Research is always different for each book but always fun.
BL:What made you choose the Christmas theme for the books you have written in the Christmas Hope series?
DVL:I think the themes have chosen me. For some reason, something just strikes me at some point and I think, “Hmmm….I wonder if that could be book?”
BL:Are any of the characters or events in your stories based on actual events or people you have met?
DVL:Yes, several characters are based on someone I’ve known or have met. They’re not the actual story but for instance, in The Christmas Secret I write about Tamara who lives at the women’s rescue mission. Tamara is a combination of women I’ve met in similar circumstances whose lives have gotten off track due to drug or alcohol abuse.
BL:How long does it take you to write one of your novels?
DVL:Usually a year. I have three small children and I’m unable to write everyday.
BL:What message or messages do you like to weave in your stories that your can walk away with???
DVL:I always want the reader to know that despite what’s happening in the world or in their own personal circumstances that hope still exists. Cicero said that while there’s life there is hope and I believe that as well.
BL:Do you have any advice for those who are aspiring writers???
DVL:Keep writing. You can’t learn the craft by sitting on your hands!
BL:What’s in the works for your fans in the future?
DVL:I’m currently working on another novel set in Morgan Hill, TN. The first novel, The Angels of Morgan Hill came out a couple of years ago so it’s time to go back to Morgan Hill! I love writing those books. (Angels of Morgan Hill is FANTASTIC!! A MUST READ!)
BL:What does your family think of your writing and do they ever help you come up with the ideas for your stories?
DVL:My oldest child, who is eight is only now beginning to comprehend what I do. She’s never really gotten it before. They see the books when they first come in and pick them up for a brief second but then run off and play. They don’t really understand. My husband is a huge help and supporter.
BL:Do you have a favorite genre of books that you like to read? What would be your favorite book?
DVL:I don’t have a favorite genre. I just love to read! I have several favorites: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn and To Kill a Mockingbird among them.
BL:What do you think of your works being turned into movies? Do they change a lot of the scenes from your books or keep them pretty much the same?
DVL:It’s surreal to see the books on film. They alter them quite a bit for television. The Christmas Hope is the closest adaptation so far and it’s different as well. It will air Sunday, Dec 13 at 8 EST on the Lifetime Movie Network. They’ll also re-air the previous two movies that day as well.(You don’t want to miss these! The first two are wonderful! I cried through both of them!)
BL:Now, since it’s the holidays, I want to ask you what is your favorite Thanksgiving tradition?
DVL:Baking and making candy like peanut butter fudge and caramels. I’m trying a new recipe today for pumpkin fudge! I’ve never tried it before so it could be interesting!
BL:What is your favorite memory/tradition of Christmas?
DVL:Watching it through my children’s eyes. They are already so excited and the wonder is still alive for them so it’s very sweet to watch them and hear what they say. There’s no time like Christmas.
Thank you, again, Donna, for stopping by and many blessings to you!! Please stop by again soon!
Sometimes, the things that can change your life will cross your path in one instant-and then, in a fleeting moment, they’re gone. But if you open your eyes, and watch carefully, you will believe…
Robert is a successful attorney who has everything in life-and nothing at all. Focused on professional achievement and material rewards, Robert is on the brink of losing his marriage. He has lost sight of his wife, Kate, their two daughters, and ultimately himself.
Eight year old Nathan has a beloved mother, Maggie, whom he is losing to cancer. But Nathan and his family are building a simple yet full life, and struggling to hold onto every moment they have together.
A chance meeting on Christmas Even brings Robert and Nathan together-he is shopping for a family he hardly knows and Nathan is shopping for a mother he is soon to lose. In this one encounter, their lives are forever altered as Robert learns an important lesson: sometimes the smallest things can make all the difference.
The Christmas Shoes is a universal story of the deeper meaning of serendipity, a tale of our shared humanity, and of how a power greater than ourselves can shape, and even save, our lives.
Donna VanLiere is a New York Times and USA Today best-selling author and gifted conference speaker. She has published ten titles including The Christmas Shoes and The Christmas Blessing, both of which were adapted into movies (starring Rob Lowe, Kimberly Williams-Perry and Neil Patrick Harris) and garnered big ratings for CBS television. Lifetime has adapted The Christmas Hope (starring Madeline Stowe) with plans to premier it along with re-airing of the previous two movies in December. Her non-seasonal novel, The Angels of Morgan Hill, has captured the same warmth as her Christmas books and continues to please loyal and new fans alike.
Donna is the recipient of a Retailer’s Choice Award for Fiction, a Dove Award, a Silver Angel Award, an Audie Award for best inspirational fiction, a nominee for a Gold Medallion Book of the Year and was recently inducted into the Ohio Foundation of Independent Colleges Hall of Excellence joining such luminaries as Coretta Scott King, Hugh Downs, Dr. Norman Vincent Peale and Senator John Glenn. Donna is an in-demand conference speaker having appeared at countless women’s and family events, including select Women of Faith conferences.
Donna lives in Franklin, Tennessee, with her husband, Troy, and their children, Grace, Kate and David, their labradoodle Lucy, their cats Cindy and Katrina and several raccoons who desperately want to be part of their family.
My Review: Truly amazing. A story that is sure to make you cry! But it also has a powerful meaning that is sure to warm your heart this holiday season.
As I read Robert’s part of the story, I thought to myself, “there is one lonely man”. But then I met Nathan. And then my thoughts were, “there is one adorable little boy with the biggest heart I know”. Their characters will compliment each other and the plot so well. By the end of the story, I was totally agreeing with my own thoughts!
Van Liere brings about the magic and meaning of Christmas in one little boy’s plea to a stranger. A child wanting to give his mother one last gift before she meets Jesus is a tear jerking plot. It shows that even a young child can have a heart bigger than the world and that child also knows the meaning of loosing someone. But through that child and his big heart, one stranger can learn the true meaning of what family means…not just providing for them and making sure there is a roof over their heads, but to really treasure them because you never know when they’ll meet Jesus, and the greatest gift of all at Christmas is that family and the love of that family. This book had me in tears almost from the beginning.
If you want a book this Christmas that will show that family is the greatest gift of all and that love is all around, then I highly recommend you read The Christmas Shoes.
This book gets 5 star praises from me….although I feel that this book should get more than 5 stars!!! Two thumbs up for a best-selling author and book that you won’t want to end!
*This book was provided for review courtesy of St. Martin’s Press*