Guest Post (and Behind the Scenes Moments!): Erin Woodsmall & The Gift of Christmas Past

Posted November 28, 2017 by meezcarrie in Author Interview, Christian, Christmas, Cindy Woodsmall, contemporary, Erin Woodsmall, romance / 12 Comments

As part of the Litfuse Blog Tour for The Gift of Christmas Past, I am pleased to welcome Erin Woodsmall to the blog today to share some behind the scenes moments from the book!

Erin Woodsmall is a writer, musician, wife, and mom of three. She has edited, brainstormed, and researched books with Cindy for almost a decade. She is very excited about their first coauthored book.

Cindy Woodsmall is the New York Times and CBA best-selling author of eighteen works of fiction. She’s been featured in national media outlets such as ABC’s Nightline and the Wall Street Journal. Cindy has won numerous awards and has been a finalist for the prestigious Christy, Rita, and Carol Awards. Cindy and her husband reside near the foothills of the North Georgia Mountains in Flowery Branch, Georgia. She can be found online at

Their coauthored book, The Gift of Christmas Past, released on October 6, 2017.

Arson wasn’t the only fire that ignited between them.
Promises shattered.
Lies spoken.
She was arrested.
He returned to the safety of his wealthy parents.

Almost ten years later, Hadley and Monroe are both specialists in the field of speech therapy. They meet again . . . thrown together to help a four-year-old-girl rendered mute after being rescued from a fire.

Years of secrets and anger beg to be set free as Hadley and Monroe try to push aside past hurts and find common ground in order to help the traumatized child and her family.

Can the love of Christmas past drift into the present, bringing healing and hope for all?


My Review:

Hello, Erin here. Cindy recently wrote a post for this blog for her August release, Gathering the Threads, so I thought I’d share something a little different. 🙂

Co-writing The Gift of Christmas Past was an incredible experience for me. It was our first co-written book and Cindy’s first non-Amish release. The ideas came from several of our real-life experiences, and then we added imagination as needed. Once we’d brainstormed the characters, setting, and subject matter, we knew we had to do it justice by getting all the correct details into the book. And to do that, we had to breathe the mountain air and walk around Asheville. So…Woodsmall family road trip! Two different visits, actually. Along for the ride were our husbands and my three young children.

1.The “Zoo”

In The Gift of Christmas Past, there’s a scene where Monroe and Hadley take four-year-old Chloe to the Western North Carolina Nature Center. I’d taken my two older kids here when they were babies, and it was fun to see them explore the exhibits and learn about animals. My five-year-old, Lucy, loves animals, just like Chloe. In the scene, Monroe pretends that the otter surprises him by swimming up to the enclosure’s glass, and this moment really did happen with my husband, Adam, and our girl, Lucy.

Lucy also climbed the rope structure just like Chloe does in the book.

2. The Courthouse

Since the crux of the backstory involves Hadley being accused of arson, we knew we had to familiarize ourselves with the Asheville courthouse. It’s a beautiful building in the Art Deco style. The ceiling is hand painted! But more important, I was able to speak with people who worked there, and we verified how the court would have handled the fictional situation.


3. Biltmore

Biltmore Estate is the most popular and recognizable tourist destination in Asheville. We felt like we needed to include it somehow, and it worked out really organically for Monroe’s parents to choose one of Biltmore’s event venues for the masquerade party. We chose the Diana tent because it gave a picturesque view of the estate, while giving enough space for the characters to move around and interact.

4. Monroe and Hadley’s “Spot” at the French Broad Overlook

We wanted Hadley and Monroe to have a place in nature that calms and speaks to them. Back when Adam and I were dating (we were actually high school sweethearts too!), we had this spot at Lake Lanier that we loved. We’d talk about anything and everything while walking along the beautiful shore and it just put us at peace.

While in Asheville, Cindy and I drove all around and up to the Blue Ridge Parkway, looking for what could be the characters’ spot. We found it at the French Broad River Overlook. It’s just a few minutes out of Asheville and barely on the parkway. It really has a calming effect when you stand there and look over the water.

As a bonus, when we were there, it started snowing. We were thrilled! We took some videos and pictures, and it was so special to get a rare Southern snow.


5. Elliott’s Photo Mystery

This one took a lot of brainstorming to come up with. We wanted Elliott to have this mystery that she worked on solving. She had this photo of herself as a child, along with a lost relative. I don’t want to ruin the surprise by telling you where it is, but we found this spot too. 🙂 (Hint: It’s not in Asheville.)

I love these behind the scenes moments – and your kids are adorable! Thanks so much, Erin!

What about you? Have you ever been to Asheville?

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12 responses to “Guest Post (and Behind the Scenes Moments!): Erin Woodsmall & The Gift of Christmas Past

  1. I have been to Asheville but sadly we didn’t get to the Biltmore……Asheville is beautiful though and the downtown is fun!!

    Awesome post Carrie! Can’t wait to read this one!!

  2. Patty

    We live only an hour or so from Asheville. We went at Christmas in 2016 and bought season passes. We only made it up there twice in 2017, but is such an amazing place !

  3. Janet Estridge

    My husband and I traveled to Asheville one summer. The Biltmore Mansion is amazing but I’ve heard it is truly a wonder during the Christmas Season.
    Merry Christmas to You and Yours.

  4. Lisa Harness

    Went to the Biltmore just this past summer! Loved it! Would like to go at Christmas & spring when flow red blooming.,

  5. Roseanne Impellizzeri

    Yes… Asheville is splendid! We would visit there often when we lived in Greenwood South Carolina. And the next time you go, make sure you take in the Biltmore Village as well. It’s a little quaint shopping Village on cobblestone streets, just lovely! One of our favorite places to visit was the Grove Park Inn. The scenery of the mountains from inside their Lobby is breathtaking. At Christmas time they would have sing alongs and children’s choirs etcetera. The fireplace openings are so large you can actually walk inside of them. It’s truly Majestic with a large Christmas tree and their Infamous gingerbread house contest. Truly a place to visit!

  6. Lisa P

    I would love to win! I met you at the Cokesbury bookstore in Harrisburg, Pa years ago and love reading your books.

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