Please join me in welcoming Laura Nelson Selinsky to the blog today to chat about her new Christmas novella, Season of Hope!
Laura Nelson Selinsky is a wife, mother, author, and high school teacher. She writes in her (Hah!) free time, through the support of her wonderful husband and her critique group. She teaches Shakespeare, Chaucer, mythology, and where the apostrophe goes to students with significant learning differences. For twenty years, she has chased second graders through Hope Community Church; allegedly, that’s teaching, too. When she’s not teaching or writing, Laura loves to spend time with her grown children and their partners. She grows too many tomatoes, finds hand-sewing relaxing, and makes excellent Scotch shortbread, which is great with a cup of tea and a book.
SEASON OF HOPE
GENRE: Inspirational Christmas Fiction
PUBLISHER: Anaiah Press
RELEASE DATE: November 1, 2019
The Christmas lights in the mission’s front window are burning a little dim. So is Pastor Nick Mayfield’s hope. Managing a down-on-its-luck mission in a tough neighborhood in Philadelphia isn’t easy, and not for the first time, he questions his decision to leave a promising law career to follow his calling.
Across the street, Claudia Delacorte works day and night in her abusive stepfather’s store. She’ll do anything to assure her beloved half-sisters have a happy and safe future, even sacrifice her own happiness. So when the new pastor shows interest in her, she scoffs at his naïve overtures—she doesn’t have time for love. Or Christmas.
But when a series of crimes throw the neighborhood into turmoil, Claudia becomes an easy target. During a robbery gone horribly wrong, Nick and Claudia must work together to save her sisters, the store, and each other. Will this tragedy restore hope to their community? Or will they lose everything they’ve fought so hard to keep?
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Hi Laura! Welcome to the blog!
Laura: Winter: I’m a cool weather girl, so writing a Christmas story fits my temperament. Season of Hope features a serious snowstorm.
Carrie: you are speaking my love language – cold, snow & Christmas!
Laura: Coffee for Awakeness; Tea for Pleasure. My book release party for Season of Hope was a tea party with all my favorite women.
Carrie: how fun!
Laura: Audiobooks whenever I’m alone in the car or garden.
Carrie: Car trips are about the only time I can do audiobooks & then only in small doses
Laura: Maine, Ireland, & Hawaii- The ocean and mountains hold hands in those lovely places.
Carrie: ooo! I love the way you said that – yes!
Q: Around here I like to say that reading is my superpower. If YOU had a superpower, what would it be?
Laura: I want the “loaves and fishes” superpower. I’ve taught kids who suffered severe food insecurity, and hunger cuts against their learning and growth in heartbreaking ways. Adults in the church and outside it need to take seriously our call to serve our less-privileged neighbors.
Carrie: That would be a wonderful superpower to have!
Q: Who is your favorite book character from childhood?
Laura: Nancy Drew was my first literary hero. I loved everything about Nancy: her independence, her zippy blue roadster, and her cleverness. One of my favorite quotes is Be good sweet maid, and be as clever as you possibly can. (C.S. Lewis, offering counter-advice to girls who’d been told that intelligence wasn’t as important for them as it was for boys.). It is perfect for Nancy Drew.
Carrie: Yes! I agree! Nancy’s my girl!
Q: What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever Googled while researching a book?
Laura: I am currently writing historical fiction, set around 1030-1050 AD in Britain. Poisonous hemlock grows wild in Britain now, but it’s not native. I googled poisonous hemlock, trying to determine when it was introduced, then I’d know whether someone living in 1030 AD would recognize the plant and its dangers. (Frustrating answer- botanists aren’t exactly sure when hemlock was introduced to Britain.) To anyone checking my searches- I swear no one will be poisoned in real life. I usually don’t have to google murder-y details because I can ask for advice from a critique partner who is a physician working as a forensic pathologist.
Q: Which character was the most difficult to write?
Laura: For Season of Hope, the most difficult character to write was a little girl named Grace, the adored half-sister of the protagonist Claudia. Grace doesn’t speak because of a traumatic event when she was a toddler. I had to convey all her “dialogue” through facial expression, body language, and behavior. I am a word person, so that was a real test. One of my readers asked the other day if I would, please, write a sequel that allows Grace to regain speech. I felt genuinely sad to tell her that Grace never regains her speech. If I do write a sequel the problems of Grace’s dialogue will be exponentially more complex.
Carrie: oh wow – that would be difficult to write!
Q: What is something God taught you while you wrote Season of Hope?
Laura: During developmental edits for Season of Hope, God gave me endurance to write much more and much more quickly than I ever imagined I could. I wrote 14,000 words in under two weeks while teaching students with learning differences full time …right after I had surgery on my right elbow that limited my use of my right arm! Yikes! Only God is enough to get me through that kind of pressure.
Carrie: Yikes indeed!
Thank you so much for taking time to talk with me! 🙂 Before we say goodbye for today, tell us what‘s coming up next for you.
Laura: I am just coming out of a crazy time in which I released Season of Hope one week and signed Beach Dreams the next. So now I am in a quiet period of steadily writing 500 words a night on my historical fiction. It’s very hush-hush! Only my husband knows the historical figures living in that novel. Even my critique group sees the manuscript with true names and places redacted. If they knew the historical characters, that would color their reading of the novel. Another long-standing project is Book Three of a speculative fiction trilogy. An explosion of subplots and disparate characters resolve in Daughters of Time, Book 3; it’s quite a test of my organizational skills.
Carrie: I’m intrigued!!
What about you? What interests you most about Season of Hope and/or Laura Nelson Selinksy?