Christmas is knocking at the door. Crazy, I know. I saw my first Christmas ad on TV the other day. No, I really did. It was so shocking, I can’t remember what the product was. And both my husband and my daughter are singing Christmas carols.
So, I guess that means it’s appropriate to be hosting Eva Marie Everson this week. Her Christmas novella is releasing, and she shares what inspired her to write it.
Here’s a little bit about the story.
Charlene Dixon—called Charlie by family and friends—is devastated at the recent loss of her job. For the last five years, the twenty-seven-year-old has blossomed as the activities director of an exclusive all-girls school. But when a misunderstanding with the head mistress leads to a pink slip right before the holidays, Charlie packs up dreams and returns to her grandmother, called “Sis,” who raised Charlie as her own.
When Charlie arrives—broken and confused—Sis immediately puts her granddaughter to work behind the scenes of the local school’s Christmas play, A Christmas Carol. When Charlie disapproves of having to work with Dustin Kennedy, the seventh-grade drama teacher, Sis encourages her to take a deeper look at why the book by Charles Dickens had been written in the first place and what the book could teach Charlie about the needs of the people in their own community.
So, Eva, could you share what sparked the idea for God Bless Us Every One?
First, I’ll tell you the story behind why I wrote the book. I wrote the novella, initially, because I was asked to. (Insert grin here.) I got a call from the editor at Abingdon, Ramona Richards, asking me if I was interesting in writing a Christmas novella …not a retelling of A Christmas Carol, which has been done to death, but a novella with A Christmas Carol as the thread.
Well now … that was a tall order, but I’ve never shied away from tall orders. So, I said “Sure.”
But if I wasn’t going to write a novella that was a retelling, what would I write about?
So, I decided to dig in and learn why Charles Dickens wrote his celebrated novel in the first place. And, I gotta tell you, I was intrigued. I was intrigued by what Dickens had gone through in his life, what he’d lost, what he’d gained. And I was intrigued by the period of time in which Dickens wrote A Christmas Carol. Christmas as we know it today didn’t exist up until that time. Dickens, with the writing of his short story, put the Dickens in Christmas.
But all the while, there was a problem which stemmed from the imprisonment of his father and the continued embarrassment his father put him through, even as an adult.
So I asked myself, “What if a young woman today had the embarrassment of a father and mother who had gone to prison and the father suddenly returned to make amends? Or, maybe it wasn’t amends? Maybe, like Dickens’ father, he is seeking a way to steal money? Secondly, what if the issue of hungry children and homeless families came into play?” See, this isn’t only an issue in our time; this was an issue in Dickens’ time. He sought to change that with his storytelling.
So Charlie Dixon, in my novella, learns much about a world outside of her own, and even more about love and forgiveness based on what she learns while co-directing her hometown’s production of A Christmas Carol.
Wow, what an interesting background to a story. I never knew all of that about Charles Dickens. Thanks for sharing.
Eva Marie Everson is the best-selling, award-winning author of over 30 titles, both fiction and nonfiction. She is the president of Word Weavers International, the director of Florida Christian Writers Conference, and a popular speaker at writers’ conferences and churches. She and her husband make their home in Central Florida. They are the parents of three tremendously fine children and the world’s greatest grandchildren. They are owned by their dog.
Eva is also giving away a copy of the book. Scroll down for all of the details.
Thanks for visiting with us, Eva!