Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Day 11: Meet Cynthia Hickey, Author of A Christmas Castle

Cynthia Hickey pulled off quite a surprise in her novella Christmas Castle. When Annie, a mail order bride, arrives in Arizona to meet the man she's married by proxy, the situation turns a little awkward: the man is dead and has left behind an orphaned daughter! Each of the 9 Pioneer Christmas authors were asked 12 questions about herself and her novella (in keeping with the 12 Days of Christmas theme--clever, eh?). Today Cynthia introduces us to herself and her novella A Christmas Castle. (You can read a brief synopsis of A Christmas Castle in Monday's post.)

1. What made you write about your period in time?

I love the 19th Century. Always have. Anything to do with pioneers and cowboys, and I’m there. So, when Barbour asked for pitches for this collection, it was no brainer as to what time period I would write in.

2. How is Christmas celebrated in your family and what effect did it have on your writing this story?

Christmas is a very big deal in my family. My husband and I have a “yours, mine, and ours” family which gave us seven children and five grandchildren. On Christmas Eve, we have a huge breakfast. Our now grown children and grandchildren come over to eat and open gifts. On Christmas day, we start off with a prayer and a toast, then put something in Jesus’s stocking that only we can give him. Then we start on our own gifts. Later that day, we meet back with everyone for dinner and White Elephant gifts. The season is a big deal for us as we celebrate the birth of Christ.

3. What research did you do to authenticate Christmas celebrations in your story?

Although I live in the Phoenix metropolitan area, I had to research the Tucson weather. Even that two hour drive can change things. Who knew it sometimes snowed in Southern Arizona? I also had to do some research on dugouts (basically a hole in the ground) since, thankfully, I’ve never had to live in one.

4. When you dreamed up your story idea, what came first, the time period, the story, the location?

The abode came first, then the story around it. I chose the location because dugouts were commonly used as Arizona was being settled.

5. What was the "germ" of your story idea and how did you flesh it out?

The germ of the story was contentment and the reason for the season. Most people today would have a hard time being content and celebrating while living in a hole in the ground.

6. Would you like to have been there?

Yes, I think I would. Especially when the characters discovered that love makes any home a castle.

7. What aspects of your characters are reflected in yours?

I’ve learned to be content with where God has placed me. It took a long time, but I have finally arrived--ha!

8. Have you been to the locations in which your story is set?

I’ve been to Tucson, yes, but not far into the desert where the ranches are. I visited Old Tucson once and watched a reenactment of a gunfight. Unfortunately, Old Tucson burned town quite a while back.

9. What surprised you the most about your story?

How much my heroine cared for her late husband even though she’d never met him.

10. Would you have made a good pioneer?

I doubt it. I like my air conditioning.

11. Were any of your ancestors pioneers? If so, where and when? 

My great grandfather was the first white baby born in Nebraska Territory. His family owned a stagecoach stop and trading post. Someday, I’ll write a story based on true historical facts.

12. What spiritual themes did you deliberately incorporate into your story? Which ones did you discover later? 

I rarely deliberately put themes into my stories. I prefer the theme to come naturally. Contentment was the key to this story. I hope I pulled it off. 

You can find Cynthia at www.cynthiahickey.blogspot.com

Have you entered my Pioneer Christmas Giveaway yet?
You can choose any of the options below to enter (tweet, make a comment, "like" my FB page, follow me on Twitter) or you can do them all! The more you do, the more times you're entered into the Giveaway. Come back each day for new opportunities to enter! Just follow the prompts below.
Giveaway Prize: Copy of A Pioneer Christmas Collection signed by all 9 authors!

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  1. Fantastic! Can't wait to read the whole collection, Anna and Cynthia! Congratulations to both of you on your success! :-)

    1. Thanks so much, Kate! (And so good to see you back in the blog-o-sphere!)

  2. Really looking forward to reading your story :)

    1. Thanks, Danni - and thanks for all the tweets! I'm going to consider them cyber hugs :)


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