- THE TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS
But before Linda joins us in the parlour amidst the twinkle lights and bristly pine tree, here’s a blurb and excerpt from this delightful Christmas story.
Leigh and Russell have not seen each other in years when they come to Kentucky to spend the holidays with Leigh’s grandmother Amelia. Russell’s own grandmother lived next door until her death and they had been in love before Russell left for college. Leigh waited for his return but to her disappointment, he never came back.
When they meet again, the attraction between them is stronger than before but many complications exist. Leigh’s husband and young son were killed in an accident in upstate New York. She blamed herself for her son’s death and vows never to be a mother again. She left her elementary school teaching job and moved to Florida where she now sells real estate. Russell is a successful building contractor in Arizona, a divorced father of two, whose wife just remarried and will be moving overseas. She has offered custody of their girls, four and eleven, to him and he must decide now.
When Russell asks Leigh to marry him, she thinks he needs a mother for his children and doesn’t want the job. Will he be willing to say no to custody in order to get Leigh to say yes? Can she become Russell’s wife if it means depriving him of his beloved daughters?
The Twelve Days of Christmas
A few scattered snowflakes were falling as they walked the now familiar route toward the university. When they passed beneath the street light, Russell caught the fleeting glimpse of crystal droplets in Leigh’s hair as he reached out to touch her arm, slowing her steps until she stopped and faced him.
“Leigh, there’s something I want to tell you.”
She met his eyes in the dim glow but remained silent.
“I’m sorry, Russell. I can’t.
After a moment of silence, he asked, “Is it your husband? Are you still being loyal to his memory?”
“No, it isn’t. . . ” she let the words trail off
“If not that, then what, Leigh? Tell me.”
“I can’t explain. It’s too complicated
“Leigh, please don’t deny us this second chance to be together. I need you and I think you need me.”
Let’s have a warm welcome for Linda Swift!
Sharon: Thank you for joining us today. Oliver, we’re ready for refreshments.
Oliver swaggers out, donned in his Santa hat, pushing a silver caddy full of steaming tea and coffee. Winking wildly at Linda, he breaks into song.
On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
A partridge in a pear tree.
On the second day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
Two turtle doves and a partridge in a pear tree
On the third day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
Three French hens, two turtle does and a partridge in a pear treeeeeeeeeeeee!
He takes a sweeping bow and arranges two dainty teacups and unveils a platter of scones, gingerbread boys and sugar cookies. He grins his bone-melting smile. “Coffee, tea or me?”
Linda: Well…She gives him an admiring glance. That's a hard choice to make. Seeing Sharon's frown, she hastily answers I'll have tea, please and under her breath adds, for now.) And you do have a great voice, Oliver. Have you thought of singing on a talent show? Sharon frowns again. In your spare time, of course.
Oliver whips out his certificate proving he did indeed appear on American Idol.
Sharon: Oliver, run along. Don’t you have more baking to do?
Sharon: Sigh. He can’t help himself. So, Linda. I love the sound of this book. Tell us about your main characters, Leigh and Russell.
Linda: Leigh has never dealt with her grief over the loss of her husband and son. And she blames herself for her little boy being with his father when the accident occurred. She has tried to run away from her pain but it isn't working. And Russell is also hurting from the breakup of his marriage and the loss of his daughters. But when given a chance to reclaim them, he's afraid to take it. Then Leigh and Russell meet and realize they still love each other but now their goals are at odds and the situation seems hopeless.
Sharon: A book about second chances. Isn’t that what Christmas is all about? All things anew. Do you believe in second chances?
Linda: Oh, very much so. It's never too late to begin anew. Everyone makes mistakes and we can learn from them and move on. And if we are very lucky, like Leigh and Russell, we have a chance to start over and get it right.
Sharon: Why the title? The Twelve Days of Christmas?
Linda: I like to use the title or a line from a familiar Christmas song for my holiday books. And somehow the idea came to have Leigh's plane ticket for twelve days correlate with this song. I don't struggle to find titles for my work. I create a story and in the process, a title usually presents itself. I don't question where it comes from!
Sharon: That’s great. So many authors struggle with book titles. So tell me, do you have any fond memories of this delightful Christmas song?
Linda: No, I don't have any special connection with this song other than it's one of my favorites and I can remember it always being a part of the Christmas music I listen to and enjoy.
Sharon: And a catchy tune at that! How will you spend Christmas this year?
Linda: My husband and I will be in our condo in Florida and our son, daughter, her husband and our granddog plan to come down from Nashville for the week. We are looking forward to that as we usually spend the holiday without family there with us.
Sharon clasps her hands together and laughs a deep belly laugh. A granddog! I love it! Now, as you know, traditions are very special to me. What is your favorite Christmas tradition, one you passed on to your children from previous generations?
Linda: On Christmas Eve, we always had dinner, then drove around the town and looked at holiday lights. Afterwards, we read the story of Christ's birth from Matthew and had light refreshments. And when the children were older and wiser we opened gifts. During the Santa Claus years, we waited for gift opening until early Christmas Day. I am an only child and my family also followed this tradition from my early childhood.
Sharon: Those are lovely traditions. And how would you like to be remembered when you leave this earth? What footprint would you like to leave as your very own?
Linda: I'd like to answer that with a poem I wrote a long time ago called Immortality.
I would like to leave
a little bit of me
that you can see
she passed this way.
I like to think my books may be part of what I leave to be remembered by.
Sharon: What a beautiful poem, Linda. Thanks for sharing. And finally, if you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be and why? If you could star in any literary fiction, which would it be and why? And last but not least, who would you want playing your romantic hero?
Linda: I'd like to live in a village in England in summer but I'd want to come home to Florida in winter or perhaps some place warm in Europe. I've always been a nomad.
I love the old classic movies and I have always wanted to be part of the old South and live in an antebellum mansion, so I'd choose Gone With The Wind. And who better to play Rhett than Clark Gable. But as Miss Scarlett, I'd rewrite the script and make sure he did "give a damn." Don't laugh, but I once owned half a horse and I named her Miss Scarlett.
Oliver struts out, returning from the book store with his copy of The Twelve Days of Christmas. If I might be so bold as to have your autograph, Ms. Swift?
Linda: Oh please, Oliver, do call me Linda. And I'm flattered to sign your copy of my book.
Let's see. She pauses and then writes slowly as she reads aloud. To my dear friend Oliver with fond regards. How's that?
Oliver swoons off, singing The Twelve Days of Christmas, but not before stealing a kiss under the mistletoe he held over Linda’s head.
Sharon: Thank you so very much for joining us today, Linda. Where can readers buy this book and your other books?
Linda: Oh, do give me a moment for my head to stop spinning. There. The Twelve Days of Christmas will be released by Awe-Struck Publishing any day now, and I have another contemporary book just released there called Single Status. My other holiday book, Let Nothing You Dismay, is available from the Wild Rose Press. And I have Circle of Love also available from TWRP.
Book Title: THE TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS (to be released in December)
Sharon: Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas!
Oliver rushes out blasting his horn with a major announcement. "The Twelve Days of Christmas is now available, hot off the press as of yesterday!" Get your copy in time for a holiday stocking stuffer!"
Linda Swift divides her time between her native state of Kentucky and Florida. She
has been writing since she was ten and is an award winning author of published poetry,
articles, short stories, and a TV play. Her first two books were published by Kensington.
In addition to her holiday e-book, Let Nothing You Dismay, Linda also has Circle
of Love available as an e-book and in print from The Wild Rose Press.
Linda's Awe-Struck Publishing books include Single Status, available as an e-book
and in print. Another holiday book, The 12 Days of Christmas, will be released in
December and her first published historical in 2010.