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Lynn Austin is a former teacher who now writes and speaks full time. She is the recipient of eight Christy Awards for her novels, the latest of which is ALL THINGS NEW. As a child, Lynn would look forward to her mother reading A CHRISTMAS CAROL to her and her sisters every year on Christmas Eve. This annual tradition of reading together as a family helped her understand the true meaning of Christmas.
Joseph Monninger has published 11 novels, the latest of which is MARGARET FROM MAINE, and three nonfiction books. Here, Joseph remembers the copy of ROBINSON CRUSOE that belonged to his father and was prominently displayed on the bookshelf behind his father’s easy chair. It wasn’t so much the content that drew Joseph to Daniel Defoe’s classic, but the physical appearance of the book and everything it represented to him --- beauty, adventure, excitement, and the exotic.
Claire Bidwell Smith is the author of the memoir THE RULES OF INHERITANCE, which is now available in paperback, and a therapist specializing in grief. Having lost both her parents by the time she was 25, Claire never looked forward to the holidays, which had long been a sad and stressful time for her. That all changed when she was able to experience her first Christmas with her daughter, which signified that she was part of a family again. Here, Claire explains why she decided to buy her six-month-old a copy of PRIDE AND PREJUDICE for Christmas.
Mark Sullivan is the author of eight thrillers, including PRIVATE GAMES, which he co-wrote with James Patterson. His latest effort is ROGUE, a stand-alone novel, and the newest book in the Private series, PRIVATE BERLIN, releases on January 29th. Here, Mark offers a touching tribute to his mom, Betty Jane Walker Sullivan, who passed away in October. Betty Jane was passionate about so many things: her family, Christmas, a good laugh --- and, of course, books. In fact, she was reading and telling jokes just hours before her passing. Although she will be missed dearly on this Christmas Day, Mark knows she will be with her family in spirit and eagerly awaiting all the books they will be unwrapping.
Eric Van Lustbader is the author of the internationally bestselling Jason Bourne thrillers, as well as the Jack McClure series, the latest installment of which is FATHER NIGHT. Here, Eric discusses the Christmas gift that also gave him a valuable revelation he would use for years to come. Ian Fleming’s Bond novel, YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE, taught him that a thriller can be so much more than the conventions of the genre. If used creatively, a novel can become a doorway to many other worlds and realities, and it is only the beating heart of humanity that can truly reach readers.
Cindy Woodsmall is a New York Times bestselling author who has written eight novels and four novellas, the most recent being CHRISTMAS IN APPLE RIDGE. One of Cindy’s most memorable Christmases occurred when she was eight years old. That was the year she finally began to understand her dad, whose apparent grumpiness and lack of engagement during the holidays took on new meaning when she discovered what was really going on behind the scenes.
Charles Todd, whose latest mystery is THE WALNUT TREE: A Holiday Tale, is actually the mother-and-son writing team of Charles and Caroline Todd. Caroline’s father read A CHRISTMAS CAROL to her family every year on the three nights leading up to Christmas Eve. One year, her dad even took them to a live reading at the local movie theater. Experiencing Charles Dickens’ classic together became an integral tradition for the Todd family that made every holiday season special.
New York Times bestseller Wendy Corsi Staub is the award-winning author of more than 70 published novels and has sold more than three million books worldwide. Her latest effort, SLEEPWALKER, is the second book in her suspense trilogy that began with NIGHTWATCHER and will end with SHADOWKILLER when it releases on January 29th. When she was in elementary school, Wendy desperately wanted a copy of FROM THE MIXED-UP FILES OF MRS. BASIL E. FRANKWEILER by E. L. Konigsburg. Despite a tight household budget, Wendy’s mother cooked up what sounded like a surefire way for Wendy to own the book. But there are some things in life you just can’t predict, as Wendy and her mom soon found out.
An award-winning novelist with over five million books in print, Jane Porter’s latest works of fiction are THE GOOD WOMAN and THE GOOD DAUGHTER (which releases on February 5th), the first two installments in her Brennan Sisters series. As a child, Jane read books because it slowed time for her and filled her head with countless pictures and powerful emotions. So it’s no surprise that unwrapping books was the one activity she anticipated the most as soon as she woke up on Christmas morning.
Max Allan Collins is the bestselling author of the graphic novel ROAD TO PERDITION, the basis for the hit film starring Tom Hanks, and has won two Shamus Awards for his Nathan Heller mysteries, the latest of which is TARGET LANCER. Here, Max recalls the struggles he endured during the early days of his writing career and the two events occuring in consecutive years on December 24th that changed his life.