Thoughts on the wild, the weird, and the romantic from author Joy Nash

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Joy Nash is a USA Today Bestselling Author and RITA Award Finalist applauded by Booklist for her "tart wit, superbly crafted characters, and sexy, magic-steeped plots."

» Friday, November 16, 2007

Author Interview - Donna Birdsell

This Friday it's my huge pleasure to introduce one of my favorite authors, Donna Birdsell. I'm very lucky because Donna is my critique partner, so I get to read all her great stories before anyone else does J Donna also has my undying gratitude for all the times she's steered me back on track when my own stories started going off on tangents.

Donna's written three wonderful historical romances for Berkley Sensation, about eighteenth century spies in Britain and France, the most recent of which is Wolf's Temptation. Lately, she's been writing humorous women's fiction for Harlequin NEXT. Suburban Secrets and Madam of the House were both books that had me giggling while I turned the pages.

This holiday season, Donna and two other talented authors get together in the Harlequin NEXT anthology Christmas Presence: Three Tales of Love (ISBN# 0-373-88147-9).

Romantic Times BOOKReviews compared these stories to hot chocolate – comforting and delicious, The perfect book to buy for a holiday gift for someone special – or as a gift to yourself!

The anthology consists of three novellas: Christmas Presence by Donna Birdsell, Secret Santa by Lisa Childs, and You're All I Want For Christmas by Susan Crosby. Christmas Presence will hit bookstores on December 4th

And now, an interview with Donna…

JC: Donna, tell us about your title story in the Christmas Presence anthology.

Donna Birdsell: “Christmas Presence” is about a young widow who wants to boycott Christmas, but her husband’s ghost won’t let her. Before she knows it, she’s baking cookies, putting up a tree, and working at a wrapping booth in the mall.

JC: The holidays are fun, but stressful. Do you find that you love this time of year, or do you dread all the rushing around?

Donna Birdsell: I love the holiday season, even though it gets more and more hectic each year. Every year I say I’m going to take it down a notch, not expect so much of myself, but it never happens. When I was pregnant, I remember standing in the kitchen having a breakdown because I had baked something like eleven dozen gingerbread cookies and they were cooling on every inch of every surface. Nobody I know even likes gingerbread.

JC: Um…I like gingerbread, Donna. If you get the urge to bake some, definitely give me a call and I'll come right over and take it off your hands! Christmas now is a lot different than when we were kids. What childhood holiday memory stands out the most in your mind today?

Donna Birdsell: The moments I remember most are those that involve food. Cookies, turkeys, stuffing, candy canes. If I ate it, I remember it.

JC: LOL. I can relate to that. What's the most perfect Christmas present you ever bought? Who'd you give it to?

Donna Birdsell: The most perfect Christmas present I ever bought? That’s a tough o

ne. I think I’m a pretty good present-giver, because I’m a good listener, and people usually tell you what they want or need in a roundabout way. But probably the best one was one I gave to myself. A massage at a swanky spa, which I definitely needed when the holidays were over! I think women should always give themselves a great gift every year.

JC: Yeah, and if you're like me, that gift includes chocolate! When do you want to go shopping?

Donna Birdsell: How about tomorrow?

JC: Last question - do you have a favorite holiday recipe to share?

Donna Birdsell: Yes, I have a cookie recipe that was my grandmother's. I really looked forward to decorating these with her each year, and then dipping them in hot chocolate. Yum!

Grandma’s Cutout Cookies
2 C sugar
1 C butter, softened
3 eggs
1 tsp. baking soda, dissolved in vinegar
1 tsp. salt
3 C flour (more if necessary)
1 tsp. vanilla
1 egg yolk, beaten
Colored sugar

Cream butter, sugar, vanilla and 3 whole eggs. Add baking soda. Combine flour and salt. Add to butter mixture. Add more flour, little by little, as necessary to form a soft but not-too-sticky dough. *****Wrap in plastic and refrigerate 2 hours or overnight*****

Roll to 1/8” and cut out with cookie cutters. Place on ungreased cookie sheet. Paint small swish of egg yolk on center of cookie, then sprinkle with colored sugar.

Bake at 350 degrees for 7 to 10 minutes, until slightly brown on edges.

JC: Thanks, Donna! Maybe I'll be able to stop writing long enough to try out that recipe! And I'll be looking for Christmas Presence: Three Tales of Love at the bookstore on December 4th.

Happy Reading and Happy Turkey Day, everyone!



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