Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Patricia Kiyono, The Christmas Phoenix

AUTHOR: Patricia Kiyono           
BOOK TITLE: The Christmas Phoenix
PUBLISHER: Astraea Press
Astraea Press: http://bit.ly/KXZ86Y
WHAT IS IT?: one PDF of The Christmas Phoenix and one Christmas stocking with a signed postcard.
HOW IS THE WINNER TO BE CHOSEN?: Patricia will choose two commenters through random.org (commenters would need to leave an email address)
WHO WILL DELIVER THE PRIZE TO WINNER?: Patricia will email the PDF and mail the stocking.

Tell me a little about your book.
Tate is a widow and mother of a teenage son. She works full time as a waitress and runs the snowplow/lawn care business her husband started. Her son doesn't help, and she's exhausted, especially now that winter has arrived and she's up early plowing the streets in their northern Michigan town.

Jake Thompson is an army veteran and an accomplished ice sculptor who's come to Michigan to heal from physical as well as emotional wounds. He wants to be alone, but a feisty redhead and her son keep popping into his life.

By helping each other, they both find healing and happiness.

What gave you the idea for this particular story?
I associate Christmas with snowy weather. And here in Michigan, the more it snows, the busier our snowplows are. I thought it would be interesting to have a woman driving the snowplow. And along with snow, we have ice, so I thought ice sculpting would be a nice vocation for the hero.

Is there anything in your story based upon a real life event? If so, tell me about it.
Nothing in the story is based on my life, other than the fact that I've always worked, and when you're a working mom you have two full time jobs. So I can relate to Jess' exhaustion. Fortunately, my husband likes to cook, just like Jake!

Why did you choose to write a story with a Christmas theme?            
Astraea Press published my first novella, The Legacy, in July 2011. Soon afterward I found out they were looking for holiday themed novellas, so I started brainstorming ideas until I found one that worked for me.

Do you see special challenges to marketing a book with a seasonal theme?  If so, what are they?
I suppose the biggest problem is the limited time people will be interested in a holiday story. Not many people are thinking about Christmas in spring and summer. I'm hoping this Christmas in July event will change that!

How long before Christmas did you submit to your publisher?
I submitted The Christmas Phoenix on November 15, 2011. I remember, because it was the absolute deadline owner Stephanie Griffin gave for submitting Christmas novellas. I was shocked when the editors and others at Astraea Press were able to get the story out by Black Friday, only a week and a half later!

How and why did you choose this publisher?
I had such a great publishing experience with Astraea Press that with subsequent projects I never considered submitting anywhere else.

What about your book makes it special?
I think The Christmas Phoenix is unique because its main characters both have occupations I don't often read about. It also takes place in my home state, which I believe is special in its beauty.

What does Christmas mean to you?
Christmas is definitely a time to remember the birth of our Savior, and celebrate his gifts by giving to others. It's a time for families to be together. I grew up celebrating holidays with only my nuclear family because all my relatives live in Japan. Now I enjoy having my children and grandchildren around me, although we have a daughter who has to split her time between us and her husband's family in another state.

What is your favorite Christmas memory?
My favorite Christmas memory was coming home from college for Christmas vacation and finding out my cousin was coming to visit. International travel wasn't as easy back then, so we had only seen her once before. She was attending college in LosAngeles and decided to come and stay with us for the Christmas holiday. What a treat!

What was your favorite stocking stuffer?
My favorite stocking stuffers were always things I could use, like pens and notebooks. Jewelry and candy were okay, but the notebooks became journals, and I was never without a pen or pencil.

What was your favorite Christmas present?
I remember when I first got a little loom for making potholders out of those stretchy loops. I spent hours making potholders for mom, grandma, and anyone else who cooked. It sparked a lifetime of enjoyment with crafts of all kinds.

Where can people learn more about you and your work?

Excerpt from The Christmas Phoenix:

She found "old Ben's" house, which thankfully had a short, straight drive. She plowed, left a bill in the mailbox, then made her way back home.
Rory was on his way out the door when she pulled in her driveway. She held her hand out to him, and he grimaced but gave her his backpack to check. It was nearly empty.
"Where are your books?"
"Didn't have any."
"You had your math book when you came home last night."
"Oh yeah."
"Get it. Did you do your work?"
"I don't know."
She sighed. He was going to miss the bus again.
They found the book under his desk. Sure enough, he hadn't done his work. Jess got him some notebook paper and sat him down at the kitchen table to finish his assignment while she made his lunch and changed clothes for her day job.
They packed up, loaded into the truck and got to the school building with two minutes to spare. Like a good, invisible mom, she dropped him off on the opposite side of the street and refrained from giving him a goodbye kiss.
She drove on to her waitressing job, feeling like she had already put in a full day. Things had to get better, soon.


  1. Oh, I had one of those little looms, too! I enjoyed making potholders but sadly, my other craft skills failed to materialize!

  2. Great interview Patty! Your book is on my TBR pile.

  3. You're right, Michigan really does have a special beauty, even if we get tired of all the snow. :D

  4. This is a great book. (I have it so don't include me in the give-away.) It's such a heartwarming story. I'm sure others will enjoy it, too.

  5. Thanks, Penny for the feature, and thanks Cheryl, Lisa, Jen, and Diane for stopping by!

  6. Chiming in late, Patty. Very nice interview. I agree with Diane - your story is heartwarming. I loved THE LEGACY, too.

  7. I'm even later than Loralee. Sounds like another great read. I have your first downloaded, but it's still on my TBR list.

  8. Thanks, everyone, for the lovely comments! I've decided to award two copies of the Christmas Phoenix, and they go to Cheryl and Jennifer! Loralee gets the Christmas stocking. Happy Holidays!

  9. Patricia, thank you for your generous offer. I'm sure the gals will be thrilled. Congratulations to the winners!

  10. This is such a heartwarming book. I thoroughly enjoyed.