Tuesday, December 17, 2013

MaryAnn Diorio, A Christmas Homecoming, plus #giveaway

MaryAnn Diorio

A Christmas Homecoming

Harbourlight Books, a Division of the Pelican Book Group



A free print copy of my book.

The winner will be asked to answer the request below.  Ms. Diorio will then choose what she considers the best answer.

In a single sentence, explain what forgiveness means to you.

Ms. Diorio will mail it to the mailing address the winner gives her.

Tell me a little about your book.
When Sonia Pettit’s teenage daughter suddenly disappears for seven long years, Sonia faces losing her mind, her husband, and her son as she struggles to forgive her wayward daughter and trust God for her return.

What gave you the idea for this particular story?
The seed of the story came from my cousin’s decision several years ago to leave home and sever all ties with her family, causing her parents and sister much pain.  I wanted to explore the emotions both a mother and a daughter would feel in such a situation. I also wanted to show that while unforgiveness enslaves, forgiveness can heal a broken relationship.

Is there anything in your story based upon a real life event? If so, tell me about it.
During my own life, I have had to forgive people who have hurt me, and I have had to ask forgiveness of people whom I have hurt. So I understand the dynamics of forgiveness and unforgiveness. The plot of my story, however, is not based on anything I have personally experienced in my own life with my own daughters.  My daughters and I have great relationships.  I do, however, as I mentioned above, have a cousin who deliberately left home many years ago and chose never to return, and I did see the heartache her parents and sister have endured.

Why did you choose to write a story with a Christmas or winter theme?
Christmas is all about forgiveness.  At Christmas we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. Jesus came to earth to forgive us and to give us eternal life. When we accept Him as our Savior, we accept His gift of forgiveness. When we accept His gift of forgiveness, we receive everlasting life.

Do you see special challenges to marketing a book with a seasonal theme?  If so, what are they?
Yes. Seasonal books come with special challenges that need to be addressed in marketing them. Here are a couple of them:

1)    To optimize sales, seasonal books must be marketed during a narrow window of time that leads up to the occasion. Marketing too soon or too late could seriously affect sales.

2)    After the occasion, sales will plummet because the public becomes focused on the next season. So marketing a seasonal book off season requires unique strategies.  For example, since my book is set at Christmastime, I held a “Christmas in July” marketing event to generate interest in my book.  I used my book’s theme of forgiveness to show that while my story takes place during the Christmas season, my book’s theme of forgiveness is for every season.

3)    Seasonal books often have a theme that goes beyond the season. For example, the theme of my Christmas story is forgiveness. Tapping into this theme to market your book changes the focus from the season to the timeless message of the story.

How long before December did you submit to your publisher?
About eight months.

How and why did you choose this publisher?
My agent submitted to this publisher because he thought my book would be suited to their line and would meet their need for Christmas-themed stories.

What about your book makes it special?
The fact that it was written by me.   And I say that not in an arrogant sense but in the sense that every writer is unique in her style, in her voice, and in the worldview she brings to her stories.  I bring to my book a unique writing style that, I hope, is entertaining; a unique voice that is, I hope, engaging; and a minority worldview that is, I hope, thought-provoking, hopeful, and encouraging.

What does Christmas and/or winter mean to you?
To me Christmas is a reminder of the depth of God’s love for all humanity.  In sending His Son Jesus Christ to endure the penalty for our sins, God confirmed our great worth in His sight.

What is your favorite Christmas or winter memory?
My favorite Christmas memory is that of gathering with all of my brothers and sisters at my parents’ home on Christmas Eve to celebrate the traditional, Italian seven-fish dinner and to open gifts amid lots of laughter after dinner.

What was your favorite stocking stuffer?
A package of Reese’s peanut butter cups.  My favorite! 

What was your favorite Christmas present?
A sculpture of two hands—one a man’s and one a woman’s—that my husband gave me.  The man is placing a wedding ring on the woman’s finger.  It is beautiful and a treasured symbol of my husband’s and my deep love for each other.

Where can people learn more about you and your work?
The best place to learn more about me and my writing is at my website at www.maryanndiorio.com.

Excerpt from A CHRISTMAS HOMECOMING by MaryAnn Diorio:

A broken heart. Could someone really die of a broken heart? If so, why was she still alive? Could anyone’s heart be more broken than her own? She, the one who’d carried Jody in her womb for nine months. Who’d endured the excruciating pains of childbirth? Who’d given up her own dreams to ensure that her daughter could fulfill her own?
            She picked up an ornament from the storage box. Across the heart-shaped gold surface were engraved the words Love Never Fails. A gift from her women’s Bible study group. She hung it carefully on the tree, in a prominent place where she would be reminded of its message. God knew she would need it in the lonely days ahead.


  1. Thank you so very much, Penny, for your kindness in featuring my book. Merry Christmas to you and your readers!



  2. Nice interview! I used to love Reese's--until I had to go off chocolate. Sigh.

  3. Hi, MaryAnn. Nice interview. The book sounds interesting.