For today’s Sunday Dinner, I invited Amy Anguish to talk about her latest novel, Mama Dated Santa. Amy Anguish writes Christian Romance where the characters long for ‘home,’ learn love isn’t just a feeling, and find out happily ever after doesn’t always come where expected.
Sunday Dinner is a traditional (noon) meal served after church on Sundays. Whole families, including extended family, would gather over a large meal to celebrate a day of rest. Multiple cultures enjoy this Sunday Dinner tradition. In my experience, I know it from both my Midwestern farm family as well as my Italian-American family. Now, I’d like to bring Sunday Dinner virtually to you. So, pull up a chair as we invite various guests to join us each week!
Without further ado, please tell us something interesting readers would enjoy learning about you.
When I’m not reading or writing (or working), I also love to garden and sew and craft. I don’t have as much time for those things as I used to, but they still bring me joy.
Can you tell us about your latest novel?
Mama Dated Santa
Seems Santa has a bit of Christmas magic … and romance … up his sleeve.
Trudy McNamara doesn’t do Christmas anymore. But she will do anything for her nephew Mark, even take him to visit Santa. After Dad died and the holiday bucket lists stopped, December hasn’t been the same. But Trudy finds herself tangled up with the toy store Santa and Christmas when she discovers her mom … dated Santa.
Nick Russo, manager of Russos’ Toy Emporium, is at a loss as to how to save his family’s store. When Uncle Paul, the Santa and part-owner, hires Trudy to revamp their store, Nick’s life turns upside down. He’s been so focused on the numbers, the Christmas season has become nothing more than one last drive for sales. But Trudy makes him re-evaluate his attitude as well as want to help hers.
Can two holiday-haters renew their love of the season … and more?
Why did you choose to write a Christmas story set in Temple, Texas?
I originally set it in Waco, because I’ve been there and I love how the downtown area is being revamped and freshened up. Thing is, I needed the town to be a little smaller, so I moved it south a bit to another town I’ve been to quite often … because my aunt lives there. It holds so many fond memories for me, so it seemed fitting to set a story full of fond Christmas memories.
Your title is Mama Dated Santa, is there a story behind the title?
There is! We lost my mother-in-law six years ago, and the first Christmas after she passed, we attended a Santa breakfast. The gentleman playing Santa recognized our name and sent his hello to my father-in-law, saying he knew them in college. My father-in-law laughed and said, “Yes. He actually dated your mom.” I looked at my husband and said, “Your mom dated Santa!” And I knew I needed to write a book with that title.
What research was required to write a book about Santa?
I honestly did more research on other things in the book. Santa, I feel like I already know pretty well. Ha!
I DID research paint sessions because my characters end up going to one together. That was fun to research and write.
What does a day in the life of one of your characters look like?
Nick Russo is the manager for Russos’ Toy Emporium. He’s super busy this time of year, making sure all is in place for the upcoming holidays, trying to get numbers to add up where he doesn’t have to worry about finances, and scratching his head to figure out what in the world he can do differently to market their store. He rarely leaves from open to close. And he’s often seen walking around with a clipboard, not paying enough attention to the world around him.
Were resources easy or difficult to find on these topics? Do you have a favorite resource?
Sadly, my favorite resource is probably Google. Since I write contemporary romance, I don’t have to dig too far to find what I need. I also love using Pinterest. There, if I find something helpful or something that is a part of the novel, I can save it to my board for that book and then readers and I can all have a better picture of what was going on in my mind while writing.
What is one piece of your research that you couldn’t include in the book, but wish readers could know?
I actually don’t think there’s anything I researched that didn’t make it in the book. I mostly only research when I’m writing and stumble across something I need to know about right then.
Do you have another book in the works? What can you tell us about that book?
I have a book releasing next March called For Better or for Granted. It’s about a married couple on the brink of divorce whose family and friends won’t let them go there. After that, I’ll have a couple novella collections. But I’m gearing up to write a modern-day Cinderella retelling this November during Nanowrimo and am pretty stoked about all the ideas in my head right now.
Is there anything else you’d like readers to know?
When I first started writing, I didn’t want to do a Christmas story because I felt it was too niche. Look at me now! I definitely had a lot of fun with this one and hope my readers enjoy it.
The afternoon is slipping away, so we have to draw the stories to an end. Amy, thank you for joining us today!
If readers would like to purchase a copy of Mama Dated Santa, where might they be able to do so?
If readers would like to learn about you or your other books, how might they find you online?
Over Sunday Dinner next week Anne Perreault will be joining us to talk about her latest novel.