From the back cover:
Ruthie says Millie will love Christmas. Ruthie is Millie’s best friend, so she’s sure Ruthie’s right, but why does Millie keep finding Ruthie and her brother Jake crying?
Millie, an orange kitten, shares about her first Christmas. Her best friend Ruthie, six years old, teaches Millie about Christmas—food, decorations, music, presents, and Jesus!
Millie’s friend Bruce, the family dog, also helps her celebrate Christmas, and sometimes gets her in trouble.
When Ruthie’s big brother Jake breaks his ankle, Millie learns about sad things, like divorce, when Jake can’t visit his mommy for Christmas. Millie watches Ruthie’s family love each other through the sadness, and find joy in Christmas.
The first page of the book:
Hello. My name is Millie, and I'm a cat. Well, my mama says I'm still a kitten. But I'm four months old. I think that makes me a pretty grown-up cat.
We live in a house where there are two cats, Mama and me. There’s one dog, Bruce. He’s my friend. And we have four people. The most important person is Ruthie. She's six years old, and she's my best friend. She says I'm her cat, but really she's my person.
Ruthie has a big brother named Jake who's nineteen. He's funny. Then there are their parents, Mommy and Daddy, and they're nice but very busy.
Ruthie says I'm beautiful. I'm orange all over, except a white spot on my tummy and one white ear. Bruce laughed at me once and said I looked goofy with that one white ear. What does he know? He's mostly brown all over, with a black patch above his nose, and he has white feet. Now that's goofy.
Something exciting happened today. Ruthie picked me up, squeezed me, and ran all over the house yelling, “It's Christmas time. It's Christmas time. Millie, you're going to love Christmas.”
“Meow, meow,” I yelled back. I didn't know what Christmas was, but Ruthie was excited, so I was too. “Meow.”
Ruthie kissed my face and whirled through the house, making me dizzy. “At Christmas we have lots of fun food, and candles, and decorations, and visiting, and candy.” She rubbed my ribs. “You’ll love it, Millie.”
I didn’t know what most of that stuff was, but it made Ruthie happy, so I knew it would be great.
Please tell us five random things we might not know about you.
My favorite vegetables are coffee and cocoa beans. Daisies are my favorite flowers. I am starting a new job as a braille certification teacher in a women’s prison. My favorite color is orange. When I was a teenager, I had a crush on Tony Orlando.
Why did you choose to write this book?
Several years ago, I learned about NaNoWriMo, a program where writers are encouraged to write a novel during the month of November. I didn’t feel ready for this, but I did want a project to keep me writing every day. By then it was December, and I decided to write a Christmas story. I am more of a pantser than a plotter, but usually I have a very basic outline of what will happen in the story. This time, however, I just sat down to write whatever came to mind. Before long, God had given me this fun family Christmas story. I believe people of all ages can enjoy Millie’s Christmas.
What one thing about writing do you wish non-writers would understand?
Readers should know what hard work a writer does, from working up an idea, writing, editing and re-editing, to publishing to marketing.
What is the toughest test you've faced as a writer?
The hardest thing for me has always been making myself sit down and write. Once I start, I love it. I am making slow progress in this discipline.
What do you hope readers to take away from your novel?
I want them to remember that the love and joy of Jesus will be with them during hard times.
What accomplishment(s) are you most proud of, writing-related or not?
I am most thankful for the gift God has given me of being mother to five wonderful children, now adults.
What do you do for fun when not writing?
I love to read, crochet and knit, cook and bake.
What are you working on now?
I am working on a story about a mother and her teenage daughter, and the mother is blind. I am blind, but I have never tried before to have a main character be blind. I’m finding it quite a writing challenge.
Bio and links:
Kathy McKinsey grew up on a pig farm in Missouri, and although she’s lived in cities for nearly 40 years, she still considers herself a farm girl.
She’s been married to Murray for 32 years, and they have five adult children.
She’s had two careers before writing—stay-at-home-Mom and rehabilitation teacher for the blind.
She lives in Lakewood, Ohio with her husband and two of her children. Besides writing, she enjoys activities with her church, editing for other writers, braille transcribing, crocheting, knitting, and playing with the cat and dog.