Monday, September 27, 2010

Anita Higman and Irene Brand's "Under the Mistletoe"

We're happy to have Anita Higman and Irene Brand with us today talking about their book, Under the MistletoeTo learn more about Anita and Irene and their book, read on!

Irene Brand and Anita Higman each have a Christmas novella in the new 2-in-1 compilation entitled, Love Finds You Under the Mistletoe. Also, both novellas are interconnected. Tell us about that process.

1. Was it difficult to connect your two stories?
Anita: Not at all. We had a brainstorming session by phone and by email and figured it out. Irene’s historical novella, An Appalachian Christmas is tied to my contemporary novella, Once Upon a Christmas Eve. They are connected through the passing of a mistletoe ball through the generations. It was a delight to work with Irene. She’s very easy to get along with. In fact, we’ve become long-distant friends.
It wasn’t difficult. Actually, this may have been the easier part of the writing project. After we’d each read the other’s manuscript, I provided Anita with the information necessary for continuity, and she did the same for me. It was easy to insert the other story line into my novella

2. Do you think you’d consider working on another project together?
Anita: Yes, in fact we’ve been chatting about working on another project together.
Irene: It would appeal to me. Although our writing styles aren’t the same, still the differences seem to improve the book.

3. How did you come up with the idea for your story?
Anita: My novels are more character driven, and so my characters tend to move the story along. The idea for Once Upon a Christmas Eve may have started with my interest in the fairy archetype. I loved the movies Cold Comfort Farm and Chocolat for that very reason. There was something enchanting about those two heroines as they whirled around, fixing people’s lives. I gave my main character, Holly Goodnight, some similar fanciful qualities.
Irene: My husband and I spent a few days in Owsley County, Kentucky, where my novella is located. After we met the local people, visited the site where the action would be, and learned about the local history, the story was easy to develop.

4. Out of your novellas, which characters are your favorites?
Anita: Beyond the heroine I loved Van Keaton, the author. He was flawed in a number of ways, but he had enough endearing qualities to make him loveable too. At least that is what I hope readers will feel.
Irene: The hero and heroine turned out to be great characters, but Granny, the hero’s grandmother was a lovable person – the kind of grandmother all of us would have liked. (I don’t remember either of my grandmothers.)

5. What did you want the reader to take away from your story?
Anita: That no matter how impossible circumstances look, God can work all things for good.
Irene: That even when a romance seems hopeless, true love can overcome any barrier.

6. What does a typical workday look like for you?
Anita: I’m usually up at 5:30 to have breakfast and a devotion time with my husband. Then I go up to my office, reply to emails, and start on my writing. I stop for lunch, run a few errands, and then to go back to work again. I don’t watch TV in the evening, but I do treat myself to a new movie or two on the weekends.
Irene: My husband and I get up at 5:45 each morning. While he shaves, I prepare breakfast. We also have a devotional period before we eat. We’ve used THE SECRET PLACE, our American Baptist devotional material, since we were married. We have a list of different people for whom we pray at each meal time. Weather permitting, we take a 2-mile walk after breakfast. I open my e-mail next, then read the Bible and have private devotions. The last 3 days of the week, I prepare to teach my Sunday School lessons. I write as much as possible, but the time spent on my writing depends upon what else needs to be done. I’m very active in the work of my church – choir, playing piano, women’s work and teaching a Sunday School lesson. Unless I’m on a deadline, I don’t write after 6:00 p.m.

7. Where do all your ideas come from?
Anita: Ideas flood in from everywhere—while I’m running errands, or chatting with a friend, or drifting off to sleep. I can barely keep up with the flow. I have to write them down to use later.
Irene: From reading research books or fiction. I get ideas from talking with others, or news items on television.

8. What are you reading right now?
Anita: I’m reading, A Circle of Quiet by Madeleine L’Engle.
Irene: I’m reading a Regency romance, one I’ve had on my shelves for a few years. First Season by Anne Baldwin

9. What are your five favorite things about Christmas?
Anita: The birth of Christ, of course. But then I love the music, the scents, the special foods, and family time together.
Irene: Local church activities, music, baking and visiting shut-ins with goodies, Christmas dinner with extended family, holiday movies on TV.

10. Where can readers find you online?
Anita: I would love for folks to drop by my website at

Thank you for inviting us to your blog? Irene and I hope your Christmas is filled with the love of Christ and all things bright and beautiful!


  1. Sounds like a great book! Thanks for the chance.

    nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

  2. I love all things Christmas and would be honored to win a copy of this book.


  3. I'd absolutely love to win this book.


  4. I'm glad to see another LFY Christmas book. I look forward to reading it.

    fictionfan1 [at] cox [dot] net

  5. This sounds great , I would love to win this book. I just recently added Irene to my list of authors when I read another book of hers last year .

  6. I love the "Love finds you" books. Please put me on for a chance to win. Thanks

    Linda Ortiz,

  7. I'd love to win this book.

    Subscribed via email


  8. You both sound so very! I love the Christmas topic in books. Please enter me!


  9. Thanks for dropping by K. Dawn's blog to read our interview. Irene and I had a good time writing Love Finds You Under the Mistletoe!

    Anita Higman

  10. Sounds like a sweet book :) Love the Christmas stories! Thank you for the opportunity to win a copy.


  11. Anita & Irene,
    What a wonderful idea for your stories...I have read books from both of you so I'm sure this book with both of you together is going to be great. I love the way you connected the stories using a christmas ball. I have a story that I'm working on that uses a christmas ornament to time travel...
    I can't wait to read your book...
    God Bless,


  12. thanks for the chance to read this novel :)

    kmkuka at yahoo dot com

  13. Thanks for the great interview and the chance to win!
    potosrose at gmail dot com

  14. Just saw this at my local Wal Mart. I added it to my list of books to check out for a Christmas read for my book clubs. It sounds delightful. Thanks for taking the time to do this interview!

    Amazed by Grace,

  15. I really like holiday books. Thanks.


  16. So glad to hear that our Christmas book made it to the Wal-Mart stores. I honestly didn't know that. Thanks for the info!

    Christmas hugs early!
    Anita Higman

  17. I appreciate the opportunity to have our book reviewed on this blog. Anita and I enjoyed working together, and we hope that we'll have a similar opportunity soon. You might like to know that Mistletoe, KY is a "real" place, but there isn't a "town" there nor has there ever been. It was an experience to research this book because the area is quite isolated. However, having lived in West Virginia all of my life, I'm accustomed to hills and "hollers," and bad roads. In fact, my description of the Mistletoe area could almost describe the area of our state where I grew up. I still live within 5 miles of my childhood home, but we're moderinized now!
    I appreciated the kind comments of those of you who've read my books, and hope that the winner will also enjoy Christmas in Mistletoe.
    Irene Brand

  18. I love to read Christmas stories. Thanks for the chance of entering my name for the book.


  19. I'm sure the authors in this interview would agree that K.Dawn has the most interesting interviews and giveaways possible. I agree with all the wonderful things about Christmas that Anita and Irene mentioned. The most wonderful time of the year and the title of the book definitely announces CHRISTMAS to me. I'd love to read it. Thank you for the giveaway, ladies and for the chance to win it. I hope I do!

    Sharing Faith,
    Barb Shelton
    barbjan10 at tx dot rr dot com

  20. Thank you for this wonderful reponse to the contest. I wanted to add that Irene and I created a free Christmas e-book. It's called Christmas--All Things Bright and Beautiful, and it's full of family memories, traditions, recipes, and cozy Christmas thoughts. It's free to view or download or email to a freind. You can find the free gift book at or Hope you enjoy it!
    Anita Higman

  21. Lovely cover! I'd love a chance to win this LFY Under the Mistletoe.
    I'm a subscriber.

  22. I absolutely love reading Christmas stories during the holidays!
    Thanks, Cindi

  23. I love Christmas stories and can't wait to read Under the Mistletoe. Pls add my name to drawing.

    misskallie2000 at yahoo dot com

  24. Announcing the Winners!

    Brandi and Barb S. are the two winners. Just email me your address. I'm at

    Hope you enjoy the book!
    Marry Christmas!
    Anita Higman