Sunday, December 11, 2011

Blog Tour - Guest Post: The Truth About The Holidays

Katherine Russell is on tour again with her novel, Deed So.  The first time around, I participated in the tour with a review of her novel.  To read it, you can click here.

For this tour, I've decided to post a guest post, by the author, entitled The Truth About The Holidays. So, sit back and enjoy a few words by Deed So's author, Katherine Russell.

The Truth About The Holidays:

I am almost done with my Christmas shopping and shipping, so I can take a deep breath and relax. Now that the pressure is off, I'll start to enjoy the season. Part of that enjoyment is remembering past holidays. I smile as I recall following my parents out into the woods as they decided which tree to chop down and drag home. My father was a pine man and my mother was a cedar maven, so sometimes there were arguments. I didn't much care which one they picked as long as I got to pitch the tinsel. Do we still have tinsel? Or has it become an environmental no-no?

I set my novel, Deed So, in the early Sixties of my childhood. My main character, Haddie Bashford, is a little younger and a lot braver, but the setting is the small town America of bake sales and school car wash fund raisers I experienced. The story unfolds from the start of the school year through the following Easter, and includes Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas as the plot accelerates. I think I am a bit of a holiday junkie, and it comes through in my writing. Oops, I forgot to mention Veteran's Day and Valentine's Day. Fact is, though, holidays are useful tools for exploring characters and revealing emotions and conflicts. (See prickly pine needle controversy emerging above.)

I know not everyone was blessed with a happy childhood, but I certainly was, and although we had our share of sadness and tragedies, I look back on my preteen days with appreciation and thankfulness. Of course, the Sixties were not perfect, and that is what Deed So is about. I use the peaceful community as a template for introducing the civil rights struggle, women's rights issues and the Vietnam War to explore how these movements changed individual lives in big and small ways. We see these emerging national conflicts through the eyes of a girl entering her teens. Haddie watches and grows as the larger issues affect the adults and other young people in her close knit community.

But Deed So is not a textbook history lesson; it is a story of a community navigating through difficult transitions and confronting its own baggage of long-buried secrets, misplaced allegiances and cherished assumptions.

Deed So also contains love stories, both happy and sad. You can't write a book about the generation that embraced Teen Angel without including romance. The book also has a ghost, or a ghost story, depending on your views regarding ectoplasm.

Deed So is about recognizing what endures, what is true. I think that is why I wrote a story that weaves in and out of a calendar of celebrations and observances. At their core, holidays reminds us of what really matters, and it isn't the presents, the candy or the musical cards. They are about love, loyalty, care and connectedness, now, back then, and forever.

Katharine A. Russell

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