Enchanting Yuletide Q&A

Enchanting Yuletide: Questions and Answers

Although Hanukkah is over, and tonight marks the Winter Solstice, we still have Christmas and Kwanzaa to look forward to! Plenty of time to get in the holiday spirit by picking up the Enchanting Yuletide anthology featuring six lovely authors!

Questions&Answers

Barbara Lieberman
Barbara Lieberman is the author of fictional works including The Treasure of Ravenwood: A Fairy Tale, To Miss the Stars, The McEwen Series (including Message on the Wind and To Reap a Whirlwind), Ben’s Little Acorn, Why Does the Moon Follow Me? and Love in the Middle. She is also a contributing author in three anthologies: A Horde of Dragons, The Playlist, and Enchanting Yuletide. In addition, Barbara has offered her own experiences and advice in the non-fiction work The Unchained Spirit and the life guide based upon that book, Unchaining Your Spirit. Barbara is also a partner in Pipe and Thimble Bookstore and Publishing Company, with her daughter and partner Ellie Lieberman (an author in her own right, as well as being a talented artist/illustrator). Barb is also an avid artisan, often needle felting, painting, and gardening!

Q: “Winter is a time for telling stories to see us through the longest darkest nights of the year” This is such an amazing and brilliant line! Why do you think it is that stories with a bit more depth seem to be better suited for winter? A remnant of times where electronics weren’t available for entertainment in the early evenings? The coziness of having everyone at home and bundled together?
A: I do think that we have some ancestral memory of telling tales to entertain and educate through the dark, long winter nights. Oral storytelling is a winter tradition in many indigenous cultures, and one I think we all still connect with. Books, movies, videos… these are all storytelling as well, because we never stop longing for those connections. And, yes, there is an inherent coziness to winter storytelling, like it sweetens the night and warms you on the inside the way a cup of hot chocolate does.

Q: The theme of your story is the importance of love – between family and friends. Is this what you consider to be at the crux of holidays in general — the love bringing friends and family together rather than the specific religious rituals holidays can entail?
A: For me, yes, it is the gathering of loved ones, whether blood kin or heart kin. It is in the traditions (again, shared through storytelling) that we share and new ones we create. That love and those traditions are anchors that hold us safe through the rest of the year.

Q: Do you have a favorite Winter Holiday tradition? If so, could you share it with us?
A: My favorite tradition is made up of several… the setting up of the tree and the placement of that first precious star ornament that was on the trees my family had when I was growing up. The telling of each story associated with each subsequent ornament placed. New ornaments given each year. The sharing of those stories with new people in our lives. And, then, new pajamas when we hang our stockings on Christmas Eve. My parents live on in such moments, are there with us, as are distant friends and family. Even if there are just two of us there, the room is filled with the love of all we know.

Ellie Lieberman

Ellie Lieberman
A New Jersey transplant, Ellie Lieberman lives now in sunny Southern California. She works with the fairies on her handmade business, Acorn Tops, when not writing. An avid reader with a bedroom that looks like a mini library, Ellie is a lover of all things purple, basset hound, squirrel, and milk chocolate, with a slight fried rice obsession.
She is the author of two YA books, Society’s Foundlings and Solving for X, short stories in three anthologies, a children’s book, and the illustrator of a number of other children’s books, as well as being co-proprietor with her mother, who is an amazing author as well, of Pipe & Thimble, an indie-only bookstore.

Q: This was so wonderfully written and just completely heart wrenching! You perfectly encapsulated the disconnect between knowing with your head and knowing with your heart. Do you find it is possible to maintain a sense of wonder and innocence alongside a critical or rational mind?
A: Thank you so much. I’m so glad you enjoyed it. I want to say yes, it is possible to maintain a sense of wonder and innocence alongside a rational mind. I think that’s part of the beauty of being a writer or story teller. You reveal truth in a way that can seem like magic. Outside of the pen and paper, I think it’s difficult to achieve both keeping your feet on the ground and your head in the clouds, but balance is important. I think it, ultimately, goes back to the idea of root and wings. Stories, like those told through the ornaments offer a foundation, while the way it’s told allows for the magic of the moment to sweep you into the story itself.

Q: “Never underestimate the magic of a memory. A life full of great memories is a rich one. Even those that hurt so deeply have something worth remembering.” This is an incredible notion so heavy with meaning. It seems the older we get, the more our memories are tinged with loss as well as joy, and it is never felt stronger than during the holidays. Was this story written not just as a reminder to keep the wonder in your life as you grow older, but also as a way to reach out to those that do experience loss during the Winter Holiday season? That it is hard, but okay?
A: That’s really good! I like that! John Green always said books were a collaboration between authors and readers. This is where the reader takes over. I wish I could say it was my intention, but it was more about life in general for me while I was writing it, then specifically memories when we’re older or loss during the holidays.I am fortunate to be surrounded by three women, in particular, who along with a number of other strengths tend to find the light in the darkest moments.
When my mother talks about being in a wheel chair for eight years, one of the things she always mentions is how it brought us closer to our grandparents, how they were in our lives everyday because of it. My grandfather grew up with a father who was an alcoholic. His response was to be a better father to his own kids than his father ever was to him. There are lessons to be learned in every aspect of life.
And, there is also an aspect of loss, as you pointed out. I lost my grandparents when I was six. There are moments it still hurts to think they are not here. But, I’d rather have the hurt of feeling that loss, then chose to try to forget the happiness we shared and why that loss hurts the way it does.

Q: Do you have a favorite Winter Holiday tradition? If so, could you share it with us?
A: The holidays are so steeped in tradition for me, it is difficult to chose just one. I suppose after reading the story, it would come as no surprise that ornaments are probably one of my favorites. When each grandchild was born, my Pop-Pop gave my grandmother a “Baby’s First” ornament. Every year after, we received at least one ornament that had something to do with who we are, an achievement, an interest, a place we visited, etc. As my grandparents passed away, we inherited some of their ornaments, too. What we have now, is a tree very full of memories. As we decorate the tree up, we tell the stories behind each one. And, as our family grows, we include others in this tradition, as well.
My grandmom’s gold and red sparkly star, however, is always the first one on the tree and always front and center.

Raven Williams
A prolific writer, Raven began her career in 2010, first with a blog, next with non-fiction, then finally moving to fiction in 2014, when she began Elven-Jumper, the first book in the Realm Jumper Chronicles. Now, she has twelve stories published in that epic fantasy series with more planned, as well as two stories in a new series, Raven’s Twisted Classics, and a
standalone paranormal story, Witch Hunters’ Society.
When Raven is not writing, she is creating art in the form of jewelry pieces that tie into her stories, fractal designs, and abstract paintings. She is also a caregiver for a disabled family
member and two cats. She physically resides in the Northwest Florida Panhandle, but spends most of her time mentally in the Mystic Realms. Will you join her?

Q: Where did the inspiration for Raven’s Gate and Elven Brothers come from? (I’m presuming that this short might be an excerpt or prelude to one)
A: My first epic fantasy series is Realm Jumper Chronicles. In the process of writing that series, I found shorter stories popping up. Solstice Magic, my contribution to Enchanting Yuletide is one of those stories, telling the origins of the Ancient Witch Line I allude to in the Realm Jumper Chronicles novels as well as the subsequent dark paranormal story, Witch Hunters’ Society.
Raven’s Gate will eventually be a follow-up to Solstice Magic, following the first coven of witches as they continue their journey into magic. Events in both Solstice Magic and Raven’s Gate will tie into the Elven Brothers stories which follow Elwyndon and Elwyndyn, characters introduced in the Realm Jumper Chronicles, as they and the other Elves come to Earth from their home realm and spend quite a few years on Earth, before returning to their home realm of Paer-Jhysael.
As to when the Elven Brothers and Raven’s Gate stories will be written and released, I don’t know yet, as I’m currently hard at work on a new paranormal series, Demon Stones Saga, which follows the descendants of the Ancient Witch Line on another epic adventure.

Q: In your story, the religious rituals take on a greater sense of importance. Are holidays a time where one should make the concerted effort into observing traditions (be they religious or otherwise) they would otherwise be lax about in their daily lives?
A: In my fantasy stories, the Elves are quite consistent in observing the cycles of nature. They do this with simple rituals at various points in the year. For them, to not observe these sacred times is unheard of. When Valael took on the task of teaching the humans with magical abilities, she strove to ensure the humans also honor nature through these particular rituals.
However, as time goes on and the Elves return to their home world, the humans revamp the rituals and observances given to them by Valael, making them their own. Some continue to adhere to their spiritual practices diligently, while others become lax, and still others turn their back on the original teachings all together and embrace something much darker. The details of this will be shared in future stories.

Q: Do you have a favorite Winter Holiday tradition? If so, could you share it with us?
A: I love holiday lights. I love the twinkling colors. Even at times when I can’t or don’t decorate a tree, I will still put up lights. In fact, whenever possible, I’ll leave them up year-round. I also love evergreen-scented candles. There’s something about the scent of evergreen that really drives home the season. For me, it’s not Yule without evergreen scents.

About Lulu

Thirty-something year old educator based in New York, Lulu loves books, blogging, gaming, and her pom son Frodo Barkins with whom she shares her life. Book reviews specialize in all kinds of fantasy, some YA, some romance, and some contemporary, especially in the gothic genre.