I’m delighted to host my friend and agency mate Camille Eide. Her Christmas novella, Savanna’s Gift, was released by White Rose Publishing on December 3. Set in the heart of Oregon’s Cascades, it’s a story sure to put you in the Christmas mood with the glow of twinkly lights, snow, cinnamon, evergreens, and an unexpected second chance at love.
Camille writes contemporary romance and romantic women’s fiction. She lives in Oregon with her husband and is mom to three brilliant college-age kids. She’s grateful for the amazing grace of God, and either in spite of or thanks to that grace, she has a Ph.D. in Learning Stuff the Hard Way. She’s a church secretary, a bassist, and a passably devoted fan of classic rock, muscle cars, and Jane Austen.
Look for your chance to win a copy of Savanna’s Gift at the end of the post.
I see that you’re a fan of muscle cars. Do you own one? If so, please tell us about it. If not, which one(s) would you buy if money were no object?
I don’t. I do own a Harley though, if that counts.
So many choices, but my favorite is the Mustang. New one or a classic, I’d take either. Or a ’63 Corvette convertible. That was a very good year. 🙂
You’re a bass guitarist, which is way cool, and are a classic rock fan. Who are your favorite artists, and which of their songs do you most enjoy playing?
Well, Keli, just between us, I’m more of a nostalgic fan of old school rock these days. Growing up, I was always a big-time fan of Southern Rock (Lynyrd Skynyrd, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Bad Company, Eagles, ZZ Top, etc,) plus the Beatles, Clapton, Fleetwood Mac, and of course Aerosmith, Kansas, & pretty much all the great 70s bands. But the truth is, it’s more the guitars & musical style than the lyrics that do it for me.
So as a gentler (Spirit-conscious) old-timer, I’ve discovered a love of Third Day, Jars of Clay, Plumb, NeedToBreath & others in Christian music. And they let me play bass on the worship team, as long as I don’t do anything crazy like slip in a little SRV walk-down when no one’s looking. 🙂
You wrote a Christmas story complete with all the trimmings: decorations, sweets, and romance. What are some of your favorite Christmas traditions?
Since our kids were little (now 20, 24 & 26) we’ve always attended a candlelight service on Christmas Eve, and then go driving around to look at Christmas lights. Baking Christmas goodies for my kids, our neighbors & friends is another long-time tradition, one I found out recently that I was not allowed to alter. Not one crumb.
Writing demands more of my time now and my kids aren’t kids anymore, so last year I mentioned I would only bake one or two dozen cookies. No. That did not go over well. I found out that my young adult kids look forward to our special cookies every year. I didn’t grow up with any traditions, so I didn’t realize how important this tradition was to my kids. Or maybe it’s just about the sugar and the chocolate dipped cookie dough balls. Either way, I decided the tears weren’t worth it and have promised to keep the family in Christmas goodies again this year.
Your story takes place in a ski lodge amidst the breathtaking beauty of the Cascades. Did you use your writing as an excuse to take lots of trips to the slopes? If so, are you a bomb-downhill-at-breakneck-speeds skier, or do you prefer sipping hot chocolate in the lodge?
Umm…. No, I’ve actually never been skiing. The story is set at a fictionalized version of Timberline Lodge on Mount Hood (where some of The Shining was filmed!) and I live very near there. We’ve done some inner-tubing on the bunny hills there. Inner tubes and cocoa. Yeah, that’s about my speed.
And one writerly question because I can’t help myself. You’re in Randy Ingermanson’s Columbia River Christian Writers group. What’s it like to hang out with him, and how has he influenced you and your writing?
Randy rocks. I still can’t believe it’s just a handful of us hanging out with the Snowflake Guy in a little Barnes & Noble coffee shop once a month. We take turns reading sample pages and commenting, but Randy is of course the Final Word, so when we’ve finished our comments, we all wait for Randy to speak, breath held.
Randy takes his time to respond—anyone who’s spent time around him knows he’s no blurter. When he finally speaks, he is very deliberate in what he has to say. He tells us what he liked and what worked in the scene, what doesn’t work, and he explains why. Then he offers suggestions on how to fix it and often gets the group brainstorming for solutions. He is genuinely interested in each story, which still surprises me. The cool thing is we all benefit from hearing what he has to say about each sample. I keep telling Randy that he’s going to have to bring some sample pages of his own. We secretly think he’s afraid. 🙂
Randy has definitely influenced my writing in several ways, one of them by teaching me to pay particular attention to the structure, forward motion and overall viability of each scene. (As I’m writing a scene, I often hear Randy’s pesky voice saying, “Camille, what changed in this scene?” Writers, you know what I’m talking about…and you non-writers, it’s not as creepy as it sounds…).
On the larger scale, Randy’s workshops, his Advanced Fiction Writing Blog, his books, and his lectures have all been extremely instrumental in my basic understanding of fiction writing and my development as a writer. I owe him an exploding helicopter for all that. Actually, I did make a small reference to an exploding helicopter in my latest full-length novel, as a small tribute. 🙂
Oh, and I have to give him credit for nudging me to seek agent representation after a shared flight home from my first conference. I’ll never forget it. He offered to take a look at my writing on the plane to tell me what my chances were of ever being published. After a few pages, he put away his red pen, finished reading, handed it back and said, “Get an agent.” Then he took a nap. I was tempted to shake him awake and ask him to repeat that, but I didn’t. But If not for that encouragement, I probably wouldn’t have thought about approaching an agent for a long, long time, if ever. (Artists can be SO insecure . . .)
Camille’s Questions for You
Knowing how to use our God-given gifts can sometimes be confusing. But when we submit to the “Giver of Gifts,” He guides us and helps us in using those gifts.
Do you have a hard time accepting that you have talents or gifts? Or have you recognized you have a certain knack for something, but don’t know what to do with it? Or if you do recognize your God-given gifts, do you feel a responsibility to sharpen and develop them, and have you sought to find out how the Lord wants you to use them?
Learn about Savanna’s Gift
Stunned to discover Luke never left, but worked his way up from lift operator to manager, Savanna sees the opportunity as a gift from God. She’s determined to win Luke back. But Luke wants no reminders of his past hurt, or a relationship with the woman who put ambition before love.
Can Savanna convince Luke she’s changed and her interest isn’t because of his position? And when her dream job beckons, will she sacrifice her dream for a second chance at love?
Note: Savanna’s Gift is on sale at Amazon for just 99¢ during the month of December, so if you don’t win the drawing (below), you can get a copy of this digital release for yourself.
Win a Copy of Savanna’s Gift
To enter the drawing, leave a comment by Thursday, December 8th. Be sure to leave your email address when prompted so I can contact you if you win.
I’ll post the winner’s name here and in a comment on November 9th.
Congratulations to Cindy R. Wilson, winner of the drawing!