Monday, September 1, 2008

The Santa Letters - by Stacy Gooch Anderson

by Shirley Bahlmann
Think, “P.S. I Love You,” condensed to twelve days, with snow, and four kids thrown in.
In a style reminiscent of “The Christmas Box,” Anderson tells a tale of recovery from the loss of a beloved family member. Through a mysterious series of letters and gifts, a widow and her children experience hope where before there was loneliness.
Although this book could have benefited from another edit, it is a Christmas story with a valid message. Even though I found the Santa letters longer than my children would ever sit and listen to, my eyes prickled when I read the tender part about Trevor’s mother.
Too many of the characters had a similar “voice,” with the notable exception of Walter, yet I felt my heart thump with satisfaction when the final gift was opened.
My favorite line is: “…regular old super hero with extra skinny legs.”
This book has a beautiful cover and an overall good message to remind people what is really important all year long.

Shirley: Stacy, thank you for meeting me at the North Pole. What's
that on your feet? Galoshes? What were you thinking, girl? Go skin a
polar bear and make some real boots! Are you sure you're warm enough?
Stacy: Oh Shirley,....have you seen these thighs? There is plenty of insulation for the two of us!...;-)
Shirley: Ho, ho, ho! What is your favorite holiday?
Stacy: Christmas by far. Tinsel, twinkle lights, family, gingerbread, happiness everywhere,'s all just so delicious! A close second would be the 4th of July though since the neighbors don't rat us out when we use the water balloon launcher on a few of the more cranky ones down the street.
Shirley: Whew, that was close. I was scared you might say the 4th of July FIRST, then it would be so ironic that your book is about Christmas. Was getting your first book published like, well, Christmas?
Stacy: Don't know how to answer that one. I'm still kind of uncomfortable with the notoriety that has come with it since I don't really feel it is my story. It's about the Savior and the important gifts He brings into each of our lives. It's a good story but it's just one I was blessed enough to be a part of.
Shirley: That's a very touching outlook. What gave you the idea for writing the Santa Letters?
Stacy: A few years back, I found out that two of my sons had been in a sexually abusive situation. And since some of the perpetrators had been wards of the state, there was a lot of pressure for us to back off. At one point, I had so much anger for what DCFS had put us through that I almost let it destroy me. But this wonderful little voice reminded me of all the things my parents had taught me and insisted that if I wanted to raise sons with integrity, love, compassion and forgiving hearts, I had to learn to do that myself and be an example. Since there was no money for Christmas - it all had gone to legal and counseling bills - I came upon the idea of the Santa Letters as a way to help our family heal and remember all the gifts we had been given throughout the years. I never intended our experience to become a book but I had a friend who when she found out what we'd been doing, she encouraged and challenged me to share it with others.
Shirley: Wow, Stacy. What a great example of making lemonade out of exceptionally bitter lemons. Um. Not to change the subject, but there's a reindeer behind you. He's not smiling.
Stacy: (Looks over her shoulder and then back to Shirley) Oh yeah, that would be Blitzen. He's still mad at me for eating the last bowl of Cheerios - it's heart healthy you know....He loves his oats in any form!
Shirley: (To Blitzen) No Cheerios here! Go look in your feed box! Oh, good, there he goes. (To Stacy) Do you have any other book ideas, say, with reindeer? Or maybe tropical islands? Yes, reindeer can wear hula skirts. I don't
know if they can actually hula, but they can wear grass skirts... for a little while... before they eat them.
Stacy: I was thinking more penguins in puka shells.....And reindeer do hula dance. I saw them swishin' and swayin' once while Santa was playing Blue Hawaii on his ukulele. Oh, and there is the companion book to The Santa Letters that I am currently working on. No animals (other than the thugs in jail) but this one picks up with Guillermo's story.
Shirley: That sounds great! I thought they way you worked Guillermo in was a great twist in reader perspective. Hey, look at that guy over there. That's not the big guy, is it? (Eyes growing wider) It is, it is! Awww, how sweet, he's carrying a pot of hot chocolate toward us! Do you like hot chocolate?
Stacy: Love it! Especially with a hint of mint or amaretto and whipped cream on top. If he's going anywhere near the reindeer though, we may have to settle for a bowl of chicken soup....
Shirley: That's strange. I thought he had a white beard. Oh, I see.
He's moonlighting as a hot chocolate taste tester. Well, looky there.
I never knew reindeer liked hot chocolate. Now they're all smiling. I
guess it's snow cones for you and me, Stace. What do you say? It's been fun talking to you, but now that it's time to go, I'll race you home on a sled!

· Hardcover: 190 pages
· Publisher: Sweetwater Books (July 8, 2008)
· Language: English
· ISBN-10: 1599551454
· ISBN-13: 978-1599551456
· Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 6 x 0.9 inches
· Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
· Average Customer Review:

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Jewel's Gems said...

I love this book, too. It's now my Christmas favorite:o)

Tristi Pinkston said...

What a fun interview! Thanks, Shirley!

Stacy G. Anderson said...


It's just as much fun the second time around! Thanks for being a part of the tour. I look forward to reading more from you.


Unknown said...

Fun interview (as always). I'm going to shamelessly borrow Stacy's answer to one of your questions. Of course I will give you full credit and a link back to your interview. I hope that's okay...

Shirley Bahlmann said...

Of course it's okay, Jaime! Use away. Stacy's a fun one to talk to, that's for sure.

Framed said...

I loved the interview. It was good to learn more about the background for this really good book. The visit to Trevor's mom was my favorite part.

Besides the Bathroom...

When Carolyn and I were on the road, I stopped for gas and she went into the gas station to use the bathroom. After I filled the car, I went...