Thursday, November 19, 2009
An Angel on Main Street by Kathi Oram Peterson
Put another log on the fire and crank up the old phonograph with Frank Sinatra Christmas tunes (personally I have IL DIVO Christmas on as I blog today) and prepare yourself for a Christmas tale that's both warm and chilly at the same time.
Oh, and hot chocolate. you'll want hot chocolate.
Kathi Oram Peterson's charming An Angel on Main Street tells the story of Micah Connors, a boy coming of age as he struggles to stay on the straight and narrow to please his mother, be an attentive brother to his ill sister, and, also, the man of the house following the death of his father. All of these roles are challenged by his choices and the choices of others. And the snow and cold of a frigid Idaho winter. When a crude structure appears in the middle of town and parts of a nativity scene are added nightly in secret, this becomes Micah's focus. Can he save his sister and make everything right again by discovering the stable's secret before the baby Jesus appears?
Okay, I'm tearing up just reliving it. Gotta say, I love a good Christmas tale. Gracious Author Kathi consented to an interview. I hope she doesn't mind being KOP, you know, for Kathi Oram Peterson. I see it done in the AZ Republic and it makes me seem all professional-like. The ME is me cause I just wanna be me, okay? My comments are in brackets. [I'm a blogger, I can't help but comment.]
ME: You grew up in Idaho and you really nailed the setting for the book. Have you considered offering a coupon for hot chocolate with each book purchase? Maybe toss in a few marshmallows? Seriously, it was COLD in this book. I'm talking BITTER. I live in AZ, so yes, I’m pretty wimpy, but brrrrr… (There’s a question in there somewhere, maybe you can give me a comment about the setting and growing up in Rigby.)
KOP: Oh, I never thought of offering a coupon for hot chocolate, but for every book I sign I give a snowflake ornamant. [Okay, Kathi, adding cold to colder.] Yep it's cold in Idaho. There was one winter from November to March that it didn't get above freezing and most of the time it was below zero. We had to leave a small drip of water going in the bathroom to keep the pipes from freezing. Too late for the hot chocolate. How about instead people can enter my An Angel in Your Life contest where they write about an experience where someone was an angel in their life. Email it to me (firstname.lastname@example.org). The winner will receive a $25 gift certificate to either Seagull Book or Deseret Book and so will their angel. [Now that's definitely a hot deal!]
ME: Is this story based on a story from your family history?
KOP: I grew up in a small town in the fifties, so I knew what it was like. My father owned a store on Main Street and we lived in the apartment above, so I knew what that was like, too. My father worked part-time for the police department. And my mother had a heart attack while washing my hair for a dance recital. She nearly died. I remember how scared I was that I'd never see her again. I used all of those experiences to mold this story.
ME: What is the population of Rigby, Idaho? Has it changed at all over the last 50 years?
KOP: I'm not sure what the population was back then, but there are fewer people there now. They built a freeway that bypasses the town. In many ways it has more of a small town flavor to it now than it did in the fifties. Geez, fifty years ago makes me feel so old... [Sorry, didn't mean to reference the age thing.]
ME: I’m one of those people who loves a tender Christmas story and like to read at least one new one each holiday season. Are you? It must be a thrill to have your own published in this genre.
KOP: Oh I'm a sucker for a good Christmas story. I have several on my list. And to think I have a Christmas book on store shelves among them is very surreal. I went to a signing last Saturday and there was my book next to Glenn Beck's new picture book, The Christmas Sweater. Who would have thought? [That is cool. I must say, I read Beck's book last Christmas and his story's got nothing on yours. Though, I should have put on a sweater to read yours!]
ME: Give me one random sentence from your book, no context.
KOP: "If meat keeps disappearin' I'll have to fry up some of those alley cats you're so fond of." This is fun. How about a few more? "Annie Bananie, you've got to get better." AND "Snowflakes fluttered around me as my heart hammered against my ribs 'til I thought my chest would burst." [Whew, thanks! Three for the price of one! I do love that meat quote. Might look nice in vinyl lettering on my kitchen wall.]
ME: Kathi has also previously published a novel titled “The Forgotten Warrior.” Tell us about it.
KOP: The protagonist is a sixteen-year-old girl with a black belt in karate. She is going through a crisis in her life and just when she thinks it can't get worse she is thrown back in time to Helaman and the stripling warriors. She teaches the warriors a few karate moves and goes with them to battle against the mighty Lamanite army. There's a little romance, some battles (using the historic battles in the Book of Mormon) and a cliffhanger ending. I loved writing this book. There were days as I worked that the characters seemed to write the story without me. [Karate and romance with some stripling warriors. Kathi, please, you're killing me. I'll have to find that book.]
That's it folks, the fun is over. Thank you to my new author friend and illustrious interviewee for your time and for being accepting of my questions. I'm a little slow on the interview uptake and didn't get questions emailed till late last night.
Go to Kathi's website here for information on purchasing her book. As they say, it makes a great Christmas gift!
Endnote: Hot chocolate may not be enough. Get the book, then on the way home stop for a Snuggie. You know what I'm talking about. "Available now in hot new colors at retailers everywhere." --quote from actual TV commercial.