Melissa Ann Goodwin Launches The Christmas Village: Tour and Giveaway

Monday, November 07, 2011
Believe it or not we have officially entered the holiday season. As we plan our Thanksgiving menus (for those in the U.S.) and write our Christmas lists our thoughts turn to home and to the friends and family who make our lives complete.

WOW! is very happy to kick off your holidays with a modern day classic tale called The Christmas Village.

In this story, Jamie is having a difficult time because his father recently left and nothing feels right. While staying at his grandparent’s home for Christmas, Jamie’s attention keeps going to his grandmother’s miniature Christmas Village where everything seems so perfect. One night, Jamie is magically drawn into the little village, and he finds that things are not always as they seem. Can Jamie help his friends? Will he ever find his way home?

It’s a winter adventure for the child in each of us—but instead of telling you about it I want to show you!

I just love that book trailer!

The Christmas Village is available at Smashwords and at Amazon in print and for Kindle.

Paperback: 198 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace (October 2011)
ISBN-10: 1463646259
Hashtag: #TCVllg

Book Giveaway Contest: If you would like to win a copy of The Christmas Village, please leave a comment at the end of this post to be entered in a random drawing. The giveaway contest closes this Thursday, November 10th at 11:59 PM, PST. For an extra entry, link to this post on Twitter with the hashtag #TCVllg, then come back and leave us a link to your tweet. We will announce the winner in the comments section of this post on the following day Friday, November 11th. Good luck!

About the Author: The Christmas Village is Melissa Goodwin’s first novel, but Melissa has been writing for children for some time now in publications such as Fun for Kidz, Boys’ Quest and Hopscotch for Girls. In addition to writing for children’s publications, Melissa writes articles targeted at the opposite end of the age spectrum. She’s fun and friendly, she’s a restorative yoga instructor, and she’s married to an artist! I just can’t wait for you to meet her.

Stay in touch with Melissa at:

Melissa Ann Goodwin:
The Christmas Village:
Twitter: @GoodwinMelissa

--------Interview by Robyn Chausse

WOW: Hi Melissa, welcome to The Muffin! I think I mentioned to you that I read The Christmas Village twice in a row. To me, this book reads like a modern day classic--one of those books you turn to for comfort like an old friend. It portrays values such as family, community and thankfulness. What are your thoughts on these values in relation to society today?

Melissa: Your words are music to my ears, because what you describe is what I hoped for with this book. One of the things that was in my mind from the very start, was to (subtly) show not just the differences, but also the similarities between things that are going on today and what happened during the Depression. That’s why it’s 1932 in the Christmas village of Canterbury. Of course, there are many differences between now and then, especially the fast pace of life and the technology we use today. Yet, I think that when we go through hard times, we often discover that our values really haven’t changed all that much. We are reminded that in many ways, simpler can be better, we pitch in to help each other out, we remember to be grateful for our blessings. Many people are suffering these days, and I am always inspired by their courage and faith, and by the willingness of others to offer help.

The other thing that hasn’t changed is our need for human connection. In my fictional 1932 village, it’s easy to be connected to neighbors and friends--they are right there with you! Today, family and friends may be far-flung across the globe. But why do you suppose FaceBook and Skype are so popular? Because we need to feel connected. It’s not the same as being with loved ones, but the basic human need and desire is unchanged.

WOW: What do you like best about writing for children?

Melissa: It’s funny, because when I’m writing for children, I feel like I’m really writing for ME! Almost all my writing for kids has been targeted to the age 9 and up group, probably because I feel very connected to my 10-year-old self. Children in general have such open, generous hearts and minds. They are curious about and interested in everything! They have the wonderful ability to suspend disbelief. I especially like writing for kids in the 9 and up age group though, because they are such an interesting mixture of little kid and young adult. They may be interviewing for prep school, but still hugging their teddy bear at bedtime. They are keenly aware of what goes on in the world, and you don’t have to sugar-coat things too much. At the same time, they are still kids, and as a writer, I prefer to err more on the side of wanting to preserve innocence, because it’s gone soon enough.

WOW: I know yoga is a big part of your life; how has your yoga practice influenced your writing?

Melissa: Yoga has helped my writing in surprising ways. First, there’s the meditative aspect, which allows me to get centered before starting to write. What I’ll do is sit in comfortable chair, close my eyes and let all the distracting thoughts come and go, until my mind is relatively quiet. Then I start visualizing the scene where I left off in my story. I’ve had some really great ideas pop in during these quiet moments--ideas that completely surprised and delighted me.

The active, physical practice of yoga has also helped my writing, because it’s made me braver. I did my first forearm balance at the age of 54–something I never in my whole life imagined I’d be able to do. Yoga helps me go beyond my perceived physical limits, and that’s helped me go beyond my perceived limits as a writer too.

WOW: Tell us a little about your publishing experience; was it all you imagined?

Melissa: Actually, yes! I always knew I should be a writer, but until my mid-40s, most of my writing went on strictly inside my head. Yet, I had a deep belief that, if I really buckled down and devoted myself to it, I would have some degree of success. I also expected it to be frustrating; I expected roadblocks and lots of rejection.

When I finally started writing in earnest 10 years ago, I experienced it all: frustration and rejection, yes, but also fairly quick success. The very first thing I wrote was a story about my dad’s stroke, and I was surprised and delighted when it was accepted by Guideposts’ Angels on Earth.

I was drawn to writing for kids, so I sent stories, articles and poems to children’s magazines. At the opposite end of the spectrum, I wrote articles about caregiving because I worked for a non-profit that helped older adults and their caregivers. I had a good deal of success with both – not much money, but many pieces published. I also had plenty of rejection, but it didn’t hurt as much because I felt like I was making progress.

The Christmas Village took me three years to write. During that time, my parents were failing, so it was very stop-and-start. After my dad passed away, I felt ready to finish. I worked with passion to get it done by September 2010, sent out queries, and by year-end had offers of representation from two literary agents. The way I would sum up my experience is that it took 45 years for me to get cracking, but once I did, it seemed like things happened overnight.

WOW: Your book is published, you’ve been busy marketing it, and now you are embarking on a big adventure in an RV. How are you feeling about your life right now?

Melissa approx age 4 or 5, Andover
Melissa: I am feeling lighter than I’ve felt in a long time. The past six years, since both my parents became ill, have been long and hard and often sad. Dad passed away two years ago, and Mom just passed away in March. She had Alzheimer’s for 10 years. Life is bittersweet--there’s always the yin with the yang. But writing this book and seeing it find its way into the world is so fulfilling. I’m enjoying and savoring every minute of it. It’s bringing joy in unexpected ways too–I’m doing a book signing on the 12th at the bookstore in Andover, Massachusetts, where I grew up. People I haven’t seen in 40 years are excited about it and planning to come. It’s like this book is helping me make new friends and reconnect with old ones.

I’m VERY excited about our RV adventure! I look forward to having more free time to write. And, it will make it easier to see and spend time with family and friends all over the country. So these days, I’m focusing on living every moment in the present as much as possible and cherishing time with loved ones.

WOW: What’s next? Is there another book in the works?

Melissa: Yes! And I can’t wait to dive into it. It will be young adult, historical fiction, inspired by my mothers’ experience as a 14-year-old in England on the eve of World War II. I don’t know much about her actual experience, so it’s my way of imagining “what might have happened,” and of feeling close to her.

WOW: That’s a beautiful way to honor her. We will all be eagerly awaiting its release so be to keep us posted! 

Thank you, Melissa, for letting us get to know you and for being an inspiration to those of us over forty who are working towards that first publishing contract.

Melissa: Robyn, thank you so much for your wonderful questions and for giving me this chance to share my experiences with your followers; I look forward to their comments and questions, and to making even more new friends.

--------Blog Tour Dates

November 8 @ Meryl's Notes
Come by for a chat and a prize! Melissa shares her story on overcoming her fears about writing. Win a Print Copy of The Christmas Village!

November 9 @ Dream Hour
Break time! Visit Jessica for a review of The Christmas Village.

November 11 @ Capability Mom
There are some benefits to being fashionably late--late blooming that is! Come Chat with Melissa and enter to win a print copy of The Christmas Village.

November 15 @ Donna’s Book Pub
Improve your writing! Come join the discussion as Melissa shares her favorite techniques. Win a print copy of The Christmas Village.

November 16 @ Books, Books, The Magical Fruit
Are you in there? Melissa shares how to rediscover your inner 10 yr old!

November 17 @ Read These Books and Use Them
Get the kids writing! Melissa talks about encouraging kids to write. You can also win a print copy of The Christmas Village!

November 18 @ All Things Jill Elizabeth
Heroes and Villains - 2 Faces of the Same Coin. Join the Discussion & Enter the Giveaway!

November 20 @Memorable Children Books & Gifts
The Christmas Village is featured at Memorable Children Books from November 20 through December 2 with a book review and giveaway! See it on the blog and also at the website:

November 21 @ Mom~E~Centric
Looking for ideas? Melissa talks about finding the story in his story. Enter to win a copy of The Christmas Village!

November 22 @ 365 Days of Christmas
In a land where it's Christmas all year long... Steal a "Christmas Peek" with a book review and grab your "Just One" at the Giveaway!

November 23 @ Women’s Memoirs
It's all about family! Melissa shares her dad/daughter memoir publishing experience.

November 28 @ Inspired by Savahnna
Naughty or nice? Find out when Robin interviews Melissa! Win a copy of The Christmas Village.

November 29 @ In The Pages
Christmas peek! Find out what's "in the pages"--Becky shares her review of The Christmas Village.

November 30th @ Finder & Keepers
Breaking in! Melissa shares her experience in entering the children's market. Enter to Win a Copy of The Christmas Village!

December 1 @ My Reading Room
Join Melissa for a talk about a theme that always resonates: “Be Careful What You Wish For (the grass isn't really greener)” Crystal reviews The Christmas Village & hosts a Giveaway for a print copy!

December 2 @ Storybook Love Affair
It's Christmas down under! And it isn't Christmas without Christmas Pudding…

Book Giveaway Contest: Enter to win a copy of The Christmas Village by Melissa Ann Goodwin. Here's how you enter:

1. For your first entry, just leave a comment on this post! Leave a comment or ask Melissa a question to be entered in the random drawing.

2. For an extra entry, link to this post on Twitter with the hashtag #TCVllg, then come back and leave us a link to your tweet.

The giveaway contest closes this Thursday, November 10th, at 11:59 pm, PST. We will announce the winner in the comments section of this post the following day--Friday, November 11th, and if we have the winner's email address from the comments section, we will also notify the winner via email. Good luck!



Cindy said...

A simpler time so often seems to be a thing of the past, but we can strive to achieve it and thereby nuture and protect the innocence of children. This sounds like a lovely book. Thank you for the interview.

Melissa Ann Goodwin said...

Cindy and Buy Research - thanks so much for stopping by and commenting. I think the draw of simpler is powerful these days. So nice to meet you both.


I have read this book and highly recommend it for both kids and the young at heart. The book is filled with excitement, mystery and wonderful interaction of the characters. It brought joy - laughter - excitement and yes tears to my eyes. A wonderful book for all ages.

The trailer is absolutely FANTASTIC!!

Lee Romano Sequeira said...

I am still a kid at heart -- especially when it comes to Christmas!

I'd love to be the lucky winner of this book and be transported along with Jamie's.

Loved the trailer too - has me in the mood to begin decking the halls!

~ Lee

KMK said...

Very inspiring! I am going to get a copy, but perhaps I can win an extra gift for a grandchild. Thanks for sharing the hope and truth of the season.

LuAnn said...

I love reading and sharing Christmas stories and this looks like a good one to pass on to my grandchildren!

Tracy Jo said...

What a wonderful interview! I love the trailer and just went to Amazon and purchased the book after reading this. Melissa you have a beautiful heart. Enjoy the RV adventures!

Marjorie/cenya2 said...

This would be a wonderful book for my granddaughter and I would love to win it for her.
Thanks for the chance to win it.

cenya2 at hotmail dot com

Amanda K Jaros said...

What a nice interview, and I very much look forward to reading this book. Thank you!

Melissa Ann Goodwin said...

Lee: My brilliant nephew is a film student at Columbia, and he created that video!

KMK and Tracy Jo: Thank you so much! I love giving books away, but we writers need income too :-) Helps make sure I can write the NEXT book. xo

LuAnn: I hope they love it!

Marjorie: Best of luck!

Dissertations: Thanks for stopping by :-)

Amanda, thanks for coming and for the kind words.

Everyone: Thanks for coming by and good luck to everyone with the drawing!

~ Melissa

slb3334 said...

Looks like a great book.

dollsstory said...

I've been away from completing the first draft of my project for a couple months and I was happy that I stopped by. Your story's an inspiration to me (though I might have a year or two on you).

Melissa Ann Goodwin said...

HI SLB334, Thanks for coming by!

Dollsstory: You'll want to read my post about Late Blooming on 11/11 at the capability Mom blog...never too late! Wishing you much luck with your project. :-)

ckalmes1 said...

I can't wait to read the book. What a unique story line! Now I know what I want for Christmas...besides the book....I want to start collecting pieces for my own Christmas Village! Thank you for the inspiration!

Melissa Ann Goodwin said...

Ckalmes1 - the funniest part is that I started with one piece (a lighthouse) and told my husband, "It's just this one piece, I promise I won't get a whole village." Famous last words :-)

ckalmes1 said...

My perfect gift would be for my kids (ages 14 to 30) to buy me a piece of the village every year as a token of something special they remember of their childhood.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a wonderful read. Great interview! I think the RV trip will be so much fun! We plan to do that sometime when we are back in the US...thinking it would be a great way to visit many places and friends!

Unknown said...

What a delight to have published this new title just in time for the holidays!

Like the setting!

Melissa Ann Goodwin said...

Ckalmes1: Now that I have a fairly complete village, I truly love it. I also love that it's a bit of a mishmash!

raisingmytcks:I've heard that many people from abroad like to rent RVs - it's a great way to go all over. I'm very excited about it!

Patricia: Thanks, yes, the timing was perfect.

Thanks everyone for taking the time to comment! I look forward to visiting all your blogs. I hope the book will delight you and the young folks in your lives!

J.C. Nierad said...

Melissa, I enjoyed your interview; thank you for sharing your story and thoughts. Growing up, we had a mishmash village. As you'll see in the comments on my blog, my mom now has a fairly uniform village, but my sister and I like to remind her of the mishmash days by sneaking in odd figurines or larger than "village size" items from hot pads to pine cones! She pretends to be upset, but it's all in good holiday family fun! Your book brought back a lot of fun memories for me. Happy to be participating in your tour! J.C.

Melissa Ann Goodwin said...

J.C. That's hilarious! I can totally see my husband sticking a Gumby figure into my scene one day...:-)

Valerie Taylor Mabrey said...

Thanks for offering the giveaway this close to Christmas
vmkids3 at msn do com

Melissa Ann Goodwin said...

Valerie - good luck!

Cindy Kerschner said...

Great trailer! Definitely a book I'll get for my grandson. Sounds like it could become a classic like Polar Express!
Best of luck Melissa!

Crystal F said...

Sounds great! I would love to read this along with my girls. thank you!
crystalfaulkner2000 at yahoo dot com

WOW! said...

Happy Friday! Thank you for your comments and support. :)

We held a random drawing via for Melissa Ann Goodwin's book, and the winner is... crystalf! Congratulations! You've won a copy of The Christmas Village. Please email us at with your mailing address and we will forward the information to Melissa for you. I see you left your email addy, so we will contact you via email.

For everyone else: be sure to check out the rest of the stops on this tour for more giveaways and inspiration from Melissa Ann Goodwin.

Happy reading!

Unknown said...

great story

jovanb77 said...

Thanks for the contest!

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