Decking the Halls with Contemporary/Literary Fiction Author Terri Giuliano Long
It’s time to deck the halls and what better way to do it is to find out what your favorite authors are up to this joyous and oh-so-busy time of year. Today’s guest is Terri Giuliano Long, author of the contemporary/literary fiction novel, In Leah’s Wake (Createspace/Inspired Quill).
Thank you for being my guest at Literarily Speaking, Terri! Is Christmas your favorite holiday?
Terri: Thank you so much for having me! It’s an honor to be here!
Christmas is a magical time of year. I love the festivities and I especially love gathering with my family and celebrating the holiday together. I’m Italian, so our big family celebration has traditionally been on Christmas Eve. We make an enormous meal – typically variations of pasta and fish – and we listen to music. I treasure those moments. The holidays can be hectic; the frenzy I enjoy less.
How do you prepare for the holidays? Do you decorate?
Terri: Our daughter Natalie loves to decorate and she has a wonderfully artistic eye, so I usually leave the decorating to her. A foodie, I do most of the baking. Every year, I bake 6 or 8 different kinds of cookies. But that’s only the start – I usually make at least two desserts, an English trifle or some other cream-based dessert as well as a cheesecake. I buy several kinds of popcorn, chewy candies like spearmint leaves, and boxes of chocolates. I also buy fruits and nuts and other goodies I think my family might enjoy. With me around, no one is ever hungry.
What’s your most favorite ornament?
Terri: When our kids were little, they made thumbprint ornaments at school. They were small wooden circles shaped like a dish with rounded lips. On paper circles, they wrote their name and then they dipped their thumb in ink and pressed a thumbprint onto the paper. They glued the paper with their name and thumbprint inside the wooden dish and glued a small piece of ribbon on the back of the ornament to serve as a hangar. The names and thumbprints have faded over the years, but the memories of their childhood will never fade.
What’s your favorite outside activity during the holidays? Or are you a winter hating humbug like me?
Terri: I must admit, I’ve never been fond of the cold. This year, we’ll spend the winter in Stowe, Vermont – a gorgeous place and a favorite spot for the whole family. We plan to ski, which I enjoy, we’ll walk, and we may snowshoe. There’s also a horse drawn sleigh ride in town – so I envision all sorts of outdoor activities this year.
What kind of holiday activities do you enjoy doing with family and/or friends?
Terri: Christmas Eve night, after dinner, when everyone is relaxed, sitting by the fire, talking or listening to music, picking on desserts, enjoying a glass of wine, the little ones listening for Santa – this is my favorite time in the entire holiday season. I love the quiet moments, away from the noise and the rush.
What is the best present anyone could ever give to you?
Terri: A hug. I know that sounds trite, but it’s true. I love gifts people make, a painting, a dish, a pint of jam – those are, of course, hugs – and small gifts people choose especially for me – a unique bookmark, a coffee mug with a thin lip because if the lip of the mug is too thick I dribble. Every year, my husband buys me a special bottle of wine. Those are the gifts I adore.
If you could go anywhere in the world during the holidays, where would that be?
Terri: This year we’ll be in Stowe. I can’t imagine a more magical place to be.
Solid white lights or multicolored lights?
Terri: Tough question! I vacillate. For several years, we had to have white lights. Colored lights felt too garish. Now I love colored lights, the bigger, brighter and kitschier the better.
Favorite holiday song?
Terri: White Christmas. Favorite album – Christmas With the Chipmunks. One year, when our kids were little, my husband bought this album and played it while we decorated the tree. The next year, the kids asked him to play it; now it’s a tree-trimming family tradition. It wouldn’t be Christmas without “Christmas Don’t Be Late,” “All I Want for Christmas,” “Silver Bells” – performed in squeaky little rodent voices.
Have you ever had to spend a Christmas away from home?
Terri: No, thankfully I’ve never had to be away from my family.
What do you want Santa to bring you this year?
Terri: Joy, good health for all my family and friends, and quiet moments with the people I love.
One last question, isn’t this fun? What does Christmas mean to you?
Terri: Christmas is a time to reflect, a time to be with the people we love, a time to remember and be grateful for all the blessings in our lives. It’s also a time of rebirth and renewal. It’s also a bittersweet time. We don’t always get what we hope for – an ill friend or relative doesn’t heal, the financial stress doesn’t magically disappear – and some of the people we love are no longer with us. As this is the cycle of life, there is beauty in all of this too.
Thanks so much for the interview, Terri. Do you have any final words?
Terri: Thank you again for inviting me to be a guest on your blog. I love that your questions invited me to think and reflect. I’m grateful for the opportunity to connect with you and your readers. Readers, you have a million other things you might have been doing. Thank you so very much for giving this time to me.
Happy holidays to all! I wish you joy, peace and an abundance of love, now and for many years to come!
Terri Giuliano Long is the bestselling author of the award-winning novel In Leah’s Wake. Books offer her a zest for life’s highs and comfort in its lows. She’s all-too-happy to share this love with others as a novelist and a writing teacher at Boston College.
Her life outside of books is devoted to her family. In her spare time, she enjoys walking, traveling to far-flung places, and meeting interesting people. True to her Italian-American heritage, she’s an enthusiastic cook and she loves fine wine and good food. In an alternate reality, she could have been very happy as an international food writer.
Terri loves meeting and connecting with people who share her passions.
You can visit her website at www.tglong.com or connect with her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/#!/tglong and Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/tglongwrites.
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Giveaways, Contests & Prizes!
Join Terri Giuliano Long at the Pump Up Your Book Live! November Author Chat / Book Giveaway Party on Friday, November 18 starting at 8 p.m. eastern! Terri will be on hand to answer your questions and will be giving away a copy of her book! You could win a paperback copy of In Leah’s Wake simply by attending the chat and asking her a question. All there is to it! For chat details, visit the official chat page for the November authors at Pump Up Your Book Live!
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Join Terri at Pump Up Your Book’s 1st Annual Holiday Extravaganza Chat Party on December 16, 2011 on Facebook! After the chat, Terri will be giving away a $25 gift certificate at Pump Up Your Book’s Holiday Extravaganza Party Page. Visit Pump Up Your Book for time and details.