Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Award-winning author, Anita Higman, has twenty-six books published (several co-authored) for adults and children, and she has been honored in the past as a Barnes & Noble "Author of the Month" for Houston. Some of Ms. Higman's publishers are Bethany House, Summerside Press, Barbour Publishing, McGraw-Hill, Lillenas Drama, Roman & Littlefield, and Howard Publishing.

A few of Anita's books are Love Finds You in Humble, Texas, Another Stab at Life, Another Hour to Kill, The Celestial Helix, Pokeweed and Mrs. Gasp, and Big Book of Holidays and Holy Days. She also has contributions in ten nonfiction compilations.

One of Ms. Higman's co-authored books entitled, A Tribute to Early Texas, has a foreword by Elmer Kelton and has won a San Antonio Conservation Society Citation as well as a Westerners International Book Award. She was also named a New Favorite Author in the 15th Annual Heartsong Presents Awards.

In addition, Anita has won two awards for her contribution to literacy and has raised thousands of dollars for literacy with her book, I Can Be Anything, while serving on the board of directors of Literacy Advance of Houston.

Anita Higman has also written for radio, television, ezine, and advertising. She has a BA degree, combining speech communication, psychology, and art from SNU, and she is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers.

Anita has lived in Texas for the past twenty-five years, but was born and raised on a wheat and cattle farm in western Oklahoma.

Besides writing, Anita's other interests are reading great books, going to the movies, and cooking brunch for her friends. She lives with her husband near Houston, Texas.

Irene Brand's goal of being a writer was conceived at an early age in her rural home in West Virginia. In the early 70's she started publishing in historical, religious, and general magazines. During that time she also edited and compiled two church histories.

Test of Love was released in Poland in 2003.

She has written Sunday School curriculum, edited a two-year series of mission curriculum, and her works have appeared in five program-material anthologies. Her publishers include Zondervan, Standard Publishing, Thomas Nelson Publishers, Fleming-Revell, Barbour Publishing, Kregel Publications, Steeple Hill (inspirational imprint of Silhouette), and Summerside Press. She has had 3 non-fiction books published, and 17 fiction works.

Her first inspirational romance was published in 1984.

In 1990 Mrs. Brand retired after 23 years of teaching in public schools to devote full time to freelance writing. She is married to Rod Brand.

Irene Brand and Anita Higman each have a Christmas novella in the new 2-in-1 compilation entitled, Love Finds You Under the Mistletoe. Also, both novellas are interconnected.
Tell us about that process. Was it difficult to connect your two stories?
Anita: Not at all. We had a brainstorming session by phone and by email and figured it out. Irene’s historical novella, An Appalachian Christmas is tied to my contemporary novella, Once Upon a Christmas Eve. They are connected through the passing of a mistletoe ball through the generations. It was a delight to work with Irene. She’s very easy to get along with. In fact, we’ve become long-distant friends.
Irene: It wasn’t difficult. Actually, this may have been the easier part of the writing project. After we’d each read the other’s manuscript, I provided Anita with the information necessary for continuity, and she did the same for me. It was easy to insert the other story line into my novella.
Do you think you’d consider working on another project together?

Anita: Yes, in fact we’ve been chatting about working on another project together.
Irene: It would appeal to me. Although our writing styles aren’t the same, still the differences seem to improve the book.

How did you come up with the idea for your story?

Anita: My novels are more character driven, and so my characters tend to move the story along. The idea for Once Upon a Christmas Eve may have started with my interest in the fairy archetype. I loved the movies Cold Comfort Farm and Chocolat for that very reason. There was something enchanting about those two heroines as they whirled around, fixing people’s lives. I gave my main character, Holly Goodnight, some similar fanciful qualities.

Irene: My husband and I spent a few days in Owsley County, Kentucky, where my novella is located. After we met the local people, visited the site where the action would be, and learned about the local history, the story was easy to develop.

Out of your novellas, which characters are your favorites?

Anita: Beyond the heroine I loved Van Keaton, the author. He was flawed in a number of ways, but he had enough endearing qualities to make him loveable too. At least that is what I hope readers will feel.

Irene: The hero and heroine turned out to be great characters, but Granny, the hero’s grandmother was a lovable person – the kind of grandmother all of us would have liked. (I don’t remember either of my grandmothers.)

What did you want the reader to take away from your story?

Anita: That no matter how impossible circumstances look, God can work all things for good.

Irene: That even when a romance seems hopeless, true love can overcome any barrier.

What does a typical workday look like for you?

Anita: I’m usually up at 5:30 to have breakfast and a devotion time with my husband. Then I go up to my office, reply to emails, and start on my writing. I stop for lunch, run a few errands, and then to go back to work again. I don’t watch TV in the evening, but I do treat myself to a new movie or two on the weekends.

Irene: My husband and I get up at 5:45 each morning. While he shaves, I prepare breakfast. We also have a devotional period before we eat. We’ve used THE SECRET PLACE, our American Baptist devotional material, since we were married. We have a list of different people for whom we pray at each meal time. Weather permitting, we take a 2-mile walk after breakfast. I open my e-mail next, then read the Bible and have private devotions. The last 3 days of the week, I prepare to teach my Sunday School lessons. I write as much as possible, but the time spent on my writing depends upon what else needs to be done. I’m very active in the work of my church – choir, playing piano, women’s work and teaching a Sunday School lesson. Unless I’m on a deadline, I don’t write after 6:00 p.m.

Where do all your ideas come from?

Anita: Ideas flood in from everywhere—while I’m running errands, or chatting with a friend, or drifting off to sleep. I can barely keep up with the flow. I have to write them down to use later.

Irene: From reading research books or fiction. I get ideas from talking with others, or news items on television.

What are you reading right now?
Anita: I’m reading, A Circle of Quiet by Madeleine L’Engle.
Irene: I’m reading a Regency romance, one I’ve had on my shelves for a few years. First Season by Anne Baldwin

What are your five favorite things about Christmas?

Anita: The birth of Christ, of course. But then I love the music, the scents, the special foods, and family time together.

Irene: Local church activities, music, baking and visiting shut-ins with goodies, Christmas dinner with extended family, holiday movies on TV.

Where can readers find you online?

Anita: I would love for folks to drop by my website at

Thank you for inviting us to your blog. Irene and I hope your Christmas is filled with the love of Christ and all things bright and beautiful!
Anita and Irene are giving away a copy of their book Love Finds You Under the Mistletoe. Stop by The Borrowed Book on Friday for your chance to win!

1 comment :

  1. What a fun interview! :) The book sounds wonderful with the interconnections within the two stories!

    It was nice to meet you both, Anita and Irene!



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