Award-winning author, Lena Nelson Dooley, has more than 675,000 books in print. She is a member of ACFW and president of the local chapter.
Lena loves James, her children, grandchildren, and great grandson. She loves chocolate, cherries, chocolate-covered cherries, and spending time with friends. Travel is always on her horizon. Cruising, Galveston, the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas, Mexico. One day it will be Hawaii and Australia, but probably not at the same time. Helping other authors become published really floats her boat. And the high point of her day is receiving feedback from her readers, especially her fans. And she loves chocolate, especially dark chocolate.
We’re focusing on Christmas all this month! What do you most associate with Christmas where you live?
I love all the Christmas music and special programs at churches—candlelight services, cantatas, children’s programs. Last year and this year, our church did a musical adaptation of The Christmas Carol, where Mr. Scrooge meets the Lord.
Do you have any special family traditions you do at Christmas time?
Our family always gets together. Recently, it’s always been at our house. We share the original Christmas story and memories as well as have a time for eating, fellowship, and exchanging presents.
Also, in 1985, God told me to use my writing talent to bless others at Christmas. Almost every year since then, I’ve written a Christmas short story to use as a Christmas greeting. I have quite a collection now. We mail them out to the people we used to send Christmas cards. Some people have told me that they wait for the story to use with their family celebrations. I also give them out to friends who live nearby, as well as to strangers.
Do you have a favorite Christmas Carol and if so do you know why?
I love Christmas music. All the old carols and the new ones. One of my favorite recent Christmas song was written by a Christian comedian and singer Mark Lowry—“Mary Did You Know?” One year, my Christmas Story was “Mary, Meditations on the Birth of Her First Child.” So I really relate to the message in Mark’s song.
If you could spend Christmas any way you could how would you celebrate?
I wouldn’t change the way we celebrate, except I’d have my grandson, who is serving in Afghanistan, home for Christmas. The holiday has a hole in it when any of the family is missing.
Do you have any special memories of Christmas?
My family made a big deal of celebrating Christmas while I was growing up, so I have a large number of memories. We were poor, when I was a small child, but we always got oranges and nuts at Christmas. I love oranges and nuts to this day.
What does a typical Christmas Eve and or Christmas Day look like for you?
Our time of celebration depends on when my children are meeting with their in-laws. We used to do something on Christmas Eve, so they could do their other families on Christmas. One year, we had a Christmas breakfast with waffles and strawberries, egg dishes, etc., so we could all be together.
A tradition was born several years ago when I froze the leftover turkey and made sour cream enchiladas for Christmas. Now the grandchildren really look forward to the enchiladas. So Christmas dinner is always TexMex.
Do you have any Christmas movies or Christmas books you like to see or read each year?
I’ve always loved It’s a Wonderful Life. I must watch it once a year. A few years ago, The Nativity came out. I love it. Also The Christmas Box. These movies are part of our celebration.
And each year, I read all the new Christmas novels that Christian publishers release that year. I especially love the Barbour novella collections. Summerside Press has a good one I’ll Be Home for Christmas. And Love Inspired has several.
Tell us a little about your book:
Here is the back cover copy from Christmas Love at Lake Tahoe:
Love Hits the Slopes at Christmastime
Four young women, fresh out of college, pursue their careers at a new ski lodge at Lake Tahoe's Incline Village during the winter season.
Bethany Stillman's resolve to focus on her RN career falters when she meets paramedic Cole Beckman. Cole wonders how long it will be before Beth realizes he's to blame for crippling her grandfather. Can a Christmas miracle forge a path to love and forgiveness?
Social director Scarlett McKaye loves planning things down to the last detail. But what she didn't count on was having to spurn the bold advances of a reckless suitor. How far will daredevil Derrick Greene go to cancel Scarlett's reservations?
Stephanie St. John is determined to make a go of the time-share program at Snowbird Lodge. But Darrin Hart seems to be undermining her efforts, her confidence, and her reputation. Will misunderstanding be resolved, or will Stephanie succeed in business only to lose at love?
A wounded-at-the-heart Michaela Christianssen has chosen a male-free existence. But her friends and an eleven-year-old girl have other ideas. Widower Jonas Bradley is content with his life as father and forest ranger, until he finds himself pining for Michaela. What will it take to fell her oppositions to romance?
Will these four women hear wedding bells chime this Christmas?
Where did you get the idea for "NO THANK YOU," your story in CHRISTMAS LOVE AT LAKE TAHOE?
Often when I write a story in a collection like this, I look for a story that will be very different from everyone else’s. Since the collection is set at a winter resort, I chose to have my heroine not be a snow bunny. She wouldn’t even think of getting on “two boards and slide down a hill.” She really isn’t interested in a man who takes risks, like the black slopes, and of course, the hero uses those slopes.
One interesting note: My friend Zach Neese wrote the song “The More I Seek You,” and that song really fit my story. He graciously gave me permission to use the lyrics in the story.
Do you have a Christmas message for my readers?
Look beyond the commercialism, the hype, and the glitz, to the very heart of Christmas. The God Who loves us enough to sacrifice His Only Son so we could have complete communion with Him. That amazing concept will add such depth to your Christmas experience.
And remember, Jesus chose to submit himself to be born on earth, reared by parents who would make mistakes, just so He could redeem us.
What a concept!!