Welcome Paula! Congratulations on the release of your first book in your new Tinseled Tidings novella collection! Tell us about the collection and the individual titles.
Thank you! I’m really excited about this fun new collection. The idea is to help readers usher in the holidays with fun-filled tales that not only bring a smile to their faces, but that also have nuggets of inspirational encouragement tucked in. My passion is to write and speak about things that help others live free to flourish. I believe living in flourishing freedom grows out of an intimate relationship with Jesus. Whether I write in a lighter genre, like these stories, or in my meatier non-fiction work, that’s what you’ll find. Next to my computer is my mission statement: I write to join with the Holy Spirit in setting captives free and healing the broken-hearted. To call forth the true essence of life, person, self. To be a part of the grand Love Story with Jesus.
The Tinseled Tidings individual titles release every 15 days between now and Christmas on Kindle, and on December 1st the print collection is available. As you mentioned, the first book, You’re a Charmer, Mr. Grinch, (https://www.amazon.com/Youre-Charmer-Grinch-Tinseled-Tidings-ebook/dp/B076P148CD) just released!
Here’s a summary for the collection:
Usher in the holidays with the first three tender, fun-filled tales in the Tinseled Tidings novella collection:
You’re a Charmer, Mr. Grinch ~ Retired police officer Rick Stanton dons a Grinch costume for the holidays and “patrols” Christmas, Florida to promote the festive town. Everyone falls under his charm except the person he most wants to impress—Postmaster Edie Hathaway. The Grinch is stealing Edie’s heart, but will Edie learn to trust him before he gives up on love?
The Joy Scrooge ~ Spunky pediatrician Krista Fjeld loved Tait Skroog for most of her life, but when Tait and his young son, Timmy, move back to town, she is shocked by the change in her old heart-throb. Embittered by his wife’s death, Tait is paralyzed by fear and grief. Will Krista convince him to embrace life—and her—or is the risk too great for everyone?
Fruitcake Fallout ~ Family legend claims the Preston fruitcake recipe makes young couples fall in love. But when WAC Evelyn Preston sends a fruitcake to her high school crush stationed overseas, she snags the wrong private! If Willie Baxter tries to clear up the unintentional deception, will Evie give his poor, smitten heart a chance?
Not only was it my first traditional contract from a publishing company, but it was plain ol’ fun. I love romance stories, and the hero, Rick, seemed to grow larger than life as I wrote. It was a playful experience for me as his silly rhymes rolled onto the computer screen. Edie’s pig-headedness (there’s that Okie girl coming out) and spunk made for some colorful scenes. This book was extra-special because Barbour Publishing offered me the contract at a dinner at an American Christian Fiction Writer’s conference. So about 500 of my dearest friends found out at the same time I did.
Didn’t this story win an ACFW award?
It was nominated for the ACFW Carol Award as novella of the year. I can’t tell you what a joy that was! I was the Colorado Coordinator for ACFW at the time, and several of us in leadership were in Montrose, CO putting on a writing seminar at the library. I got a call about the nomination as we were headed back to Denver, but I wasn’t allowed to tell anyone until it was announced publicly. It was a long five plus hours back home in a car full of some of my best writing buddies! I mean we had a great time, but I couldn’t tell them!
I’m a little confused. You said this novella was published by Barbour Publishing, but the collection is produced by Free to Flourish Publishing.
It was originally published by Barbour. When I received my rights back after its publishing run, I decided to make it the first story in a new collection of sweet romances called Tinseled Tidings. The new story includes minor updates, like introducing Krista, who is Rick’s niece and has her own story in the next book of this Christmas series.
Is it true that a piece of your real-life love story is tucked in this novella?
Yup. There’s a scene where Rick declares his love for Edie. She’s not quite ready to commit to him, but she’s finally seen his good heart and is falling hard. Something similar happened with me. My now-husband and I dated one summer in Colorado. I knew he was serious, but when I returned to college in Oklahoma, I just couldn’t make the transition. Marrying him meant leaving those green hills and my extended family. There were other things I needed time to process. I broke it off. I won’t tell you the rest, because I don’t want to ruin the scene! But just know it came from a very sweet time with my now-husband!
Do you have a favorite character in Grinch?
Oh yes. I love Rick. He perseveres in love. That’s not easy to do. I also enjoyed writing him because although I’m a Colorado gal now, I grew up in the foothills of the Ozarks. I miss the colorful dialect of my childhood. It’s that southern drawl where men still have pet names for their wives and daughters (I love it when my dad calls me “baby doll”), and the language is full of colorful metaphors. I have to fight not to have at least one southern character in every book. One showed up in A Packaged Deal, the first title (releasing in December) in my new Towering Pines series. My newest novella in Barbour’s A Bouquet of Brides is set in Oklahoma, so problem solved there!
Is there anything in Edie’s character that you especially relate to?
When I sign this book, I usually add the Scripture reference John 10:10 below my name. It says, “The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life” (NLT). The version of the Bible I grew up on said Jesus came to give abundant life. I got this book contract after a particularly trying season of about seven years in which my husband almost died, did lose his business, and we almost lost our home. The Lord rescued our home, giving us a new loan on the very day it was originally scheduled for foreclosure. (Praise Him!) During that time all four of our children also went through extremely difficult things. I think I counted up two broken bones, five surgeries, and one undiagnosed illness. (And that was just the health issues they faced.) I think when we’ve been through something especially difficult, it is hard to believe there can be abundant life—a rich and satisfying life. (Please tell me I’m not the only one who struggles with this!) So Edie’s struggle to hope again was part of my soul working its way out of those years of hardship.
Where did you get the title for this book?
I started singing it! I was laboring over naming the story, praying and praying for something I liked. One day I was driving, and the Grinch song came on the radio. In my head I heard, “You’re a charmer, Mr. Grinch” instead of “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch.” I had my title!
One last question. Umm . . . make that two. How can readers find out about new releases or free days for your electronic books? What if they want to connect with you?
The best way is to sign up for my newsletter by visiting my website: www.paulamoldenhauer.com. The newsletter is delivered to your email address and lets readers know about special events and promotions. I often also include a little update on what God is teaching me. Besides the newsletter sign-up, there are also some fun goodies on my website—free coloring pages and journals you can download, as well as links to some of the articles I’ve written on motherhood and life. If you have a personal question or want to schedule me as a speaker, I welcome email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’d especially encourage readers to get my FREE Advent devotion from my website. You can download it, or read it daily off my website. (If you prefer Kindle, it’s available there for 99 cents.)