Snowdrop Cookie Wishes With Author Laura Strickland
I'm excited to be here today with author Laura Strickland as she talks about her new Christmas novella, Snowdrop Cookie Wishes. I was given the opportunity to read this incredible story and, well, I'll just let my review speak for itself...
Review: When the plague swept through the small village of Gjerhold, everyone lost something—their husbands, wives, and children—and Lissi Johansen was no exception. Through the heartache, she was able to hold onto her hope, even when everyone else’s had gone into hiding. But Lissi had a plan…a plan to bring hope and joy back to the village with the help of her mother’s famous snowdrop cookies. When she asks the local miller, Ole Andersen, for help finding flour and sugar, she ends up getting more than she bargained for. As hope, love, and joy spread through the village, the wishes Lissi baked into her cookies come to life. But is that enough to heal broken hearts and pave the way for healing?
It has been a long while since I’ve read a book that has made me feel so deeply. The characters had so much depth for such a short book and the world-building was impeccable. I so badly wanted each one of their wishes to come true! I’m at a loss for words as to how wonderful Snowdrop Cookie Wishes is. Bravo Laura Strickland! Is it possible to give this book 15 stars??
If that's not enough to suck you in, Laura was kind enough to supply a blurb and excerpt for you.
Blurb: It's been a difficult year in Lissi Johansen's sixteenth-century Danish village. As Christmas approaches, she longs for holidays past when her parents visited their neighbors, distributing cookies and good wishes to all. She hopes to bake a single batch of her mama's Snowdrop Cookies and tuck a gift of magic wishes inside. But she will need help to make the miracle come true.
Miller Ole Andersen is barely hanging on after the loss of his wife and child to the plague. When Lissi begs him for a measure of flour, he's won over by her warmth and generous spirit. He never suspects the events that follow will teach him about the limitless capacity of the heart, or that wishes given away can sometimes be the most magical of all.
Excerpt: “I have brought you some flour.” He set the sack on the clean table. Lissi had put all her carefully-husbanded spices away. “It is the best of what I had in store, though not as much as I would like.”
Lissi clapped her hands. “Oh, thank you.”
“And,” he opened his coat and from inside produced a much smaller sack. “I have this.”
She shot him a look of inquiry.
“I remembered that Mistress Hensen was planning her wedding when—” For an instant the light in his eyes faded, “when the trouble came. She had got flour from me—ground extra fine—for a cake. That is sugar she did not use.”
“Ach! And she is willing to give it up for us?”
Gravely, Ole said, “She assured me she has no use for it now and sends it with her blessing.”
“This is wonderful! Master Andersen, it is as if our plan is meant to succeed.”
He leaned against the edge of the table. “It is good to bring some light into our lives now, at the darkest time.”
He did not mean the winter. She nodded. “As I say, I will not be able to make as many cookies as Mama and Papa did, not enough for everyone in the village. But I am hoping, one perhaps for each household. I hope that may spread some joy. I suppose it is foolish, after all.”
“No, Mistress Johansen, it is not.” He smiled, and his grave face momentarily shone. “You bake your magic in there. It is what we need.”
I know...sounds incredible, doesn't it? Let's hear from Laura on how this little book filled with hope came to be.
1. How did you come up with the idea for Snowdrop Cookie Wishes?
Although it sounds rather dark and I don’t consider myself an especially dark person, I’ve always been a little obsessed with the plague. LOL. In particular, I’m fascinated by the fact that for those of us whose ancestors came from Europe, where the Black Death killed an estimated 30 to 50 percent of the population, the very fact that we exist means our ancestors must have survived this terrible event, at least long enough to propagate. Given what we’ve lived through these past two years, I couldn’t help but draw some comparisons. I wanted to create a story showing that if our ancestors survived and found hope again, so can we.
2. I can’t love Lissi and Ole enough! Are they based on people you know in real life?
Not as such. Lissi is the embodiment of the spirit I believe still exists within each of us—that which can reach for something better and keep believing. She is the light that won’t quite go out even in the deep darkness. Ole represents the injured part of us, that which grieves over being left behind. He is the sweet child that wants so badly to heal and isn’t quite sure he deserves to.
3. Snowdrop Cookie Wishes takes place in a different time period? How did you keep the world-building separated from present times?
One of my favorite things is slipping back in time to other lands and eras. When I’m back there, I seldom have trouble remaining—I have more difficulty returning to the present time when the story ends. I loved the tiny village of Gjerhold, populated by people made real by their faults, strengths, and personalities. I could feel the cold snow and hear the residents singing ancient Scandinavian carols as they walked from the church.
4. Please, please, please tell me there will be more of Lissi and Ole in another book? I NEED more!
I’m afraid not. But you can imagine them at home and happy in Gjerhold, building a new life and new traditions while keeping the old ones alive. Right about now, I suppose Lissi is getting ready to make another batch of Snowdrop Cookies, don’t you? With her family at her side…
5. And finally…what was your favorite part about writing this story?
My favorite part was expressing the hope that lies in my own heart—that we can come out of the past couple of years with our inner lights still shining. This story is one I can’t read without crying—and that doesn’t happen too often with my own books!
Multi-award-winning author Laura Strickland delights in time traveling to the past and searching out settings for her books, be they Historical Romance, Steampunk or something in between. Her first Scottish Historical hero, Devil Black, battled his way onto the publishing scene in 2013, and the author never looked back. Nor has she tapped the limits of her imagination. Venturing beyond Historical and Contemporary Romance, she created a new world with her ground-breaking Buffalo Steampunk Adventure series set in her native city, in Western New York. Married and the parent of one grown daughter, Laura has also been privileged to mother a number of very special rescue dogs, the latest being a little boy called Tinker, and is intensely interested in animal welfare. Her love of dogs, and her lifelong interest in Celtic history, magic and music, are all reflected in her writing. Laura's mantra is Lore, Legend, Love, and she wouldn't have it any other way.
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