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All he wants is to be left alone at holiday time, but Clay Stevenson’s quest for solitude in the old mountain cabin ends when Elaine Montana’s van
loaded with junior high choir girls slides into a ditch on the old mountain road. Can the unexpected become the best Christmas gift ever?
Q & A with Veda Boyd Jones regarding The Best Christmas Gift Ever
Q: You hit the commercialization of Christmas from the very beginning. Why?
A: It’s one of my pet peeves. So I let Clay, the hero, dislikes the give-me give-me attitude of Christmas, and he doesn’t see that giving is the spirit of the Santa side of Christmas. By the end of the story, he confides his personal story about the give-me attitude.
Q: I can almost hear the angelic voices of the choir in the story. Do you sing in a choir?
A: Last time I sang in a choir was in ninth grade, although I sing around the house sometimes. The standard joke around this place is someone else saying: “I used to wish I could sing; now I just wish you could.”
Q: Why did you choose Arkansas as the setting?
A: Before the new highway with tall bridges was put in between Fayetteville and Ft. Smith, the curvy road over the Boston Mountain was dangerous. With winter weather, it was treacherous. The road was closed many times, stranding folks. When I wrote this novella for Barbour Books years ago, I remembered my trips down that mountain road when I went to school at the University of Arkansas. It seemed like the perfect place to strand the choir.
Q: Elaine Montana seems like a take-charge person. Any resemblance to someone in real life?
A: We call my sister, Elaine, the terminator. She’s in charge, and she is a worker. She combines common sense and caring, and I chose her name for the main character, and her character just came right through.