Christmas Off the Beaten Path: Ronnell Kay Gibson

Christmas Off the Beaten Path: Ronnell Kay Gibson

Welcome to the first of my Christmas interviews with my fellow authors in the Christmas Fiction Off the Beaten Path anthology, available for purchase right here!

I’d like to invite you to grab a cup of your favorite Christmas beverage and pretend you’ve just joined us at a table where you can enjoy listening to a conversation between two authors you’re interested in learning more about. Ready? Then let’s dive in!

Hello, Ronnell, thanks for joining us today. I’d like to ask you some Christmas questions to help get us in the mood as we count down (rather quickly this year) to that most wonderful day of the year! But let’s start with an introduction. Tell us a little about yourself.

I surround myself with words and teenagers. I specialize in young adult contemporary with a sprinkling of the mysterious. I also write youth and adult devotions and am one of the editors for HAVOK Publishing. In 2018, I won The Blue Seal Award First Place for Middle Grade Fiction and was a finalist for 2018 Writer of the Year Award. Self-proclaimed coffee snob and Marvel movie addict, I also title herself a macaroon padawan and a cupcake Jedi. High on my bucket list is to attend San Diego Comic Con. I live in central Wisconsin, with my husband, two teenagers, and two Pomeranian puppies.

For those who haven’t had the chance to enjoy reading your story in our anthology, could you give us a quick pitch?

“Those Who Stayed”—Years ago, a gunman and a store full of hostages learned some important lessons about faith and pain and what really matters in life—and the echoes from that day continue to the present.

I have to say, this was one of the most difficult Christmas stories I’ve ever read, and very thought-provoking. Thank you for writing it. Now let’s get into the fun Christmas questions…

1. What is your favorite Christmas carol?

For sure, “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day” by Casting Crowns. It gives me chills (in a good way) almost every time I hear it, which is often because the CD plays in my car almost non-stop in December. But “O Holy Night” is a close second. The classic Andy Williams’ version is my favorite.

2. Hot cocoa, pumpkin latte, or apple cider?

Pumpkin latte, for sure. Right now I’m obsessed with Starbuck’s Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew. That Pumpkin Cream is soo yummy, I get extra. Most people look at me funny when I tell them I can’t stand hot cocoa.

I hear you on the cocoa. Sometimes it’s just too much. One year Starbucks did a hot cocoa with salted caramel and I prefer that. Something about salty and sweet…

3. What’s the first thing to go on your Christmas tree each year? After lights?

It’s usually the “Pickle” ornament, or whatever is at the top of the ornament box.

Ha! The pickle ornament! You must have a German background—at least that’s where my family got it from!

4. If you could be any character in The Nutcracker, who would you be and why?

I would want to be Clara…what girl doesn’t want to have a Prince fighting for her?!

5. When do you start watching Christmas movies and what’s your favorite?

It differs every year, but either Thanksgiving weekend or the first snowfall. I have lots of favorite movies, but White Christmas and Elf top the list.

The first snowfall here was the end of September…so I’ve held off till now! 😉

6. What’s your favorite Christmas treat?

Every year we order little petit fours from Swiss Colony, I love those. I have also taken over the job of making “Bolts and Nuts” (our secret family recipe for Chex Mix). The whole family is addicted to it.

So how do we get a copy of this secret family recipe? 😉

7. Which version of the Grinch do you prefer? The book? The classic cartoon? Jim Carrey? Or the newest version?

Classic cartoon version ekes out the book just a tad in my opinion, but they’re both pretty great.

I agree. The cartoon is where Seuss fixed some of what was missing from the rhythm and rhyme of the original story.

8. If you could be any ornament on the Christmas tree, what would you be and why?

I’d want to be a lighted angel. So, I can watch and provide light for my family (ornament family). More realistically, I’d probably end up as some sort of crazed mom ornament.

9. What’s your favorite Christmas story?

“Why Christmas Trees Aren’t Perfect” A sweet children’s book with the themes of compassion and giving.

I’ll have to look that one up!

10. How do you keep Christ at the center of your Christmas?

I have a great devotional that I use year after year. It helps to keep me focused on God and in His presence.

11. Why did you write your story for Christmas Fiction Off the Beaten Path? What makes your story “off the beaten path”?

I wrote “Those Who Stayed” a few years ago, based on a dream I had. After writing it, I didn’t know what to do with it so I let it sit on my computerfor a few years. When Mt. Zion Ridge Press posted they were looking for stories that were “not your traditional Christmas story,” I figured it doesn’t get more non-traditional than a gunman holding up a store full of hostages on Christmas Eve. I bet you won’t see anything like it on the Hallmark channel.

12. If you could ask for one thing for Christmas this year, what would it be?

If money was no object, I would want a family trip to Hawaii. More practically, I’d love a new Keurig Latte machine. And a Baby Yoda.

I love it! Thank you so much, Ronnell!

If you’d like to learn more about Ronnell Kay Gibson, you can find her here:

Facebook: Ronnell Kay Gibson, YA Author
Instagram: RonnellGibsonWriter

Thanks again for joining us at our table! We’d love to hear your responses to these questions in the comments below! 🙂

I don’t normally post every day of the week, but this week I wanted to highlight each of the authors joining me in this wonderful anthology, so be sure to pull up tomorrow when we speak with JPC Allen, author of “A Rose From the Ashes.”

If you’re in need of a copy of Christmas Fiction Off the Beaten Path, you can purchase a copy here, or if you’re in the Spokane area, join me for my reading THIS Saturday, December 7, at 2:00 at the South Hill Branch of the Spokane Public Library. Signed copies will be for sale, without shipping/handling. 🙂

Merry Christmas!

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