Christmas Off the Beaten Path: Laurie Lucking

Christmas Off the Beaten Path: Laurie Lucking

Welcome to the fourth of my Christmas interviews with my fellow authors in the Christmas Fiction Off the Beaten Path anthology, available for purchase right here! If you missed the first three interviews, find them here with Ronnell Kay Gibson, JPC Allen, and Sandra Merville Hart.

I’d like to invite you to grab your favorite Christmas cookie 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, Laurie, thanks for joining us today. I’ll be asking you some Christmas questions, but let’s start with an introduction. Tell us a little about yourself.

I’ve been an avid reader practically since birth. I discovered my passion for writing after leaving my career as an attorney to become a stay-at-home mom. My debut young adult fantasy novel, Common, was a finalist in the ACFW Carol Awards and won the Christian Editor Connection’s Excellence in Editing Award. My short stories are published in Mythical DoorwaysEncircled, and Christmas Fiction off the Beaten Path. A Midwestern girl through and through, I currently live in Minnesota with my husband and three children.

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

“Return to Callidora” Princess Eveline waits for a knight to rescue her from her secluded tower. In the meantime, yearly Christmas deliveries from her friend Ryker provide brief reprieves from her solitude. When Sir Batair slays the dragon, Eveline is charmed by the handsome knight but feels unexpectedly conflicted as he leads her away from the safety of her tower.

Ryker has been secretly in love with Eveline for years, but he knows a gawky servant and musician is a far cry from the noble knight of her dreams. Fearing Sir Batair may be less than honorable, Ryker follows to ensure the princess’s safety. But instead of Eveline’s home in Callidora, their journey draws them ever closer to the very danger the royal family sought to avoid.

Thank you, now let’s get into the fun Christmas questions…

1. What is your favorite Christmas carol?

I’ve always loved “O Holy Night” because the lyrics are just so powerful, plus I enjoy singing so the complexity of the melody is a fun challenge!

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

Definitely hot cocoa! I love apple cider, too, but nothing can beat chocolate 🙂

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

Whichever ornament my kids happen to grab from the top of the bin!

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

I think I would want to be one of the flowers, since “Waltz of the Flowers” has always been one of my favorite pieces from The Nutcracker. Their costumes are so beautiful, and I’m not much of a dancer so I’d be much more comfortable in a supporting role 🙂

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

I do most of my Christmas movie watching while wrapping presents, so typically in December. My favorite has to be White Christmas – the songs, dances, and incredible performers make it such a fun holiday pick-me-up! Plus it’s a long-standing tradition in my family, so it always brings back fond memories.

6. What’s your favorite Christmas treat?

There are so many great ones to choose from! But a few years ago I found a recipe for “Cookies and Cream Fudge,” and that quickly became a favorite in our family. Basically, it’s broken up Oreos in white chocolate – yum!

Ooo, that does sound good!

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

I’ll admit I haven’t seen either the Jim Carrey version or the latest release so I can’t make a fully-informed choice, but I’ll go with the original book. Dr. Seuss had such a clever way of creating his phrases and rhymes and really bringing his characters to life.

Sometimes nothing beats the book! Movies always try to draw out the story too far, which is why I prefer the original cartoon out of all the filmed versions.

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

Ooh, what an interesting question! I have a French horn ornament that looks like it’s made from crystal, and I think I’d pick that one. Playing the French horn was a huge part of my life as a pre-teen and teenager, and even though I’m out of practice now, it’s an instrument I’ve always identified closely with because I feel like it represents my inner self well – complex and a little melancholy, but hopefully still beautiful 🙂

9. What’s your favorite Christmas story?

“The Gift of the Magi” has always struck me in the way it pairs the joy and excitement of finding just the right gift for a special person with the powerful theme of self-sacrificing love.

Definitely one of my favorites, too.

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

Instead of “Elf on the Shelf,” our kids find a shepherd who’s on a journey to find baby Jesus and ends up at the Nativity scene on Christmas.  We also light the candles on our Advent wreath every Sunday leading up to Christmas and sing Christmas hymns together as a family.

I love the twist on the Elf on the Shelf idea! Much better!

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

I originally came up with the idea for “Return to Callidora” in hopes of pursuing a different publishing opportunity for Christmas stories. But even though that opportunity didn’t come to fruition, I’d quickly fallen in love with Ryker and Princess Eveline and had to see their story though. Almost everything about “Return to Callidora” is “off the beaten path,” at least when it comes to Christmas stories! It’s a fairy tale fantasy involving a princess, knight, dragon, and sorceress – definitely not your typical Christmas fare! But in addition to the wintry setting, it includes a few Christmassy scenes and the message points straight to Jesus, humble enough to come to earth as a baby, yet exalted as our Savior.

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

I’ve honestly been having trouble coming up with actual gifts I want for Christmas this year, but what I’m hoping for the most is that we can all stay healthy enough to enjoy the holiday together. Last year my husband spent Christmas in bed with a stomach bug, and then my son came down with a fever the day we were supposed to leave to visit my extended family, so I ended up making the trip alone. It just wasn’t the same when we couldn’t all celebrate as a family.

Exactly. Christmas is about family and experiences and memories, not gifts (other than the One True Gift)! I’ll be praying you all stay healthy this year!

Thank you so much, Laurie! If you’d like to learn more about Laurie Lucking, you can find her at:




Readers’ Group:






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

Be sure to pull up tomorrow when we speak with Michelle Levigne, author of “Crystal Christmas.”

If you’re in need of a copy of this wonderful anthology, 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!

2 Replies to “Christmas Off the Beaten Path: Laurie Lucking”

  1. I like your twist on “Elf on the Shelf”. We’ve never done it because when I was a kid, I got stressed about being good enough for Santa. I don’t know what I would have done if I thought an elf was living in my house, spying on me.

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