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Updated: May 20, 2022

I love Christmas and I was thrilled to find this story arrived with the holiday at its center. Jake is in no way what I would have come up with if I’d sat down to write a “Christmas story.” That was its first gift to me.

I’ve wanted to write a dog story for years and yet all my characters came with only the vaguest awareness of them. In Love me Tender the dog is a runaway. To be fair, some dogs are natural explorers and don’t deal with boundaries very well. So when this temperamental dog showed up in this one, I was happy. A second gift.

But before the dog, there was Jake and his mom, and they were like a happy memory of motherhood for me (a third gift!) but I didn’t have this fall on the ice, it happened to someone else’s mom. Lots of things in my books are like things you’d find in the attic, useless bits and pieces, flotsam and jetsam, until I write them into a story. Writers are like squirrels that way, collectors of the bright and shiny. Small but significant surprises found in dark corners. Another writer put it in a much more elegant way: Be someone on whom nothing is lost. I do think that comes naturally to writers.

Plus, I wanted to be writing something for the younger reader, seven or eight to ten, and this story struck me as one that parents and kids could enjoy together.

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