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A Penchant for a 1940s Christmas by Nike Chillemi
I've always been intrigued by Christmas in earlier years in America, especially in the 1940s. Somehow it seems they had a better handle on the meaning of the celebration. In the forties, most American families considered themselves to be observant Christians. Parents would say, "Yes, we have a Christian home."
That's one reason why I wrote GOODBYE NOEL. It's my Christmas/New Year's themed novel which opens in December, 1946 on the south shore of Long Island, NY. The setting is the fictitious village of Sanctuary Point from which the series gets its name. The main families in the story, both on the right side of the tracks and the wrong anticipate Christmas with great excitement. At the murder scene, Det. Ian Daltry, who is well versed, comments on the lyrics' significance when he discovers Christmas carol sheet music on the victim's old upright piano. I researched the most popular Christmas carols of that day and also the popular big band music which plays a significant role in the story.
The first families to settle on Long Island were primarily Dutch, English, Scotch, and Irish. Immigrant families coming to this tiny village in the 1930s and 1940s were from Czechoslovakia. I greatly enjoyed writing about Christmas cooking and baking from those ethnicities. Throughout the twelve days of Christmas, as so many Czechoslovakian people did, heroine Katrina Lenart's family served walnut cookies sprinkled with confectioner sugar intended to look like snow. On New Year's Eve Mrs. Lenart served a confection much like a German chocolate cake and on New Year's Day, kolacky, a cream cheese cookie filled with raspberry jam.
In one of the early chapters, heroine Katrina Lenart perused their tree, decorated with her mother's prized beaded and/or hand blown Czechoslovakian glass ornaments. Her gaze fell to the sleeping orphan baby on the sofa, who's momma is the story's murder victim. Katrina wondered how this heinous crime would affect the little one's feelings about Christmas. Later in the book, there is an ice skating scene, and of course in the forties women wore special ice skating outfits on the ice.
GOODBYE NOEL is actually the second novel in the series. Story number one is BURNING HEARTS, which opens with arson/murder and develops into a gentle love story. Harley riding, WWII hero Lorne Kincade immediately falls for Erica Brogna when she flags him down to save her friend trapped in a burning house. PERILOUS SHADOWS, is more of a psychological whodunit. Pioneer newspaper woman Kiera Devane has a great many secrets and doesn't trust anyone, especially men. Ace radio broadcaster Argus Nye, who falls for her, finds he has to protect her as much from herself as from a killer. These novels were all released in ebook format. There is a fourth story, DARKEST HOUR which is scheduled for a February, 2013 release and features a young widow framed for murder.
I'm thrilled to announce that my publisher, Desert Breeze Publishing, will begin releasing the Sanctuary Point series in print in 2013. All in all, this has been a very blessed and exciting time for me.
I want to wish everyone a joyous and blessed Christmas…and a merry one, filled with love, tenderness, family and friends…and don't forget the love of pets at this season. I'm a huge animal lover. I also want to wish everyone a spiritually prosperous New Year, a flourishing and healthy one.
Like so many other writers, Nike Chillemi started writing at a very young age. She still has the Crayola, fully illustrated book she penned (penciled might be more accurate) as a little girl about her then off-the-chart love of horses. Today, you might call her a crime fictionista. Her passion is crime fiction. She likes her bad guys really bad and her good guys smarter and better.
She is the founding board member of the Grace Awards and its Chairman, a reader's choice awards for excellence in Christian fiction. She writes book reviews for The Christian Pulse online magazine. She was an Inspy Awards 2010 judge in the Suspense/Thriller/Mystery category and a judge in the 2011 and 2012 Carol Awards in the suspense, mystery, and romantic suspense categories. BURNING HEARTS is the first book in the crime wave that is sweeping the south shore of Long Island in The Sanctuary Point series, published by Desert Breeze. GOODBYE NOEL, the second book in the series released in December, 2011 won the Grace Award 2011 in the Mystery/Romantic Suspense/Thriller category. PERILOUS SHADOWS, the third in the series released in July, 2012. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and the Edgy Christian Fiction Lovers (Ning). http://nikechillemi.wordpress.com/
Purchase Links for Nike's Sanctuary Point Series