Blending Christmas Classics: A Miser, A Manger, A Miracle

Posted by on Dec 9, 2016 | 13 comments

Blending Christmas Classics: A Miser, A Manger, A Miracle

Blending Christmas classics resulted in Marianne Jordan’s A Miser. A Manger. A Miracle.–a story for the ages. Mixing the biblical account of Jesus’ birth with Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol is sheer genius. You will love meeting Marianne and she is offering two print copies of  her book, just in time for Christmas! Leave a comment and check out the Rafflecopter at the bottom!


Fabulous Fridays

Blending Christmas Classics

Welcome back, Marianne! It’s been a couple of years since I last interviewed you, but A Miser, A Manger, A Miracle has become a Christmas classic in the meantime. Tell us a little about yourself and how this amazing Christmas story came about.

What ages did you have in mind when you wrote your book?

A MISER. A MANGER. A MIRACLE. is not a children’s book. I don’t hold back on Mary’s labor in the cave or the trial and crucifixion of Christ. I would say it’s fine for maybe 10-11 year olds on up. It’s a great book for parents to share with their kids. They can share what they think important and dilute those things they feel a bit too much for younger children.

Introduce us briefly to the main characters in A Miser. A Manger. A Miracle.

Ebenezer, the innkeeper, is the main character. But his assistant, Aaron comes in a close second. Mary and Joseph are the catalysts, in that they set the entire night of miracles in to motion.

Ebenezer doesn’t care about anything except getting rich. He sells animals to the Sanhedrin and lends money to the poor but has no problem sending them to prison when the payment is late. He takes advantage of people’s sorrows and poverty. He cares for no-one but himself, his wine, and his money.

His assistant Aaron has to have his job, but he despises it. Ebenezer humiliates him and treats him as subhuman. Aaron has a special needs son, but has no money to pay the doctors who might have the answers to heal his youngest his child. Aaron also has personal interactions with Mary and Joseph on a very personal level, especially Joseph. One of my favorite scenes in the book is a conversation between the two men. Though we’ll never know what Joseph felt during this point in his life, we have to believe he was overwhelmed. Who wouldn’t be?

There are other characters who show up throughout the book that have a major impact. Ebenezer’s nephew, Aaron’s family, and Gabriel and the three angels. We also get a good glimpse of King Herod and his paranoia and evil acts to keep his crown. The Sanhedrin was a group of pious, narcissistic men who felt they deserved to be in charge of the temple and all activities that went on there. They, too, have a role to play.

My biggest desire for those who read A MISER. A MANGER. A MIRACLE. is that they feel like they were there. I tried to do my homework and think I’ve given the readers an accurate portrait of what life was like then. The Romans made the Jews’ lives miserable and their hope for a deliverer was fading. I also tried to verbally paint a more realistic picture of Mary and Joseph.

First, Mary was probably a teenager. Can you imagine the emotions she must have felt? We probably can’t, in all honesty, come close. Unless, that is, we’ve been called to be God’s son’s mother. Then the couple had to travel more than a hundred miles to get to Bethlehem. And any woman who’s ever been nine months pregnant knows that trying to sleep comfortably on a good mattress is hard. Can you imagine how uncomfortable she would have been sleeping on the ground? And walking over the uneven, rocky roads in sandals or dangling her legs from a donkey while nine months pregnant had to be excruciating. And it’s not just Mary’s situation that we tend to gloss over.


What about Joseph? This man was expected to accept that his fiancé’, who’d been gone for three months, returns home pregnant and insisting God was the father. All I can say is that I wish I could have been a fly on the wall to hear that conversation! We aren’t told how many days passed before the angel appeared to Joseph to put his mind at ease. The poor man thought his choices were to send Mary away in shame, think her crazy and send her away, or have her stoned for adultery. Of course, he could have still married her, but knew Mary would be labeled and treated horribly. They would certainly have to move.

And what about the “stable” with Mary wearing blue and in a state of repose? The nativity scenes displayed in windows, churches, and our homes aren’t realistic. Stables were caves, and the only good thing about this one was that it was private. We tend to make them as clean and comfortable and clean as a room at the Holiday Inn! And Mary wouldn’t have worn blue. That was a color worn by those higher up on the financial chain. I want people to understand I tried to be accurate about Herod and the despicable actions by the Sanhedrin. And I don’t sugarcoat Jesus’ trial and crucifixion.

Though the book is a work of fiction, there is a great deal of true history in it. When Ebenezer is forced to experience the life of the baby he’s forced to be born in a cave, I try to be as accurate as possible. I know there will be many who disagrees with me, or who forget this is a work of fiction, but I truly did try to do my homework.

A MISER. A MANGER. A MIRACLE. is based on a classic piece of literature and the first documented Christmas. But it still is a work of fiction.

What do readers think of this unique blending of Christmas classics?

I’m blessed to be able to say that for the most part, the reviews have been positive. Out of five stars, and 240 reviews, I have a 4.8 rating. That’s extremely humbling. But one of the reviews that took me by surprise wasn’t written, but told to me directly. It came from one of my Beta readers. She said, “I’ll never look at Easter the same way again.” And she didn’t make a mistake. She meant Easter. It proved to me that this isn’t just a Christmas book. It reminded me that the reason Christians celebrate Christmas, is because of what Christ did at Easter.  Without His death and resurrection, Christmas would just be about shopping, presents, and Santa Claus.

What events in your personal life have most impacted your writing, and how?

A couple of things really stand out about how my personal life has been impacted by my writing. First thing that comes to mind is a little hard for me to write about, because I still find it difficult to put into words. People who know me well will understand it. And for those who don’t, please know that this isn’t how I usually talk about my relationship with Jesus Christ. But to make a long story short, it comes down to the fact that I don’t believe this was my story. I first wrote this book as a play in 1999. I was the director of a youth drama team and we were to perform a Christmas production. After searching through a long list of plays, I decided to write my own. I locked myself in the Holiday Inn Express and walked out two days later with ‘THE FIRST CHRISTMAS CAROL.’ I had to write parts for over thirty kids, so it wasn’t quite the story that ultimately became this book. But the basic premise was the same.

a-miser-a-manger-and-a-miracleI was encouraged for years to turn it into a book, but I never took it seriously. I’d dabble a bit, then shelve it again, only to take it out months later to give it another try. This went on for years. I just wanted to be done with it, but I kept feeling this nudge, which became a strong push from behind, to write the book. I kept putting the manuscript away, but I guess God had other plans. And that’s a brief summation of what happened. But that’s why I look at this book as God’s book. I gave up on it, but He had other plans. Maybe that’s why this second novel has taken so long. to finish! It’s more of mine to write, whereas this book was truly inspired. Again, I just don’t usually talk like this. I’m not one to declare to all who’ll listen that God wanted this story published! That He told me to write it. I’ve watched some writers use that line on editors before, and even those from Christian publishing houses aren’t always receptive to that argument. It doesn’t always translate into they have to publish your manuscript.

The second thing that stands out is that my mom died the same week my book came out. My husband had recently left the radio business after almost forty years. Looking back, it’s easy to see that it was an amazing example of how God’s timing is always perfect. You see, I don’t remember a thing about the book launch. Not the signings, interviews, or phone calls. It was only because of Bill’s guidance, and Jessica (our daughter) and Meaghan Burnett’s help that I functioned. I was on remote control. On one hand, it was a dream come true. On the other, I lost the woman who meant more to me than words can say. I didn’t just love her. I respected her and wanted to be more like her. She was incredible, outside and in. If Bill had been working he wouldn’t have been able to help me or promote the book. Again, God’s timing.

As I mentioned earlier, it took thirteen years for A MISER. A MANGER. A MIRACLE. to be be published. I want’ed to throw in the towel so often. But it was a lesson in not giving up. No matter what. Through trials or incredible moments, we must never give up on our dreams. Or God’s plans. He has a way of spiritually kicking you in the pants!

What are your hobbies, besides writing and reading?

When I’m not writing, I’m still pretty busy. Not in a bad way, but I have plenty to occupy my time. Before mom died, I was living up in VA almost as much as I was here in NC. She had Alzheimer’s and helped care for her. I was the child who “didn’t work.” I couldn’t expect anyone to take my writing seriously if I didn’t, though that changed drastically in 2010 when I started to attend writers conferences and I got an agent who picked me up. However, through really no fault of their own, I was still considered the one to have a lot of time on her hands. Now that things have settled down a bit, I’m able to do a little more of the things I truly enjoy. I love working in the yard. Being outside. Digging in the dirt relieves a lot of stress for me. It’s therapeutic. I also enjoy cutting the grass. I can use my time on the riding mower to either figure out problems, come up with ideas for plot lines, or letting my mind slip into neutral.

I also enjoy sports. I grew up in a family who was involved in all kinds of sports, from golf and horseback riding, to swimming, football, baseball, tennis, and basketball. I also grew up in a house of music. We all sang or played an instrument. Most thought I’d major in music when I left for college, but I had other plans, and majored in Speech Telecommunications and Business.

Cooking is another thing I enjoy. My mom was a tremendous cook and I guess I got it from her. I also enjoy going to movies. Traveling is a favorite thing to do when time and finances allow. Lots of things to do and see on my bucket list!

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?

You ask about the quirkiest thing I’ve ever done. I’m still thinking on that one. I don’t know if that means I’ve done so many things that they now seem normal, or I’ve yet to do something that would be described as quirky!

What projects do you have in the works right now?

Right now I’m in the middle of editing a novel. I actually had finished it and my agent was shopping it around, but I took it back earlier this year. I think I’m a better writer now and realized the book was lacking in several areas, that I’d skimmed over parts that needed more depth. And I felt there were some characters who I’d cheated. They deserved more time and attention. If it tells you how right I was, I actually was over a hundred pages in before I picked up the beginning of the original manuscript.

It’s about a watch that has passed down through three generations of women. I’d hoped to have it completed by Christmas, but since my editing has almost become a rewrite, I’m not sure it’s going to happen.

Please share one of your favorite scenes from A Miser. A Manger. A Miracle. with us.

I wish I could tell you about my favorite scene from the book, but because it’s such a turning point in the book, I don’t want to give anything away. Let’s just say it the boat scene with Jesus and the disciples in the boat in the middle of the storm. Another is takes place in Ebenezer’s home when he and Gabriel have their first real encounter. And one more takes place at the well in the middle of Bethlehem. It’s a conversation between Aaron and Joseph.

I know you asked for just one scene, but those are my three favorite. All are very different, offering a different layer to the overall story.

Book blurb:

A MISER. A MANGER. A MIRACLE. asks the question: What if there really was room eat the inn? The story combines a timeless piece of classic literature with the first documented Christmas story. As weary travelers descend on Bethlehem, a greedy, despicable innkeeper is determined to profit from their Roman persecution. But he has no idea that he is about to experience a night that will change the world forever.

About the author:

MarianneJordanAuthorHeadshot copy (1)Marianne was born in Tennessee, but grew up in the Commonwealth of Virginia. She graduated from Radford University with degrees in both Speech Telecommunications and Business. After graduation, she immediately began a career in radio where she met her husband, radio personality, Bill Jordan while on the air together in Roanoke, Virginia. When an engagement was imminent, she resigned and became the first Director of Development for SW Virginia Public Radio.

They moved to Charleston, SC where she became the PR Director for the Charleston Carriage Company. While there, she had the opportunity to work with television director, David Wolper on the sets of the mini-series, North and South. She will never forget watching the transformation of words on a page into a living, breathing scene. Her dream is to do the same with THE FIRST CHRISTMAS CAROL.

She now calls North Carolina home. She has a daughter, who is a successful Metal-smith and Jewelry Designer. They are also blessed to have a grandson, who has his parents’ creativity and his mom’s sense of humor. They will welcome a granddaughter in 2017.

Connect with Marianne:



Twitter: Marianne Jordan@MJordanTFCC

Website: Please excuse the mess. I’m in the middle of redoing it. I’ll be sure to announce when it’s done! But feel free to check it out.

Book link:a-miser-a-manger-and-a-miracle



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  1. I agree that we tend to make Christ’s birth pretty and clean when it was anything but that. Certainly want to read this!

    • Thank you Joan. I hope you enjoy it.

  2. So need to read this book. Definitely sounds like a more realist version of the true story.

    • I hope you like it. Thank you for checking in.

  3. The true story of Christ! And what is Christmas about! Not santa.

  4. I really want to read this! 😀

    • I hope you like it!

  5. I like how this book sounds so unique and though-provoking!

    • I hope you’ll tell me what you think should you read it.

  6. I enjoy books set in biblical time and about biblical characters. Your book sounds really interesting and different. I look forward to reading it. Thanks for the chance to win.

    • I hope you get a chance. I think it changes how one my think of Christmas and Easter. Thank you for checking in.

  7. I look forward to seeing the experiences of the story from the Bible given hands and feet we can more easily relate to in a real and personal way.

    • I hope it offers all you hope for. As I’ve heard from so many, they will never look at Christmas or Easter the same way again.
      Merry Christmas!

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