A Christmas Chance by Laura Hodges Poole

Posted by on Nov 21, 2014 | 10 comments

A Christmas Chance by Laura Hodges Poole

It’s that time again! What better way to get in the mood than a new Christmas novel? My guest today is author, Laura Hodges Poole. I know you will enjoy getting to know her!

Enter to win a copy of A Christmas Chance by Laura Hodges Poole by using the Rafflecopter at the bottom of the page!  Deadline is 11/27. (Contest limited to residents of the continental US)


Fabulous Fridays


Laura, tell us how you started writing.

Once I learned how to write, the urge to create stories soon followed. My earliest memories include trying to write “books.” I made little books of cut up paper with cardboard covers filled with crayoned illustrations and penciled words. I still have one of these books, and it looks as funny as it sounds…But as a young adult, how to become published was a mystery. We didn’t have internet, so you went to the library and looked up publishers and submission guidelines. I didn’t spend much time at it because I was busy raising kids. In 2006, I submitted for a local newspaper contest for a murder mystery serial. I won and ended up writing six of the twelve chapters during the year. Next I wrote an op-ed piece on poorly planned urban development that elicited much debate within our community. Many nasty and praiseworthy comments were made about me in the public forum, which gave me a little taste of the thick skin needed to be a writer. Later, I met the newspaper’s publisher at a charity function, and he extended an invitation for me to freelance.


But my real passion had always been fiction. I studied my craft, honed my skills, attended writers’ conferences, joined A Christmas Chancecritique groups, and learned to network. I started getting requests for full manuscripts from proposals I’d sent to publishers, and then in 2011, I signed with an agent, though we’ve recently split. I’ve spent this year reassessing my future writing goals, and part of this was publishing “A Christmas Chance,” followed by “While I’m Waiting,” a devotional book set to release in January 2015.



Who was the first author who inspired you to write?

I’ve always wanted to write, even as a child. So probably my earliest influences were Laura Ingalls Wilder and then as a teen, Carolyn Keene, who I learned later was actually a pseudonym for a team of writers who authored the Nancy Drew books. I loved a good mystery.



How did you come up with the idea for “A Christmas Chance?”

I was asked to participate in a pitch for a traditional publisher who planned to publish a Christmas collection. The competition was fierce, as you can imagine, with well-known published authors participating. I came up with the idea as I do most of my ideas. I sit at the keyboard and start typing whatever comes to mind. As a “pantser” the synopsis for the story just flowed through me. It’s a God-thing, really. The inspiration for “A Christmas Chance” came from the brokenness I see in the world around me. So many people go through the holiday season feeling depressed. Some of this comes from within, broken dreams, unfulfilled goals or desires, and loneliness for family. Some of this comes from never having a family of one’s own. The desire to have children is instilled in women by God, and like Hannah (Samuel’s mom) in the Bible, many women would do just about anything to become a mother. Their empty hearts become even bigger during Christmas when other families have children to celebrate with. On the other side are the children who lose parents or are in the foster care or adoption system, and often they don’t get a fair shake from the beginning of life.



What character in your most recent novel is most like you? Was that intentional, or did it just come about in the course of the writing? 

The main character, Maddie, is probably most like me. It wasn’t intentional, but as writers, we can’t help but share some qualities with our characters. She likes to help others, worries about the future, tries to trust God but sometimes gets in her own way, but in the end, her faith leads her to the answer God wants for her.



 You also work as an editor. How do you balance your family time, work time, and writing time? Balance is tough. I always try to put family ahead of everything else, but as a self-employed business owner and a writer, sometimes deadlines dictate that work comes first. I just do a lot of praying and strive for balance as best I can.



Since “A Christmas Chance” is a Christmas novella, did your own family Christmas traditions influence it in any way? If so, how?

Maybe a little. The scene where the characters gather for Christmas Eve does reflect my own childhood of going to Christmas Eve candlelight church service. Now my family does exchange our gifts on Christmas Eve and Christmas morning. My children always wanted to “stretch out” opening their gifts.



What do you want your readers to gain by reading your book? I hope readers will take away the message of Ephesians 3:20—that God is able to do more than we can imagine. Now, this doesn’t always match our answer to prayer. We tend to pray and offer the solution to God at the same time. If only you would do this…What I pray people will understand as they read this is that God does answer prayer in His perfect timing. Often the answer to prayer is dependent on our willingness to be flexible in our expectations and accept what God sees as the best solution. In doing so, we find that He does come through in immeasurable ways.



Often we desire to teach a lesson in and through our writing, but we as writers also learn something. What was one thing you learned while writing “A Christmas Chance?”

It was an old lesson, actually. God reaffirmed that He is able to do more than we can imagine (Eph. 20). I was juggling a lot of different projects, taking a tough college class, and running a small business while writing the novella. When I look back, I’m not quite sure how I accomplished everything I did this year, but it was proof that God’s hand was in all of it.



What other books have you written, whether published or not? What is your next project? Can you tell us something about it?

I’ve written three full-length manuscripts that are Christian romance and women’s fiction. While I still plan to pursue the path of traditional publication in the coming year, and currently have these manuscripts under consideration, my next self-published work will be a devotional that will release in January 2015 entitled “While I’m Waiting,” which will delve into the trials we all walk through while waiting for God to answer prayer. Some of the devotions are anecdotal, sharing from my life experiences, and others are more the typical Bible study devotions.



Share your book blurb with us. 

Distraught that she and her husband are facing another childless Christmas, bakery owner Maddie Oliver tries to rescue every needy child who crosses her path. As the couple jumps each hurdle to adopt or become foster parents, they’re always disappointed. Then eight-year-old Chance Simmons comes into Oliver’s Bakery with his elderly grandmother, and Maddie is immediately smitten. Chance’s impish personality draws her in. Determined to stop focusing on her own problems, Maddie sets out to make this the best Christmas ever for the little boy and his ailing grandmother. What she doesn’t count on is him capturing her heart in the process. Will God orchestrate an even bigger Christmas gift than Maddie could imagine, or will she lose Chance for good when the Simmons family suffers a setback?



Please share with us the first chapter of your book.

The first chapter can be read by going to Amazon and clicking on the Kindle preview. Here’s the link: http://www.amazon.com/Christmas-Chance-Laura-Hodges-Poole-ebook/dp/B00P33UPIG/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1415714638&sr=1-1&keywords=a+christmas+chance



About the author:

Laura Hodges PooleLaura Hodges Poole is a freelance writer with dozens of articles, devotions, and short stories in publication. She is a 2014 ACFW Genesis semi-finalist and a 2012 RWA Emily finalist in Christian fiction. Laura is also a non-fiction ghostwriter/collaborator. Her passion is encouraging others in their Christian walk through her blog, “A Word of Encouragement.” She may be contacted at laurapoole565@gmail.com. Follow her on Twitter @ Laura_Poole. Her upcoming devotional, “While I’m Waiting,” will release in January 2015.

How can readers find you on the Internet? 

Website: http://laurahodgespoole.blogspot.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/#!/LauraHodgesPoole

Twitter: @Laura_Poole

Google+: https://plus.google.com/111798263903675943750/posts  
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  1. I really enjoyed your interview! Thanks for sharing Norma & Laura!

    • I’m glad you enjoyed the interview. Thanks for stopping by.

  2. What a very interesting interview. Love reading about others lives. Thank you for sharing.

  3. Thank you for sharing the interview! I know the author and she is an outstanding Christian woman who passionately shares the love of a Jesus with others.

    • Thanks for visiting the blog and leaving a comment!

  4. What a great concept for a book. There is so much pain in childlessness, and I love to hear stories of ‘found’ families. Thanks for sharing this great interview! #landofmydreams

    • As an adoptive mom of two I can identify. Thanks for stopping by. I hope you’ll visit again sometime.

  5. Wonderful interview. Laura, I do believe that in today’s society with instant gratification that people often get discouraged when their prayers aren’t instantly answered with the answer they want or expect. We are told in the Bible to “be still and know that I am God”. I feel this is God telling us to be patient and know that he is in control on his own timetable. Thank you for sharing. Blessings

  6. the story looks wonderful! I’ve a nephew who is adopted, and some close friends who are in the process of adopting. It’s a topic dear to my heart.

  7. What a great book this sounds like. I would love to have the opportinity to read it.

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