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20 December 2014

Michelle Houts WINTERFROST - Guest Post and Giveaway

Michelle Houts is our guest poster today - take it away Michelle!
WINTER is here…
      It doesn’t seem that long ago that we were sweating out the doggiest dog days of summer. But summer does turn to fall. And, eventually, fall always gives way to winter. It’s the order of things. It’s just the way it happens. My third middle grade novel was released recently. WINTERFROST (Candlewick Press) is a tale that ruminated for more than 20 years in this author’s brain. It has its origins in Danish folklore and modern tradition. It comes from stories told to me as a young American visitor to an enchanted Scandinavian county and from pictures and legends sent across oceans for many years to follow.
      Here’s the folklore: On Christmas Eve, it is customary, required even, to set a steaming bowl of rice pudding in the barn for the nisse, a small gnome-like being who resides on the Danish farm, looking after the animals and the family. Humble servants, nisse require very little to be happy. The rice pudding is enough.
      Here’s the modern tradition: The Danish value fresh air. Don’t we all? you’re asking. Well, yes. But my Danish friends open windows in winter. Young and old, everyone needs fresh air in their lungs. And, Danish babes nap outdoors. Yes, even on cold, snowy days. The snuggle up in the warmth of their carriages and they sleep the afternoon away outdoors.
      My friend sent me this picture a few years ago.
      And here’s where the two collide: As authors, especially authors of books for children, it’s our right responsibility to ask “What if…?” What if a Danish family forgot to leave their nisse rice pudding on Christmas Eve? What could happen? What if a baby left out to nap disappeared while peacefully slumbering? What if that baby were in the care of her sister? How would she find the baby? Where would she look? Because even in the white of winter, the forest can be so dark. What if…
      And the book is the result.

      In WINTERFROST, Bettina’s parents are suddenly called away on Christmas Eve. It’s a bit chaotic and important traditions are forgotten – including the rice pudding for the nisse. When the frosty air settles, Bettina is feeling quite proud of herself and the way she has taken care of her younger sister and the farm chores in her parents’ absence. It appears all is well on the sleepy island of Lolland. But, when baby Pia disappears during an afternoon nap, everything changes.
      I hope many young readers will follow Bettina into the forest as she searches for her baby sister in a blur of frost and leaves and roots and cider in a world she barely believes exists.
      And, I hope aspiring writers will follow me to a place where we sit ourselves down, roll up our sleeves, and answer those unanswered “what ifs.”
      Because the worst question I can think of is “What if we didn’t tell the tales that knock on our hearts and beg to be told? What if…?”

GIVEAWAY!
     Candlewick has kindly agreed to send a free copy of WINTERFROST to one of my lucky followers. Must live in the US to win. Enter below:

15 comments :

apple blossom said...

This sounds like a fun book thanks for the chance to win a copy

bn100 said...

Cute cover

Tarissa G said...

I've been wanting to read this book. Looks super cute!

apple blossom said...

love to share this with students I teach thanks

AnimalAuthor said...

I'm having a craving for rice pudding!

Darlene Mergendahl said...

Fresh fallen snow on the trees and frost on the windows is one of the most beautiful sights to see. And new books is even better than that! Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and a Happy New Year.

SiskiyouSue said...

I remember reading something about the nisse many years ago, should be fun to read again! Who doesn't love a good tradition that leads to an adventure or mystery!

Stephenie said...

My kids love books! Winterfrost looks like a great holiday book!

Anonymous said...

Winterfrost looks like a perfect book to read with some hot chocolate!
marypopmom (at) yahoo (dot) com
Merry

apple blossom said...

lovely interview thanks for sharing with us and the chance to win a copy of your book

AprilsL8 said...

Looks like a great book for my library!

ee5943ac-88aa-11e3-9bc2-000f20980440 said...

Such an interesting sounding "What if..."! But since it also contains Christmas traditions, you have a built in audience with younger readers! Thanks so much for the opportunity!

Brooke Bumgardner said...

I love this! It looks like the perfect winter read. The cover is beautiful.

apple blossom said...

Thanks for the giveaway and Merry Christmas to you

apple blossom said...

Blessed New Year to you

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