Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Author Spotlight - Merry Christmas from Maria Hammarblad - Christmas in Sweden

Merry Christmas! I am honored to be here on the Desert Breeze Publishing blog on Christmas Day. Regardless of what you celebrate this holiday season, I hope it finds you well.

I’ve always been especially fond of this time a year. For a few days, life slows down to a pleasant pace and most people make an extra effort to be nice. Even those who normally steal parking spots from old ladies make an effort to behave and be kind. Imagine if we could keep this spirit all around the year!

I’m Swedish originally, and our Christmas habits are just different enough from the American to confuse me. Like… We celebrate Christmas Eve, handing the presents out late in the afternoon. No stockings, just presents. We have Santa nowadays, but when my mom was a little girl, back in the 1940’s, her family still adhered to an older Scandinavian tradition with a goat bringing presents. Many homes still have a symbolic straw goat we call “julbock” and many of our Christmas cards are decorated with a santa-like little man accompanied by a goat. One of these santas – well, we call them “tomte” -- were thought to live secretly on each farm in the countryside, helping the farmer care for crops and animals. Better stay on his good side, or he might not help!

Most homes put the tree up December 23rd, and we keep all decorations up until January 13th. On that day we have a ceremony called “Julgransplundring” – plundering the tree. It’s a festivity mostly for the kids, with lots of candy and games.

Even though I’ve been in the US since late 2008, I’m still in the Swedish rhythm. Early December my husband fidgets because we don’t have any Christmas stuff up. I’ll say, “But… It’s so early.” A couple of days into January each year, he says we have to do something, because everyone else already took all the lights down. I’ll be like, “C’mon, it’s just the third. They can sit for another couple of weeks.” Back home I’d happily leave them up until February, but I wouldn’t dream of putting them up before Christmas. When I look around I see he’s right; we’ll be the only ones with lights and glitter, and people in passing cars stare.

This difference in rhythm shines through in my writing. My novel Undercover starts just after Christmas, when the main character Jenny returns to work after a well-deserved break. Observant readers will note I claim she took a vacation between Christmas and New Year’s, and when she returns, all decorations in the office are still up. No one moves a finger to take them down. I didn’t even consider people here might find it odd.

Book trailer link: http://youtu.be/YePFbRgPP9o

Review snippets:

"This book was riveting and just when you are sure you know what to expect, Hammarblad completely takes you by surprise with an incredible finale. Amazingly fun and enjoyable" -- Mrs. Michael, reader

"You easily connect with the characters and feel the tension of their various situations - You will be guessing at the outcome, which is very original! Well worth reading!" -- Robin Olsson, reader

Buy link: http://amzn.com/B0098TGWTW

Find me on the web:
Website: http://www.hammarblad.com
Blog: http://www.scifiromance.info
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mariahammarblad
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/mariahammarblad

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