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10 Questions for Sheila Roberts

Before becoming a writer in 1989, bestselling author Sheila Roberts owned a singing telegram company and performed in a band. Since then, two of Roberts’ books have made it to the television screen: On Strike for Christmas appeared on the Lifetime Channel, and The Nine Lives of Christmas became a Hallmark Channel movie. Roberts now spends her days (and some nights, depending on her deadlines) in her home near a lake in the Pacific Northwest, happily writing about family, friendship, love, and chocolate. She spoke with us about romance, the holidays, and why, when it comes to giving advice, mom is always right. 

JOHN CHARLES: Who is Sheila Roberts?

SHEILA ROBERTS: I’ve been writing all my life. I was writing stories even as a child. My poor fourth grade class was a captive audience. Looking back, I feel sorry for those kids. I love writing, but I also love songwriting, and was trying to make it big as a songwriter long before the writing career came along. I still dabble in it. One of my songwriting buddies and I even made a music video a few years back to go with my novel Merry Ex-mas. (Check out “Merry Christmas Mama” on Youtube!)

I have the heart of a jock, but not quite the coordination to match. I love to play games, have parties, hang out with family and friends, and I still dream of getting on Dancing with the Stars. I’m beginning to suspect that might not happen. (Maybe it’s just as well. If I went down for the splits I might never come up again.)

 

Tell us about your new book, Christmas in Icicle Falls.

I’m excited about this book because I love the underlying theme of looking for the best in people (even when it’s hard to find). It all starts with an ugly artificial tree one of my characters orders online. Rather than toss the thing, she decides to turn it into something beautiful. That tree experiment becomes an inspiration for several of the women of Icicle Falls. Of course, inspiration and reality can be two different things. Does the ugly tree principle apply when you live next door to a Scrooge? When your son has married the woman of your nightmares? And what about that man you’ve taken for granted for so many years? Needless to say, I had fun with this plot.

 

Where did the idea of Icicle Falls originate?

Leavenworth, Washington was the inspiration for this town. Like Icicle Falls, it’s charming, a Bavarian town nestled in the Cascades with gorgeous scenery, cute shops, and lovely people. The town was on the verge of extinction in the sixties, but its people brought it back to life. These days, it’s a popular destination spot, especially at Christmas, when the whole town turns into a magical snow globe.

 

Your new book is all about the holiday season. Do you have any holiday traditions of your own you would like to share?

Extended family always gathers on Christmas Eve, which is a time for noisy games, singing Christmas Carols, and listening while the eldest in the family reads the story of the first Christmas from the Bible. Christmas Day, we’re with our kids, and there must be red velvet cake. One year, I tried something different, and boy, did I hear about that.

 

Describe your writing style in three words.

Fun, hopeful. . . um, three? Would you settle for two?

 

What is the best piece of advice you have ever received in your life?
Pretty is as pretty does. (Turns out my mom was right about that.)

 

What is one romance novel everyone should read and why?

Georgette Heyer’s The Masqueraders, because it is romantic in the broadest sense of the word, with lots of swash, heroism, and true love.

 

If they were to make a movie of your life, which actress would you cast to play yourself?

Lucille Ball. Oh, too late for her, huh? Okay, then, Sandra Bullock. I always wanted to look like her.

 

What is next for you as an author?

Thanks for asking. I’m excited to be starting a new series in the imaginary town of Moonlight Harbor. The first book, Welcome to Moonlight Harbor, will be out this spring.

 

How can readers learn more about your books and connect with you?

Come to the Sheila Roberts like page on Facebook where I’m working on world domination. (https://www.facebook.com/funwithsheila/). And readers are sure to find lots of recipes contests and blogs on my website: http://www.sheilasplace.com

I love hanging out with my readers and have made so many wonderful friends over the years. And I’m always up for making more!

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About the Author:

The Romance Writers of America 2002 Librarian of the Year, Charles has been reviewing romances for Booklist since 1999 and is the author of Romance Today: An A to Z Guide to Contemporary American Romance. After working for the Scottsdale Public Library System for 30 years, Charles retired and went to work for Scottsdale's independent bookstore the Poisoned Pen, where he still gets to push books but has to deal with far fewer computer questions.

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