Q&A: Anita Higman (A Merry Little Christmas)
Q: What inspired you to incorporate Jim Crow Laws
and segregation into your book?
Even though A Merry Little Christmas is really a love
story, I felt it needed some additional conflict; and
some of the racial struggles of the ’60s seemed to be
the right choice for this particular plot. I grew up in the
’60s, and I always was interested in the African-American
Civil Rights Movement. In some ways, I feel I’ve
waited my whole life to write this book. It came easily
to me in that it’s been percolating in my imagination for
a long time, but it was also hard to write because I had
to consider more deeply the injustices of that era. Even
though it sounds like a cliché, A Merry Little Christmas
truly was the book of my heart.
Q: The farm scenes seem pretty realistic. Did you
grow up in the country?
I did. While the small towns in the book are totally fictitious, I grew
up on a wheat, cattle, pig and chicken farm in western Oklahoma; and
it was pretty much identical to the one in the novel. If the farm scenes
seem realistic, it’s because I got to know farm life quite well before I
moved off to college at 18.
Q: Franny and Charlie come from very different backgrounds, but
both are looking for something very different from the way they’ve
grown up. Do you think as humans we all just have a grass-is-always-greener-on-the-other-side mentality?
Yes, that is a human frailty that is easy to
succumb to; and I’ve been guilty of it, as
well. God is good about reminding me He’s
placed me on my own unique life-road, and
it may have little to do with anyone else’s
journey. Besides, in many cases when we
get a closer look at someone else’s lush
green grass, it usually turns out to be turf.
Q: Do you think sometimes we don’t pray
for what we want because we are afraid of
getting what we pray for?
Perhaps that’s true, which would explain
why Franny is equally nervous and excited
about the sudden answer to her prayers.
Q: Was there a reason you added the themes
of Christmas and music to the story?
My editor asked me to add those elements,
and it was a blessing as Christmas is my
favorite time of year and I love music. Also,
female readers in general love novels that
are set during the holidays; I’m hoping
the music adds a cozy feel to the overall
Q: What is your favorite Christmas song?
“The Holly and the Ivy.” The song has a
melancholy feel to it, but it’s also beautifully
sweet. I love the Currier and Ives-style
pictures my imagination conjures up when
I’m listening to it.
Q: What is your favorite Christmas tradition?
I love to have my gal friends over for
brunch around Christmastime. I have been
collecting tea dishes for many years, and
so when I do a brunch, I go all out. Women
are usually in a service mode most of their
lives, so when they come to my house I
want them to feel wonderfully pampered.
By the time they leave, I hope their hearts
are a little merrier and they feel we’ve celebrated
Q: Is Franny’s character based on any real
Franny is like me in some ways, but she has
a lot more courage than I have and more
laughter in her heart. So, really, I want to
be Franny when I grow up.
Q: Does the song “Have Yourself a
Merry Little Christmas” have a special
significance to you?
The song makes me swoon; it’s so romantic
and lovely. It makes me think of being
snowed-in with the man I love. Of course,
that scene also needs a mountain cabin with
a crackling fire and two mugs of wassail.
Q: You have written everything from
romance to suspense/thrillers to nonfiction.
What is your favorite genre to write?
I love inspirational romance. There’s just
nothing else like it for writing and reading.
It naturally makes you want to curl up on
an overstuffed couch and read the day away.