Monday, December 21, 2015

A Semi-Precious Christmas

     On a bright, crisp December morning, jewelry store manager, Peridot Keaton-Jones, arrives at work expecting to find her beloved uncle, Marty. Instead, she’s greeted by the muzzle of a gun pressed to her temple. When thugs assault her, threaten her life, and steal thousands of dollars worth of jewelry, Peri can only pray her uncle is late for the first time in his life.
     Christopher Lane is a TV news cameraman in the right place at the right time. He witnesses the heist, calls the police, and offers help when Peri needs it most. She can't deny her attraction, but is he really her hero, or is he just after a story? 
And with Christmas right around the corner, can Peri and Chris avert a holiday disaster?
     To start off Christmas week, Wild Women Authors is pleased to welcome back Jan Elder and Peridot Keaton-Jones from Jan's holiday release, A Semi-Precious Christmas. We'll start with Peri.
Where are you from? I was born and raised in central Maryland and I still live in the same town I grew up in. Why would I want to leave a place that makes me happy?
Tell us a bit about A Semi-Precious Christmas. Now there’s a story! Let me tell you how my day started awhile back. A couple of weeks before Christmas I was opening up the jewelry store where I’m the manager. I was just minding my own business when, suddenly, the cold steel of a gun pressed hard against my temple. Then a gloved hand covered my mouth and said, “Keep your mouth shut and turn off the alarm. We won’t hurt you if you play nice. All we’re after is the jewelry.”
Well, as you can imagine, I was scared out of my mind. It’s not every day your life is threatened. But that’s how I met Chris. So in the end, it was a good thing.
What did you think the first time you saw Chris Lane? My first thought as he stood at the door to the shop in the middle of the robbery was “for goodness sake, man, get down before this psycho shoots you.”
Makes sense to us. And your second thought? Well, he caught my eye because he was really cute, but what I noticed even more was his adorable little girl, Maggie. Chris’s first thought was to get her to safety when he saw the thugs. Men who are good fathers make me misty eyed.
Did you feel it was love at first sight? Not exactly, but there was certainly interest. Still, I couldn’t help but wonder why he was going out of his way to help me. Cynical, huh? I’m working on that.
What do you like most about Chris? It would be hard not to like a guy who swooped in and rescued me. He’s just that kind of guy—the one you can’t help but be aware of because he’s thoughtful, kind, smart, oh yeah, and cute!
How would you describe him? Chris is also the type of guy who endures the embarrassment for wearing a hideous purple tie just to make his five-year-old daughter happy. He laughs a lot and doesn’t take himself too seriously. I like that in a man.
How would Chris describe you? He calls me his honey bunny. Makes me smile.
What made you choose managing a jewelry store as a career? My uncle Marty owns the story. And hey, my name is Peridot, the August birthstone. Where else would I work? It’s a blast selling beautiful things to happy customers.
What is your biggest fear? I’ve always wanted to be a mother and have kids. I guess I’m afraid that’s never going to happen. At least I was. Before Chris. Okay, I’m blushing now.
How do you relax, Peri? With a slammin’ good book, two warm cats, and a hot cup of tea.
Who is your favorite fictional character and why? Ever see the TV special, “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”? There’s just something about seeing Rudolph mooning over his true-love Clarice that makes me get all squishy inside. Goofy to be romantic over something as simple as that, huh? And the Island of Misfit toys? That’s a Christian message if I ever heard one.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received? God knows what He’s doing so relax and let him take the wheel.
Terrific advice to end this part of the conversation. Thanks, Peri. Now let's talk with Jan about what movies or books have had an impact on her career as a writer and why. When the movie, “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”, did so well at the box office, it reminded me that the world really does love a good romance. When I made my first attempt at writing a book six years ago, romance spilled from my fingertips—ok, the words stuttered and stopped with the occasional gush—so I write what makes me happy.
What event in your private life were you able to bring to this story and how do you feel it impacted the novel? I got the idea for the book from an incident featured on the local news. Right down the street from where my husband and I live, thugs robbed a high-end jewelry store, getting away with thousands of dollars worth of jewelry. We stopped by a few days later and the saleswoman [whom we’re friends with] told us the whole story, including her terror at having a gun pointed at her face.
     I got to thinking how I would feel and react if I were in the same situation. I put myself in my friend’s shoes and tried to relive the moment. What thoughts ran through her mind when confronted with her own mortality? What kind of people were the robbers? Had they been in jail before? Had they hurt anyone else? Everyone has good sides and bad sides. I wanted the reader to wonder, was there any good in them?
Tell us a bit about your publisher: how did you hear about them and what influenced your decision to submit to them? A few years ago, I was meeting with a few other ACFW members (American Christian Fiction Writers) and a fellow writer mentioned that Pelican Book Group was searching for authors. When I got home, I found that Pelican/White Rose publishing has a lovely website with a terrific handy-dandy info all about their requirements.
     I was fortunate that they decided to publish my first novella, Manila Marriage App, and later, I noticed they also had a Christmas Extravaganza line. I read a few of the holiday books to get a feel for what they were looking for, and sat down to write my own Christmas story. Writing A Semi-Precious Christmas, was lots of fun. And hey, I got to research jewelry. How much fun was that!
     As an aside, if you are a writer, Pelican is still taking submissions. You might want to check it out! If you are a reader, check out the whole line of Christmas romances. Good stuff.
What project[s] are you working on now? I’m working on edits with Prism Book Group for my third book, Love, Lies, and Fireflies—release date 9/2/16. LLF is a full-length contemporary Christian romance novel with elements of suspense. I had a fine time writing some of the scarier scenes (but not too scary.) Can’t wait until September!
What's up next for you? I’ve started a new book tentatively titled, A Semi-Sweet Romance, set in a chocolate shop. Speaking of fun research…!

To purchase “A Semi-Precious Christmas”, go to:

To connect with Jan, go to:


  1. Great character interview!
    Good luck and God's blessings.

    1. Thanks, Pam, and Merry Christmas! You're the best. :)

  2. A Semi-Precious Christmas sounds wonderful--seasonal, romantic and action-packed with a robbery. Merry Christmas to you!

    1. Thanks, Susan! SPC was lots of fun to write. All the best to you this Christmas season!

  3. Interesting character interview and author information. A Semi-Precious Christmas sounds like a great Christmas read,going to go check it.

    1. Thanks for visiting Wild Women! Merry Semi-Precious Christmas to you and yours.

  4. Always enjoy meeting the characters. Sending Christmas wishes!

    1. Thanks, Diane. Merry Christmas wishes winging back to you!

  5. Yeah, I'd be up for that semi-sweet research! Sounds like a cute book. Best wishes for you and A SEMIPRECIOUS CHRISTMAS!

    1. I'm going to be visiting a chocolate truffle shop in the area in a couple of weeks. And I get to help make them! Yum. Merry Christmas to you.

    2. My birthday's in August, so of course I love Peri's name. Merry Christmas, Jan!