Today’s guest is Debbie Lynne Costello, whose short story “The Letter” appears in this year’s Guideposts’ A Cup of Christmas Cheer: Heartwarming Tales of Christmas Past. Debbie shares the inspiration behind her WWII Christmas story.
Here’s Debbie Lynne:
Thank you so much for having me on your blog, Johnnie. I’m excited to chat with your readers! You asked me to tell you what led me to write ‘The Letter’ and I’m happy to share that with you and your readers.
I have a strong sense of patriotism. Military service can be traced in my family’s genealogy all the way back to the Revolutionary War where my 5th great grandfather and his three brothers fought for our freedom. With a husband who served in the Air Force when we married, a father who served in the Navy Reserves, a son who served in the Navy, and uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews, and grandfathers having served in all branches of our armed forces, I find my mind wandering to all the valiant heroes who have fought through the years for the freedom we enjoy.
When I was attempting to come up with a Christmas story for Guideposts Books, my thoughts went to our military heroes and my great uncle who fought in World War II, but never made it home. I began to think what if… I won’t tell you the what if’s I asked because I don’t want to spoil the story for you, but that is where that little spark of an idea started.
I knew the story needed more than just a World War II widow and two children continuing on with their lives to keep a story going. I needed conflict. I thought back to stories I’d heard on family strife that could add to this story. I remembered hearing of discord caused from a mother-in-law who felt her daughter-in-law wasn’t good enough for her son. She’d planned on him marrying a family friend’s daughter.
The true story didn’t end that well, but I started asking the what if questions again. What if both the widow and her in-laws received letters and each think the other has initiated reconciliation? What if the daughter-in-law came to visit the week before Christmas and felt unwanted? And what if the father-in-law wanted the reconciliation more than either of the women? That was just the conflict I needed.
In writing my story that began with what ifs, my characters learn what true forgiveness and reconciliation is all about. I had a chance to give everyone a happy ending and hopefully the readers a few surprises.
I’m super excited to be giving away a signed copy of A Cup of Christmas Cheer with my story ‘The Letter’. To enter, please answer one or both of these questions:
- What was your favorite Christmas gift?
- Have you ever received a gift that was a total surprise?
Looking forward to hearing your responses!
A recent WWII widow receives a mysterious letter seeking reconciliation with her in-laws, but when she goes for a visit only her father-in-law seems to be interested in mending fences. As the days pass, mother-in-law and daughter-in-law learn a little about themselves and the true meaning of forgiveness.
Here is the link to buy the A Cup of Christmas Cheer set: https://www.shopguideposts.org/christmascheerblog
Debbie Lynne Costello has enjoyed writing stories since she was about eight years old. She raised her family and then embarked on her own career of writing the stories that had been begging to be told. She and her husband have four children and live in upstate South Carolina. She has worked in many capacities in her church and is currently the Children’s Director. Debbie Lynne has shown and raised Shetland sheepdogs for eighteen years and still enjoys litters now and then. In their spare time, she and her husband enjoy camping and riding their Arabian and Tennessee Walking horses.
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Remember to answer one or both of Debbie Lynne’s questions to be in the drawing for your own signed copy of A Cup of Christmas Cheer. Please leave your comment before Sunday evening at midnight. The winner will be announced on Monday, December 8th.