12 Days of Pioneer Christmas, Day 10: Anna Urquhart & A Silent Night

Today I have the joy of introducing Anna Urquhart, my fellow debut author from the collection!

1. What made you write about your period in time?

In light of the fact that we were looking at westward expansion, I wanted to find a focus of heading west that is often overlooked--travel by water. The Eric Canal opened in the 1830s which brought a flood of people into Michigan Territory and beyond. So that time period sparked my initial interest.

2. How is Christmas celebrated in your family and what effect did it have on your writing this story?

Christmas is always about family gathering, coming home from wherever they are. However, most of those traveling west didn't have that luxury. They had only each other and those they've met along the way, those who essentially have become family. So that is what I tried to capture in the Christmas story--the gathering and celebration of new-found family.

3. What research did you do to authenticate Christmas celebrations in your story?

Loads of research, specifically about Michigan Territory, went into this. As previously mentioned, families were forged on the frontier from more than just blood-ties, and it's curious to me how that seems to happen in times of struggle. Michigan Territory was quite wild at the time, with constant threat of weather, Indians, wild animals, and even trivial accidents that could change a person's life. I tried to capture that wildness throughout the story.

4. When you dreamed up your story idea, what came first, the time period, the story, the location?

Time period, followed by location. I had a vague idea of the story, but it grew out of the setting.

5. What was the "germ" of your story idea and how did you flesh it out?

The germ was putting a woman in the kind of situation most women fear: helplessness. It's an abstract fear, but on the frontier becomes tangible quite quickly.

6. Would you like to have been there?

A part of me itches to see what it would be like on the frontier struggling for survival--something I know absolutely nothing about. Yet I think within each of us is a desire to know what it is that we're made of, to see the exact boundaries of our strength and fortitude. However, my husband has assured me that I've not the makings of a frontierswoman, and I do believe he is right. I am quite handy with duct tape, though.

7. What aspects of your characters are reflected in yours?

I think I have my protagonist's propensity to second-guess herself. Additionally, I think that, as a result, she continues to drive toward self-reliance, posing an unwillingness to surrender to the guidance and strength of the Lord. I also gave my protagonist a daughter--whom I named after my own daughter--and my character's struggles, as you can imagine, quickly became personal.

8. Have you been to the locations in which your story is set?

The story begins in Edinburgh, Scotland, where my husband lived for many years and of which I have plenty of knowledge. Michigan, however, I visited only long ago--long before I knew I'd be setting a story there. And at my visit it completely lacked the wildness that Michigan once had.

9. What surprised you the most about your story?

The ending. It turned into a completely different kind of love story than even I had anticipated.

10. Would you have made a good pioneer?

Uh, no. Though I'd like to imagine I'd put on a good show while I lasted.

11. Were any of your ancestors pioneers? If so, where and when?

At one time my ancestors pioneered across the Atlantic from Germany and Switzerland, but never made it beyond Pennsylvania.

12. What spiritual themes did you deliberately incorporate into your story? Which ones did you discover later?

I had no clear spiritual theme as I began the story because I find that often the story itself has its own message it wants to forge. As I dug deeper into the story the theme of surrender seemed continually to appear, and it became clear that the direction the story wanted to take was too look at the age old decision faced by every one of us: to hope that our own strength is enough to sustain us or to surrender to the One who loves us, pursues us, and calls us by name.

To read more about Anna's story of writing A Silent Night for A Pioneer Christmas, see her blog post: http://bit.ly/14c5cAr. She's also doing a giveaway at her website: http://www.annaurquhart.com. She can be found on Twitter at https://twitter.com/anna_urquhart

Just two more days to go!!

12 Days of A Pioneer Christmas

Monday, August 19 12 Days of Christmas Introduction
Tuesday, August 20 Cynthia Hickey on cynthiahickey.blogspot.com
Wednesday, August 21 Kathleen Fuller on www.kathleenfuller.com
Thursday, August 22 Michelle Ule on michelleule.com
Friday, August 23 Marcia Garver on Yielded Quill
Saturday, August 24 Shannon McNear on www.shannonmcnear.com
Monday, August 26 Lauraine Snelling on michelleule.com
Tuesday, August 27 Kathleen Fuller on www.kathleenfuller.com
Wednesday, August 28 Vickie McDonough on www.shannonmcnear.com
Thursday, August 29 Anna Urquhart on The Silent Isle
Friday, August 30 Michelle Ule on Colonial Quills
Saturday, August 31 Michelle Ule on michelleule.com

Sunday, September 1

A Pioneer Christmas Collection Release!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. It was such fun "interviewing" with you today--you are a marvelous hostess. Thank you!

  2. Aww, thank *you,* Anna dear!

  3. I'm not sure where I'm supposed to be leaving comments...but just want to say how excited I am about the Pioneer Christmas Collection ! I absolutely love, love, love historical (romance) novels set in the 1800's ! Wendy

  4. Thank you for stopping by, Wendy! I hope you enjoy the collection! :-)

  5. Anonymous4:31 AM

    I'm so proud of you Shannon. I always knew you had it in you.

    David Burris

  6. Thanks so much, David. It was a long time coming!


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Christian Fiction Scavenger Hunt Stop #27

Merry Christmas! A free cookbook and a two-book raffle!

Blog Tour: The Most Eligible Bachelor!