‘Tis The Season: Authors Talk Holidays 2016 With Ashley Herring Blake

‘Tis The Season: Authors Talk Holidays is a special seasonal feature on Pop! Goes The Reader in which some of my favourite authors help me to celebrate the spirit of the season and spread a little holiday cheer. So, pour yourself a cup of hot chocolate and snuggle in by the fireside as they answer the question: “What does the holiday season mean to you?” You can find a complete list of the participants and their scheduled guest post dates Here!

About Ashley Herring Blake

Ashley Herring Blake is a reader, writer, and mom to two boisterous boys. She holds a Master’s degree in teaching and loves coffee, arranging her books by color, and watching Buffy over and over again on Netflix with her friends. Her young adult contemporary novel, Suffer Love, is out now from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Her second book, How To Make A Wish, another contemporary about a bisexual girl in the throes of a toxic relationship with her mother all the while falling in love with another girl, will release in 2017.

Author Links: WebsiteTwitterInstagramTumblrGoodreads

I don’t think I’m the only one who approaches all the joy and cheer of this holiday season and sighs a heavy sigh. This year has been brutal and November in particular left many of us bruised and fearful.

So where does that leave us in December?

At first, I really had no clue. I felt this sense of dread because I didn’t know what the season meant. What it will ever mean or ever did mean and so on and so forth with acute despair and frustration.

But that’s a hard place to live. Hope will force its way inside of us, because without it, the season is too bleak, the new year’s uncertainty crippling, and fear reigns supreme. I’m not a religious person, but I do believe that hope drives out fear. Love drives out fear. Action drives out fear.

So that’s what this season means to me.

It starts with self-care. I’m taking solace in the little things. That first cup of coffee in the morning. The absolutely huge Christmas tree (for real, y’all, it is mammoth) we picked out this year and decorated with memory-filled ornaments. How excited my kids whenever they see holiday lights and help make gingerbread. Ridiculous Christmas movies. (Home Alone 2: Lost In New York all the way, baby.)

This seasons mean finding joy in my job at an indie bookstore, where parents and grandparents swarm the kid’s section, desperate for that perfect present. I’ve found that task — the simple offering of a story — has been a very powerful thing for me these past few weeks. I’ve had all sort of requests and the privilege of getting the right book into a kid’s hands…well, that’s self-care for me. It’s a service, sure, but it also infuses me with hope, that we’re not giving up, we’re still moving, stories still matter. Stories matter more than ever. I’m reading a lot. I usually do, but I’ve been reading even more, looking for ways to vary the books I consume and recommend, because not only to stories matter now more than ever, stories for everyone matter now more than ever.

This season means creating my own stories too. Slowly. Painfully. But it’s there, coming to life. This particular December means muddling through the middle of my current project. It means doing the work when I can and going easy on myself when I can’t.

This season means making phone calls. I’m writing letters. I’m using my voice, even though sometimes if feels like it won’t make a difference. It’s the work of driving out fear.

This season means loving on those around me. Accepting their love. That’s not always so easy. I’m very much a person who struggles to accept love, not because I think I don’t deserve it, but because a lot of loss has convinced me that its easier alone. I know it’s a lie, so part of my work this December is remembering the lie and opening up my arms, to give and receive.

This season means step by step. Day by day. It means writing this post and finding those little things that light me up, make me smile, give me hope.

This season means hope.

Title How To Make A Wish
Author Ashley Herring Blake
Pages 336 Pages
Intended Target Audience Young Adult
Genre & Keywords Contemporary
To Be Published May 2nd, 2017 by HMH Books for Young Readers
Find It On GoodreadsAmazon.comChaptersThe Book Depository

Grace, tough and wise, has nearly given up on wishes, thanks to a childhood spent with her unpredictable, larger-than-life mother. But this summer, Grace meets Eva, a girl who believes in dreams, despite her own difficult circumstances.

One fateful evening, Eva climbs through a window in Grace’s room, setting off a chain of stolen nights on the beach. When Eva tells Grace that she likes girls, Grace’s world opens up and she begins to believe in happiness again.

How To Make A Wish is an emotionally charged portrait of a mother and daughter’s relationship and a heartfelt story about two girls who find each other at the exact right time.

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