‘Tis The Season: Authors Talk Holidays 2016 With E. Katherine Kottaras

‘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 E. Katherine Kottaras

E. Katherine Kottaras is originally from Chicago, and now she writes and teaches in the Los Angeles area. She holds an M.A. in English from the University of California, Irvine and teaches writing and literature at Pasadena City College. She is an active member of NCTE and SCBWI, as well as a proud board member of the Children’s Literature Council of Southern California. Katherine is interested in the stories we tell, the stories we are given, and the ways we can redefine our worlds by discovering which stories are true. She is the author of the YA contemporary novel, How To Be Brave (2015) and the forthcoming The Best Possible Answer (2016), both from St. Martin’s Press/Griffin Teen.

Author Links: WebsiteTwitterInstagramTumblrFacebookGoodreads

When I whispered to my mom that my due date was December 29, she smiled and whispered back, “Have the baby on my birthday.” Her birthday fell in the middle of December, a good two weeks before my scheduled date. I said, “Okay, I’ll try,” and we both giggled at the thought, knowing full well that I had no way to choose the date that my first and only child would arrive.

Even more important than the hope of giving birth on my mom’s birthday, however, was the hope that my mom would even be alive that December to meet her only grandchild. My mom had suffered from renal failure as well as heart failure for years, and during the course of my pregnancy, her health deteriorated quickly.

So when, on December 1, I got the call that my mom was back in the hospital and was scheduled to have a dangerous procedure to install a fourth coronary stent, my world turned upside down. I was eight months pregnant, and I couldn’t fathom that I was so close to giving birth, but my mom might not be alive to guide me through motherhood, that she might never meet her granddaughter. Though she begged her doctor to wait a few weeks until after my daughter was born, he insisted that she had to have the procedure as soon as possible, that she was in imminent danger of throwing a clot. My mom made him promise that she would survive the procedure – she made him promise that she would hold her granddaughter at least one time.

He kept his promise, and my mom came home a few days later, exhausted but also ready to be a grandmother, ready to meet the baby.

Two weeks later on the morning of my mom’s birthday, I woke up with mild contractions, and while I was excited at the idea of actually having my daughter on my mom’s birthday, I’d read enough to know that contractions could last a few days, and I insisted that we go out for our scheduled birthday brunch to celebrate my mom’s day. It became clear as we were eating our eggs and French toast that this baby was coming – the contractions were getting stronger and stronger. Soon, we were in the car, speeding down the 101, towards the hospital, our hearts set on the promise of the world’s best birthday present.

My daughter was born at 9:04 p.m., on my mom’s 69th birthday. That night, my mom held my daughter in her arms and whispered to me, “Thank you.” As though my daughter’s arrival on her birthday wasn’t just a strange happenstance.

A few days later, we were home, celebrating Hanukkah and Christmas (my family celebrates both holidays), our new sleeping baby oblivious to the significance of the holidays, the stories of light in times of darkness, the promises of birth, the reminders of hope and new life.

My mom died ten months later, but that last holiday at home with her remains one of the best memories of my life. My mom was able to hold my daughter not just one time, and not just on her birthday, but many, many times after. Ten years later, even though my mom is gone, my daughter is connected to her, for they share the beautiful days of their births. And each December when I find myself missing my mom, I also find myself brightened by small miracles, like the story of my daughter’s birth, the gift that I somehow was able to give my mom on her last birthday. Each December, when I find myself overwhelmed by the heavy darkness of the longest nights of the year, I look to the light that my daughter carries through this world each day, for she reflects the light of my mom’s life, she shines a light that is brighter than any I’ve ever known. For me, this continues to be the greatest gift of all.

Title The Best Possible Answer
Author E. Katherine Kottaras
Pages 272 Pages
Intended Target Audience Young Adult
Genre & Keywords Contemporary, Realistic Fiction, Romance
Published November 1st, 2016 by St. Martin’s Griffin
Find It On GoodreadsAmazon.comChaptersThe Book Depository

● AP Exams – Check
● SAT test – Check
● College Application – Check
● Date the wrong guy and ruin everything you’ve spent your whole life working for – Check

Ultra-high-achiever Viviana Rabinovich-Lowe has always had a plan — and no room to be anything less than perfect. But her quest for perfection comes to a screeching halt when her boyfriend leaks racy pictures of her to the entire school. Making matters worse, her parents might be getting divorced and now her perfect family is falling apart. For the first time, Viviana feels like a complete and utter failure.

Then she gets a job working at the community pool, where she meets a new group of friends who know nothing about her past. That includes Evan, a gorgeous (and really nice!) guy who makes her want to do something she never thought she’d do again: trust. For the first time in her life, Viviana realizes she can finally be whoever she wants. But who is that? While she tries to figure it out, she learns something they never covered in her AP courses: that it’s okay to be less than perfect, because it’s our imperfections that make us who we are.

One response to “‘Tis The Season: Authors Talk Holidays 2016 With E. Katherine Kottaras”

  1. Evelina says:

    What an unbelievably touching story…
    Evelina recently posted…The Smashing & Dashing 2016 Character Awards #BookTag!My Profile

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