‘Tis The Season: Authors Talk Holidays 2017 with Miranda Asebedo

‘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 this year’s participants and their scheduled guest post dates Here!

About Miranda Asebedo

Miranda Asebedo was born and raised in rural Kansas with a love of fast cars, open skies, and books. She carried that love of books to college, where she got her B.A. and M.A. in English, with an emphasis in Creative Writing and Literature. A Seaton Fellowship recipient, her short fiction has appeared in Kansas Voices, Touchstone, and Midway Journal. Miranda still lives on the prairie today with her husband, two kids, and a majestic bulldog named Princess Jellybean. If Miranda’s not writing or reading, she’s most likely convinced everyone to load up in the family muscle car and hit the road.

Author Links: WebsiteTwitterInstagramGoodreads

Christmas Lights

One of my family’s most-loved traditions involves loading up in the car and driving around to look at Christmas lights. When I was a kid, this meant my sisters and me climbing into the back of our old minivan and fighting over who sat where for optimum viewing. Then we’d drive the thirty miles to town, passing tiny farms dotted with faraway lights along the way.

My favorite neighborhoods in town were the fancy ones, the kind with cul-de-sacs and lofty names that had words like Heights and Park. These places were my favorites during the holidays because they hired landscapers to put up their decorations, and theirs was not just a neighborhood of extravagant houses, it was a fairy land of lights dripping from carefully-manicured trees and frosting eaves and balconies like gingerbread. And most importantly, they almost all had their curtains open to show off towering Christmas trees draped with glowing strands of bulbs and matching ornaments and garlands. I’d stare through those big windows, wondering about the people who lived in those fantastical places. Was there a kid inside who wanted notebooks and pencils for Christmas like me? Did they sing carols and drink punch on Christmas Eve like my family? Did they tip the landscapers who hung the snowflakes from their pergola at the perfect angle and height to catch the gleam of our minivan’s passing headlights?

My love of those bright window displays was probably one of the first signs that I wanted to be a writer. People-watching was always a favorite pastime of mine. I would spot a stranger on the sidewalk in town and make up the person’s entire life story, some convoluted plot that almost always included a tragic backstory. But people at home are different than when we see them waiting at a crosswalk or standing in line at a store. Because homes are private, safe. Homes are where we shed the identities we wear in public like a heavy coat once we come inside. So, to me, peering into those glowing window displays as we drove by was like looking at the truest forms of those people, the stories that no one else might ever see.

As a teenager, Christmas lights meant late-night dates with my someday-husband who adopted the holiday tradition with me. The thirty-mile drive to town was loud music on the radio, the heater cranked on high in an old car that never quite got warm. We’d meander through all the neighborhoods in town. He’d show me his favorites, and I’d always end up directing him back to the fancy houses that I’d loved as a child. Sometimes Christmas lights meant the glow of a fast-food sign out the drive through window because I could make time and a half if I worked on Christmas Eve flipping burgers for tired travelers trying to make their way home.

When that teenage romance turned into a marriage, Christmas lights meant decorating the house that we rented in the country, admiring our first Christmas tree. We drove to the city to look at lights, but no mansion held the same appeal as our little home with its cozy wood stove and stack of freshly-split oak on the front porch. The next year in that tiny house, Christmas lights meant the roaring fire of the woodstove when an ice storm took out the electricity for two weeks. We heated formula on the woodstove for our newborn daughter, studied for final exams by its flickering glow, and slept next to it, the three of us bundled up together. When the powerlines were fixed, there was nothing so magical as seeing the twinkling bulbs reflected in our daughter’s eyes for the first time.

This year, Christmas lights are special because we’re hanging them up in a new home together. My husband splits wood for the fireplace, and we reminisce about the Christmas with no electricity. Our older daughter wants to string up icicle lights, and our younger one just wants to wrap garlands around everything. We will place our Christmas tree where it can be seen through the front window, so if any young writer happens to pass by, she can wonder about who we are, and about what our story might be.

Title The Deepest Roots
Author Miranda Asebedo
Pages 336 Pages
Intended Target Audience Young Adult
Genre Contemporary, Fabulism
To Be Published September 18th 2018 by HarperTeen
Find It On GoodreadsAmazon.comChapters

Cottonwood Hollow, Kansas, is a strange place. For the past century, every girl has been born with a special talent, like the ability to Fix any object, Heal any wound, or Find what is missing.

Best friends Rome, Lux, and Mercy all have similar talents, but to them, their abilities often feel like a curse. Rome may be able to Fix anything she touches, but that won’t help her mom pay rent or make it any easier to confide in Lux and Mercy about what’s going on at home. And Rome isn’t the only one. Lux has been hiding bigger, more dangerous secrets.

As Rome struggles to keep her friendships close, she discovers the truth about Cottonwood Hollow — that friends are stronger than curses, that trust is worth the risk, and sometimes, what you’re looking for has been under your feet the whole time.

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