Badurday Interruptus

Since Runere wrote about Writus Interruptus, I decided to name this post Badurday Interruptus.  Today we have a special guest, my friend and also a writer for Desert Breeze Publishing, Stephanie Burkhart, will be talking about her new release, a Christmas story set near the beaches of Normandy. Steph’s story is called Christmas in Bayeaux and is  published in an anthology by Victory Tales Press. This would be a great story to read as the holiday season is upon us.  I interviewed Steph and hope you enjoy her answers as well as the excerpt she provided.  If you miss me today, you can visit me here:  as I talk about my book  release on Tuesday.  But, first, you have to read about Noel and Aiden, Stephanie’s hero and heroine.

STEPH: Jillian, thank you so much for having me today.  Just a little about me: I was born and raised in Manchester, NH. When I was 18, this New England Patriot fan joined the US Army for a great adventure and spent 7 years overseas in Germany. I met a fair-haired California boy and we were married in Denmark in 1991. Now, the adventure over, I work for LAPD as a 911 Operator.

 JILLIAN: Why did you chose Bayeux as the setting for your story? 

STEPH:  We chose each other! –grin. I told Rebecca I wanted to do a Christmas story for her and I knew I was going to write it as a contemporary. That said, I hadn’t written a contemporary in about eight years. So I thought about it and Mona Risk came to mind. I absolutely LOVE Mona’s contemporaries. “To Love a Hero” was set in Belarus and “French Peril” was set in France.  I knew I wanted to go international with my contemporary.  I picked France because I always wanted to go to the Beaches of Normandy and Bayeux is the nearest city to the beaches.  In 1987, I visited a rural town in France on the German/French border and I brought a lot of that experience to the story. 

JILLIAN: Have you been to Bayeux?

STEPH: No, but I really want to go! I want to see the Beaches of Normandy. 

JILLIAN:  Do you speak French? 

STEPH:  I am almost “fluent!” –lol. I took 3 years high school French. My pronunciation is pretty good, and I understand a lot, but when I took my French tests in the military and for college credit, I was always about 2 points under what was required for passing. Very frustrating. 

JILLIAN: What gave you the idea for the Christmas story?

 STEPH: I wanted to branch out and write a Christmas story. Diane Craver, who I am a big fan of, mentioned writing a story for VTP (Victory Tales Press) and I said, “Hey, I wanna’ do that to.” 

JILLIAN: I notice you dedicated this story to your sister? Do you have other siblings?

STEPH: I love my sister very much, but she lives in NH and I don’t see her often. I miss her terribly.  I have a half-brother and a half-sister from my father’s second marriage, but again, distance keeps us apart. 

JILLIAN: Did your family ever host an exchange student?

STEPH: No. My aunt had a friend, Diane, who would host exchange students and I always thought that was cool. When Diane visited me in 1990, we went to Antwerp, Belgium to visit one of her previous exchange students.

 JILLIAN: How did you chose your characters’ names? 

STEPH: For my male hero, I wanted something contemporary and Aiden is contemporary to me.  I also need my names to “mesh” together and sound good.  For my female heroine, “Noel” was perfect because it captures the ambience of Christmas and France. 

JILLIAN: When you were stationed in Germany, did you take advantage of the short distance between places and travel a lot?

STEPH: Yes! I’ve been to Denmark, The Netherlands, Belgium, France, Luxembourg, Czechoslovakia (Before it separated into the Czech Republic and Slovakia) Berlin, Poland, Hungary, Italy, Austria, and Switzerland. I never made it to England, though and I really want to go there. 

JILLIAN: Anything you want to share about France or your love for travel? 

STEPH: France is a beautiful country with rich history. The Notre Dame is a amazing, The Louvre, Versailles, the countryside… I can’t say enough about it. 

JILLIAN: Where can we buy the book? 

STEPH: Here are the links: 

Amazon: (print) 

Ebook, Smashwords: 

Create Space, Print book: 

Victory Tales Press:

Here’s an excerpt: 

Noel was surprised to hear Aiden Seward’s voice over the phone. She had been an exchange student with his family years ago, and even back then, she had a crush on him, but she was young and he, while the same age, found her no more attractive than his sister, or so she thought. Now he was a man, tall and well built. His dark ebony hair fell in neat waves and curved against the nape of his neck. His sweet hazel eyes harbored such sadness, it almost broke her heart. She wanted to hold him, touch him, drive away those demons that haunted him, but she knew now was not the time. He had to be the one to reach out to her. He had not been so daring years ago. What could she expect from him now?

Noel also knew that men did not care to write letters, so when she left, she extracted a promise from him to exchange postcards. Surprisingly, he honored it. In fact, his last postcard hung on a corkboard in her kitchen next to the refrigerator.

They got into his rented car and Aiden drove off. “Which way?”

“Straight. St. Theresé isn’t far. I took the bus in.”

Thankfully, it had stopped snowing. Aiden and his family lived in Boston, Massachusetts. She was born in Bayeux. She was French to her bones, but when she stayed with Aiden’s family, she might have considered living in the States if he had expressed interest.

“Turn here,” she said. “Do you see the manor on the cliff?”


“That’s Mont St. Theresé.”

His lips parted just a little and his eyes filled with awe. “It’s beautiful.”

“Thank you. You can see Omaha Beach in the distance.”

“Do you have people staying there now?”

“I have one couple visiting from Austria. “

“Christmas is only two weeks away. I hope my visit isn’t inconvenient,” he said.

“Not at all. How long are you staying?”

“I don’t know. I haven’t gotten a return ticket yet.”

Check out the Story Teaser on You Tube: 

Goodie Time: Leave me a post and I’ll pick out two winners to receive an autographed postcard of the cover. Tell me your favorite Christmas story and I’ll pick a winner to receive a print copy of the Christmas Anthology. I’ll come back on 21 NOV to pick the winners.

JILLIAN: Thanks for being here, Stephanie. It was enjoyable. 


13 Responses

  1. Thanks for being here today, Steph- it was a great interview. Jillian

  2. Your background is so interesting, Steph! Love that you’re transferring it to your writing. It’s so nice when a reader can catch the feeling of a particular area and travel vicariously!

    And your excerpt piques the imagination! I’m already wondering how this will turn out!

    Thanks for sharing with us today. I really enjoyed your visiting! Hope you come back.

  3. Great excerpt! Hmmm. My favorite Christmas story right now would have to be The Polar Express. 🙂

  4. I am completely intrigued. I love the thought of unrequited young love getting a second chance.

    Favorite Christmas Story….hmmmm…. I loved the book Skipping Christmas. And I have been known to leave the Christmas Story movie on for the whole 24 hours TBS shows it =).

    Thanks for sharing a great interview and an enticing excerpt.

  5. Thanks everyone for popping in – Jillian thanks for having me. Sorry I didn’t pop in sooner but my 4 year old son who thinks he’s inviciable hit his head on a chair and I’ve been at the doctor’s all morning with him. He’ll be okay, but it will leave him with a black eye or two… my heart goes out to him because he has Sensory Intrigration Dysfuction which means his brain doesn’t interupt sensory info correctly, he didn’t even cry. sigh… Anyhoo…

    I’m off to work but I’ll be checking in from time to time with my Iphone.

    My husband loves the Christmas story but I never saw it until I met him. LOL!! I’m more of a grinch.


  6. Hi, Steph! I always thought exchange students were cool, too.

  7. Thanks for blogging with us! The story souds great!
    My favorite Christmas story is still A Christmas Carol – such great characters! And redemption is always a good theme.

  8. Sounds like another winner, Steph. My favorite Christmas story today is the story of the Nativity. Peace to all.

  9. Steph, I always enjoy learning more about you and reading your excerpts.

  10. I’ve never been to France. I did take a French class summer, but don’t remember any of the words. The teacher’s idea was to just use French and see if we could catch on to what she was saying. I learned a little bit, nothing much, but it was an interesting experiment.

  11. HI Steph and Jillian,
    Sorry I’m late as usual but I wanted to pop in and say how much I enjoyed this Christmas story set in France. I think Steph handled this tale of Aiden going on his pilgrimage and getting reacquainted with Noel perfectly. Having it set during Christmas made it even more special and poignant.
    Thanks for allowing Victory Tales Press to include it.

  12. Enjoyed the bit about the exchange students. For some reason, ours always joined the band and since they had no musical experience, our director put them on the drums. I thought that was cool because I got to help them learn whichever percussion instrument they played and it was easy to create friendships that way.

    Great story premise. 🙂

  13. I want to thank everyone who popped in. My weekend was crazy, but it’s so cool listening to your favorites. hehe.

    Goodie time! (I love goodie time!) Here are the autographed postcard winners:

    Runere and Darlene! Please send me an email to with your snail mail so I can get them out to you.

    Winner of the PRINT copy: Rebecca Zaretti!! Please send me an email to with your snail mail and I’ll get that book out to you!

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