Meet Delaina Netherland Smiley

Today I’m talking with Delaina Netherland Smiley, author of the Christmas novella, One More Santa.

Delaina, thank you for joining me today. I’ve read One More Santa and enjoyed the story. I’m excited to have you here today and learn more about you and the inspiration for your book.

Let’s start off by telling us a little bit about yourself.

I’m an East Texas native and I live in the country with my husband and three almost-adult children. I’m a Community Engagement Coordinator for CASA for Kids of East Texas and am currently working really hard to enlist more good-hearted volunteers to be advocates for children in foster care. I enjoy writing (of course), photography, going for walks and fishing with my family. Someday, I hope to live on the lake where fishing is more accessible.

What is One More Santa about?

“One More Santa” is a Texas Christmas story about a young woman, Cassie, who is not only busy, but content with her life as a sports photographer, CEO of her family charity, The Santa House Women’s Charity, and a big help to her boisterous family. When Talent Marshall comes to town, though, his new duties to help protect the women at The Santa House during the busiest season of the year, puts him in Cassie’s path. Now, she has the opportunity to see if adding romance to her life could be her Christmas gift to herself this year.

What is the inspiration behind your book?

I wanted to try my hand at a Christmas story that was unlike any I had read before. My own growing Santa collection (gifts from my family) and my heart for seeing the dreams of women flourish inspired me to create The Santa House Women’s Charity for my backdrop. My son is a competitive archer so that’s where the archery piece comes from. I also wanted to see a story where the woman’s life path doesn’t have to change in order for her to begin a relationship with a man. What if their paths just lined up and they could have their careers AND a great love story?

Do you have a day job?

I do have a day job. I work for CASA for Kids of East Texas. I’m also a mom, wife, aunt, a ghost writer, a habits coach, and “duties as assigned”.

With all the hats that you wear, how do you find time in your day to write?

My life is full, but writing has always been important to me so I make time for it as often as I can. Most of the time it’s at night or on weekends. I will tell you that having a group of wonderful beta readers who read as I write my first draft really propels me to complete a manuscript much more quickly than trying to do it on my own. We call them the First Draft Fan Club and they keep me moving forward.

How did you come up with the name of your heroine?

I’m glad you asked this one. My grandmother’s name is Rosemary. Her sisters’ names are Brenda, Betty, and Cassie. I wanted to pay tribute to her in some way so I used their names in my story as the main female characters.

Who was the first person you allowed to read your completed book?

My mother. She’s always the first to read anything I write. I think she used to worry about hurting my feelings so she would only tell me what she liked. But now, I think she sees how important it is for me to hear all of her opinions – good or bad. She’s become quite the book critic and I love that she’s with me on this journey.

Why don’t  you share with our readers your favorite excerpt from the book:

I like the banter between the sisters so here is one of my favorites:

“He wasn’t wearing a ring.” Betty sat on a bench in the cell and held her hands out for Ruby to come sit with her. “And he was certainly a handsome one.”

Cassie shook her head. Apparently the missing niece was forgiven, and her sister was moving on to rescue something else – her love life. “Stop it.” She glared. “I am too busy for your match-making.”

Cassie wasn’t sure how she could fit filling her truck up with gas, much less dating, into her schedule these days. Between being the CEO of the Santa House, running a successful sports photography business, and helping her family with the diner or with chauffeuring her niece from one archery tournament to another, her plate was full. And she was content with her plate as it was.

“Well, somebody has to do it. You’re certainly not helping yourself out in that department. When was the last time you went on a date?”

Just as Betty asked the question the same officer that rescued Ruby appeared in the doorway. Cassie cringed. She shot a stern glance at Betty and covered her face with her hand.

Once he was gone, Cassie gave Betty the side-eye. “Really? Betty, why? Why do you have to do that?” Cassie sank onto the bench and covered her face with her hands.

“If it makes you feel better,” Betty spoke cautiously in a low tone, “I don’t think he noticed the dirt streak on your face.”

I enjoyed the banter between the sisters, also, as I have three of my own. We have a lot of fun joking around with each other.

What’s next for you as an author?

I just finished a manuscript and it’s been submitted for consideration (fingers crossed). I’m also working on a new one so I hope to have it finished and submitted soon. I’d like to try my hand at a non-fiction book this year, but I haven’t been able to wrap my head around that one just yet. I want to write five books this year, though, so I’m working hard toward my goal! 

Thank you again for being here with us, Delaina. Where can readers find out more about you and One More Santa?

They can find me on social media:

Facebook: @dnetherlandsmiley or https://www.facebook.com/dnetherlandsmiley/

Instagram: @dnetherlandsmiley

Twitter: @DelainaSmiley

LinkedIn: Delaina Netherland Smiley – Writer

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