A Christmas Promise is a Moravian holiday story set in Schoenbrunn Village, Ohio in 1773. Here’s the blurb:
During colonial times, John and Anna settle in an Ohio village to become Moravian missionaries to the Lenape. When John is called away to help at another settlement two days before Christmas, he promises he’ll be back by Christmas Day.
When he doesn’t show up, Anna works hard to not fear the worst while she provides her children with a traditional Moravian Christmas.
Through it all, she discovers a Christmas promise that will give her the peace she craves.
How did you come up with the concept for this book?
I love studying about history, and I wanted to write a Christmas story. I live in Ohio, so I searched for the first settlement in Ohio and wanted to write a Christmas story set there. I found that Moravian missionaries had established a settlement in Schoenbrunn Village to evangelize Lenape Indians. When I researched further, I found out that even in 1773, Moravians loved to celebrate Christmas. Many of our Christmas traditions today go back to the Moravians. I knew I had to write this story.
What are you working on now? Do you have a release date for this book?
I’m writing a novella set in a small Ohio town post World War II about a married couple who are having difficulties when a tornado sweeps through their town. It’s called Resurrection of Hope but doesn’t have a release date yet.
Some writers like quiet when they write, others want music. Which one are you?
I like music when I’m writing, but it has to be soundtracks. If the songs have words, it distracts me. I like to choose music that has the historical and emotional feel for the stories I’m writing. I pretty much have a playlist for each writing project.
For instance, when I wrote my Civil War novella, Soldier’s Heart, I frequently played Legends of the Fall and Ashokan Farewell, both from The Civil War – Original Soundtrack.
While I was writing A Christmas Promise, I wanted the feel of Colonial America, so I played the Main Theme from The Patriot or some classical music such as Symphony No. 8 in B Minor, D. 759 “The Unfinished”.
The novel I’m writing now is set in post World War I, so I have a playlist with some Piano Guys music including A Thousand Years and Rolling in the Deep along with a few songs from Joshua Redman.
Character names are important in writing. How do you choose your character’s name?
I also feel that names are important, so I have an exhaustive process for this. First I’ll check a list of 100 names that were common in the time period I’m writing. Then I’ll choose half a dozen names I like for the character. Finally I’ll check to see what the names mean. Usually at least one of the names will have a meaning that fits the character. If not, I start again.
For A Christmas Promise, I was looking for names that had a Slavic or German ancestry because Moravians came from that part of the world. But the Moravians also used a lot of Biblical names. John means gift from God and also has Germanic origins with the name Johann. So I named my main male character John. For the female character, I chose Anna. Anna is a Slavic and Biblical name meaning favored by God. For their last name, I chose Brunner, a good German surname.
Reviews are important to most writers. What review have you received that you most like, and why?
I’ve received a number of great reviews for A Christmas Promise that I’m grateful for. Here are a couple or 5 star reviews that meant the most to me.
“Revel in the spirit of a Colonial Christmas with this achingly tender love story that will warm both your heart and your faith. With rich historical detail and characters who live and breathe on the page, Tamera Lynn Kraft has penned a haunting tale of Moravian missionaries who selflessly bring the promise of Christ to the Lenape Indians. A beautiful way to set your season aglow, A Christmas Promise is truly a promise kept for a heartwarming holiday tale.” – Julie Lessman
This review touched my heart because Julie Lessman is such a great writer, so I was excited to hear what she thought of my story.
“Moravian missionaries in the 18th century experienced danger, hardships, and unexpected twists of “fate” as they witnessed to and mentored Indians in the Ohio territory. This is a work of fiction, but so true to what these brave and dedicated missionaries could easily have experienced. This is a book that is inspirational in every sense of the word. Anna and John Brunner are two such missionaries. When John had asked Anna to marry him, she stipulated he must promise to put the mission God had given them first, no matter what. But that was before having children, one of whom they had left behind in a cold grave. Now she lived in constant fear of losing one of them to hostile Indians, to disease, or to accidents. Her love became a suffocating passion to keep her family safe, leading John to leave out critical details of where he would be going, to whom, and why. He wanted to protect her from worry. Two days before Christmas he had to go with one of the new converts to visit his father, a chief with no friendly feelings for Christians. John promised her he would be home for Christmas Eve; and if not by Christmas Eve, at least by Christmas. Sometimes his promises had not been keepable. This might be another one.” — Anne Baxter Campbell
I liked this review because Anne really touched the heart of the story.
What’s the first book you ever remember reading as a child?
The first book I remember being read to me was Black Beauty. I remember crawling onto my grandmother’s lap and her reading it to me. The first book I remember reading other than Dr. Seuss was Encyclopedia Brown Mysteries. I bought them and some other books through the Scholastic Book Club. I also remember begging my mom for more money to buy books. I have loved books for as long as I can remember.
What’s the book you are reading now?
Currently I’m reading Julie Lessman’s new novel, Surprised by Love. I enjoy her stories because, unlike many Christian historicals, they don’t follow a set pattern. They’re not predictable.
Most writers love books—our walls are lined with them. Name 3 favorite writing craft books on your shelves, 3 fiction books (and the genre), and if you have them, 3 different magazines you read regularly.
My walls are certainly lined with books. Many of them I can’t bear to part with. They’re like old friends.
My three favorite writing books are Self-Editing for Fiction Writers, Writing From the Middle by James Scott Bell, and My Book Buddy by Susan May Warren.
My three favorite works of fiction on my shelves are Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers, The Pawn by Steven James, and The Good Guy by Dean Koontz. As you can see, my tastes in fiction are very eclectic.
Three magazines I always read are Writer’s Digest, Concealed Carry, and Historical Digest. My magazine tastes are varied also.
Do you know the meaning of your name? If so, does it fit you?
My name, Tamera, means palm tree in Russian and Hebrew. I think it fits me. Palm trees have deep roots and are very flexible. When storms come their way, the roots keep them grounded, and the flexibility helps them sway with the wind instead of breaking. My faith in God is deeply rooted, but I’m willing to be flexible when it comes to doing things a different way if that way is easier or more effective.
Do you have an all-time favorite movie that has stuck in your mind or that you’d watch over and over?
Just one? Seriously, I love classic movies, and there are many that have stuck with me and made a great impact on my life. A few of my favorites are Casablanca, To Have and Have Not, The Sound of Music, It’s a Wonderful Life, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, and An Affair to Remember, but there are many more.
We like to travel. What’s the most historic place you’ve visited?
This is difficult because I always love to check out the areas where my historicals are set. I’ve been to Schoenbrunn Village where A Christmas Promise takes place and Oberlin, Ohio, Maysville, Kentucky, and Chattanooga, Tennessee where my Civil War trilogy of unpublished novels are set. I’ve also been to Mount Vernon, Mystic Seaport, and Plymouth, Massachusetts. Next week, I’m going to Williamsburg, Virginia. I can’t choose just one. Everywhere I go, I see the history there.
It’s been a pleasure having you here today. As you say goodbye, can you leave the readers with an encapsulation of your life’s philosophy? (A quote, a Bible verse, a precept you live by or have tried to instill in your children.)
One of my favorite verses is how I try to live my life. Romans 12:1 says “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.” When we offer our lives to God, everything else seems to fall into place.
Thanks for having me, Catherine. I enjoyed it.
Tamera Lynn Kraft has always loved adventures and writes Christian historical fiction set in America because there are so many adventures in American history. She is married to the love of her life, has two grown children, and lives in Akron, Ohio. She currently has two novellas traditionally published, A Christmas Promise and Soldier’s Heart.
Tamera is the leader of a ministry called Revival Fire For Kids where she mentors other children’s leaders, teaches workshops, and is a children’s ministry consultant and children’s evangelist. She has curriculum published and is a recipient of the 2007 National Children’s Leaders Association Shepherd’s Cup for lifetime achievement in children’s ministry.
You can reach her online at these sites:
Word Sharpeners Blog: http://tameralynnkraft.com