"Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by doing so some people have entertained angels without knowing it." - Hebrews 13:2

Monday, December 15, 2014



What a great looking couple!

Hello everyone! Today is a very special day. I am pleased to introduce Victoria and Michael Lindstrom. I met Victoria through blogging, and we've become good friends. She and her husband Michael have collaborated on a beautifully written and illustrated children's book, The Scandinavian Santa.

This is the first storybook that I have purchased for my soon-to-be grandchild. I highly recommend it for children of all ages. Victoria's story is positively enchanting and visually enhanced by Michael's charming paintings.

This story particularly appealed to my husband, who has some Scandinavian heritage. He plans to order several more copies for the children on his side of the family. I'm not Scandinavian, but I enjoyed the book immensely! I'm giving a few copies away as Christmas presents.

I'm thrilled and honored that this is Victoria's first interview. 

Welcome Victoria and Michael Lindstrom! I am so glad you are both here today to talk about your debut children’s book, The Scandinavian Santa.

Vicki – how long have you been writing? Is this your first children’s book?

Thanks so much for inviting us to do this interview, Loree!
Yes, The Scandinavian Santa is my first published children’s book. I’ve also completed two middle grade novels that I’m hoping might be published someday.
My history as a writer started back in high school when my English teacher, Mrs. Emily Bean (don’t you just love that name?), mentioned that she really liked one of my poems. From that time on, I’ve been penning poems and scribbling sentences most of my life. I had two poems on spirituality published in a Christian anthology years ago. However, I earned my degree in Dental Hygiene, was married, and had three sons, so writing took a “back seat” in my life at that time. But then, eight years ago, I injured my wrist while root planning a periodontal patient’s teeth, and my career as a dental hygienist was over. I went back to my passion for writing. I took a few creative writing classes at our community college, joined a critique group, and have been writing most afternoons ever since. I now view the injury as a blessing, not a bad thing. I absolutely love spending my time as a writer.

What is the inspiration behind the story?

The inspiration for The Scandinavian Santa actually dropped into my mind in December of 2007 while I was feeling sorry for myself. For some reason, I began thinking of my great-grandfather Peter Swanson, who immigrated to the U.S. from Norway. Although I never had the opportunity to meet him, I have fond memories of listening to stories told to me by my mother about our Norwegian ancestor. In addition to that, I have a passion for spending time out in nature, and have a soft spot in my heart for all wild animals, so I think my imagination just spun an outline for this tale from all those elements. (I also really love the Christmas season!) Since I’m part Norwegian and Michael is part Swedish, I wanted to tell a tale that would represent all the Scandinavian countries. I researched Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Denmark for several months, including geography, culture, Christmas traditions, and food. The polar bears are a nod to Norway; the ice skating party was inspired by my love of Hans Christian Andersen stories (Denmark); the beautiful forests of Finland inspired the look of the trees in the book; while the protagonist and the book’s color scheme were both inspired by Swedish culture in general.

How did it come about that you and Michael decided to collaborate on the project together?

After I completed the short story, it became clear to me that an illustrated book would really enhance my yuletide tale. My husband, Michael, is an artist and had just switched from water colors to oil paints. I was really loving the work he was turning out. (Since then, he has received representation into two fine art galleries.) When I asked him if he would be willing to do some paintings for my story, he was more than willing. (We consider the artwork in our book to be accompanying paintings, not true illustrations. But that’s a subject for another full blog post!)

Vicki & Michael – I must ask, as husband and wife, did the process of working together bring about any special challenges? Any discoveries?

When people ask us about the collaboration, we always say: “We’re still married!” However, it wasn’t really that bad. The main challenge stemmed from the fact that I always see my stories in an almost cinematic form while I’m writing – I had very specific ideas about all kinds of details. But, I’ll let Michael elaborate on that. As far as making any new discoveries, I would say that from my perspective, I learned a whole lot about oil painting, and art in general. I’m amazed and appreciative at the way the paintings seem to make my story come alive. I’m so proud of Michael.

First of all, I would also like to thank you, Loree, for hosting this Q & A.
Well, that is the million dollar question. As Victoria mentioned, she had very specific ideas on how she envisioned each scene/painting; it was my job to extract those thoughts from her mind – not an easy task. But we collaborated back and forth, until we were both happy with a finished piece. It took a lot of time.

Michael – where did you get the inspiration behind the beautiful paintings in the book?

Since I am a plein air painter (painting in open air – outside), it was a challenge to design each of the compositions. I am typically responding to what nature is presenting to me in a given moment…designing and drawing and composing what I see. So to paint a cabin or a figure out of my imagination was a great challenge. I found the inspiration to do that partly from our home (one of the interior scenes was inspired by our living room), but most of the inspiration came from discussing with Victoria what she wanted, and then ultimately, my own imagination.

Will there be another project in the future between you and Victoria?

There are a couple of stories that we have discussed. So I would say the chances are good that we will collaborate on future projects. One thing that excites me about working on another project, is that we learned so much from collaborating on The Scandinavian Santa, that I believe it will be easier moving forward.

Victoria & Michael, thank you so much for being here! We’ve really enjoyed learning more about the two of you, and The Scandinavian Santa.


Now, the giveaway—the Lindstroms have generously offered to give away a signed copy of The Scandinavian Santa! To be entered in the drawing for this fabulous book, all you have to do is answer the Lindstroms question (at the end of the post) in the comment section on this blog. For those who have trouble commenting on Blogger, leave your answer on my Facebook Author Pageor on Victoria's Facebook Author and Poet Page ~ look for the Facebook posts regarding this interview and giveaway, and leave your comment there. Or leave a comment on Victoria's blog. The contest will end on Wednesday, December 17, 2014 at 8 pm Pacific Time. Victoria will draw a name at random, and we will announce the winner, right here, on Thursday, December 18th.

Take it away Victoria & Michael…

One of my favorite holiday memories from childhood was when my parents would load my siblings and me into the back of their station wagon and take us all over our community looking at Christmas lights displayed on all sorts of houses. We would then return home for hot cocoa and cookies – special family times.

Here’s our question for those of you who would like to participate in the giveaway:

What is your most cherished Christmas/holiday memory?

Thanks again, Loree, for hosting this author/artist interview. Merry Christmas!

Michael and Victoria

Places to find Victoria and Michael Lindstrom


The Scandinavian Santa


Victoria’s website: http://www.victorialindstrom.com/
Michael’s website: http://michaellindstromartist.com/
Victoria’s Facebook Author Page: Victoria Lindstrom Author & Poet

Lovely memory. Great question. I can remember driving around with the family to look at Christmas lights. Fun times.

One of my cherished Christmas/Holiday memories is the smell of my mother's nut roll baking in the oven. I always knew Christmas was close when my mother baked her wonderful nut roll. 

Thanks again for stopping by, Victoria and Michael! Merry Christmas!

Between you, me and the gatepost...


Loree Huebner
Writing with one foot in the past...
On Twitter @LoreeHuebner

On Instagram @lunapickles


Terri Tiffany said...

I think that is wonderful that they combined their talents to write a book! It sounds perfect for any child to enjoy. Thank you for this interview!

Loree Huebner said...

Hi Terri! Isn't it awesome how they combined their talents? The book is just beautifully written and illustrated for children (and adults) of all ages. Thanks for popping in!

Victoria Lindstrom said...

Hi Terri! Thanks for your kind comments. We had a great time collaborating. Hope you have a wonderful holiday season!

Shopgirl said...

Great interview - I enjoyed reading your well thought out questions and their answers.

Victoria Lindstrom said...

Hi Shopgirl! Thanks for stopping by and leaving your comment. Happy Holidays!

Karen Lange said...

Loree, thanks so much for the intro to Victoria and Michael! Wishing them all the best. Congrats to you on the upcoming grandchild. :) That is exciting! You will make a great grandma!

gadhill said...

Hi Lori. Great post.I would love to win this book as I have ancestors from "the old country, Norway." My favorite Christmas memory is of my grandmother traveling by bus to out house, bringing homemade sandbakkels and krumkake with her to share. Coincidentally I just wrote a blog post of this memory today on my blog at http://juliesaffrin.com/2014/12/15/christmas-traditions-of-norway-sandbakkels-and-krumkake/

Victoria Lindstrom said...

Thanks for your comment, Karen, and thanks for visiting Loree's blog!

Victoria Lindstrom said...

A wonderful memory, Gadhill, and thanks for sharing. Happy Holidays!

Loree Huebner said...

Shopgirl: Glad you stopped in to see the interview! You're a blessing.

Karen: I am excited to be a grandma. I can't wait to read the baby this book next Christmas! Thank you for coming over to say "Hi" to the Lindstroms.

Gadhill: The smell of baking Christmas goodies are one of my favorite memories too. I'll have to check out your post.

Got you all in the hat for the drawing! Thanks for coming by everyone! Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas!