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Friday, October 3, 2014

Author Interviews - Christmases Past series - Susan Badeau and Me

Anne: I'm interviewing Sue Badeau and myself today--this should be interesting!


First Sue, a nationally known speaker, writer, and consultant with a heart for children and a desire to help adults and children build bridges of hope following the pain of trauma or loss. She writes and speaks extensively to public and private agencies, courts, parent groups and churches. Sue and her husband, Hector, are lifetime parents of twenty-two children, two by birth and twenty adopted (three, with terminal illnesses, are now deceased).  As if that weren't enough they have also been foster parents for more than fifty children. They have authored a book about their family’s parenting journey, Are We There Yet: The Ultimate Road Trip Adopting and Raising 22 Kids, which can be found on or on Sue’s website – 

Sue, what inspired your story for Christmases Past?

Hector and Sue Badeau
Sue: I was doing research for another book I am writing, a book that features an Abenaki woman from Vermont. As part of that research, I visited the Vermont Folklife Center (fabulous place! - online here - ) and while poking around read about and listened to all the audios related to the amazing life of Daisy Turner, an African American little girl who grew up in Vermont and lived to be 104. Her family was living in Vermont during the post-civil war years.  I have always loved history and the Civil War era is an important chapter in our nation's history that I love to learn more about. I especially love to learn about the lives of real people who lived during this period. So when I was invited to be part of Christmases Past I knew instantly I wanted to write about an African American family in Vermont during this period of history. This led me to the wonderful book Discovering Black Vermont by Elise Guyette and her moving historical account of families who lived in an area of Vermont exactly where some of my own ancestors once lived. I had a chance to visit Vermont while writing the story and even went up to the hill where the families in Guyette's book lived - less than a mile from the old family homestead of my own ancestors. This clinched the deal, and my story, The Christmas Primer, was ready to be born!  [Anne's Note: Sue's story is Volume Five of Christmases Past and will be released later in October.]

Anne: Why do you write?
Sue: I write because I love to write, I am compelled to write; and I have been writing since I was a little child. I wrote poetry and short stories that were published in our local newspaper in my small hometown in Vermont as a child and teen. But beyond that, I am passionate about a few things: my faith and how it plays out in relationships with real, live human beings, especially those who might be called the "least" among us. Orphans, children in trouble, people who are sick or disabled, people who are imprisoned, lonely, homeless or labeled "aliens." I want to bring these real people and their families to life for others so that we can all learn to have a little more of the genuine "love your neighbor" kind of love God calls us to have, even for those who might seen as scary or different in any way.  If I can spark one person to do one thing to make life better for one person through my writing, I will be completely satisfied!
Anne:. What is the most tense scene in the story?

Sue: Tense? Hmmmm, that is a good question. The most tense moment for my main character, six year old Titus, is when he has to stand up in front of the entire school and read a page out of his primer. The most emotional tension arises when we hear stories from Titus' parents about their years in slavery and their daring escape that led them, eventually, to Vermont.
Anne: What would readers find surprising about you?
Sue: When people hear that I have twenty-two children, thirty-five grandkids and nine great grands, they often ask how I manage all the household chores and things like laundry. So they might be surprised to learn that I don't do laundry - ever - not at all! My husband and kids all do and thankfully they take care of my things, but I don't even venture into the laundry room and I'm not sure I'd know how to use the equipment in there!


Mother's Day 2014 with my kids: Ross, Renae, and Brett
Anne: And on to myself... I'm a soon-to-be seventy-year-old writer who still thinks of herself as approximately thirty or forty. I'm constantly surprised by that woman in the mirror who looks nothing like my vision of myself in my head. I'm crazy about my husband, my kids, and my grandkids. I am devoted to the Lord who created, loves, and sustains me. And I talk to my imaginary friends, my book characters, as they move through scenes in my head.

What inspired my story, Lawrence's Christmas? [Will be released October 9.] The story is about my own uncle, Lawrence Baxter. Part of the events in the story are true, some are pure imagination. I've talked to Wilma Baxter Booth extensively about December 7, 1941, and sent her the story to review. Her input inspired the direction of the action. Thanks, Aunt Wilma!

Why do I write? I can't imagine not writing. Someone recently posted on Facebook that a writer never takes a vacation. That is one hundred percent correct. If I'm not writing my own stories or editing someone else's, I'm thinking about writing. Since I began pursuing writing as a second career, I haven't spent one day without writing. But mostly, the reason I write is that's how I show people how much God means to me and can mean to them.

What is the most tense moment in Lawrence's Christmas? That probably occurs after they listen to President Roosevelt speak on the radio about the attack on Pearl Harbor.

And something folks might find surprising about me? I love a clean house, but can't stand cleaning it. It overwhelms me. I can't see how to get it done. Before we were married, my husband had a housekeeper, and we still do, a dear lady who puts up with two very messy people.

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