Welcome to YA Books Central’s “Indie Superstars” column. This monthly event will spotlight the best and brightest of the indie community.
You don’t want to miss out on these talented authors!
This week we’re interviewing Ashleigh Underwood, Author of The Hunt for Christmas.
Caitlin Haines: Can you tell us a little about The Hunt for Christmas?
Ashleigh Underwood: The Hunt for Christmas might be best described as a modern-day Grinch. However, the only thing they have in common is the fact that they both hate Christmas. Avery could not be further personality-wise from the Grinch. She hates Christmas, but she isn’t going to steal your tree over it. Avery meets Hunter, who—in my head—is Christmas personified. Think Buddy the Elf without all the extra enthusiasm and more street smarts. Hunter is determined to get Avery to rethink her views on Christmas so he comes up with a scavenger hunt for Avery to do that is supposed to make her find the joy in Christmas. You’ll have to read it to find out if it works 😉
Caitlin: Where did the inspiration come from?
Ashleigh: I really wish I had a cooler answer for this. I was getting ready one day and got this image in my mind of a girl taking her brother to see Santa. She was not thrilled to be doing this but her brother, who was younger than her was a believer and desperately wanted to see the big red guy. She sucked up her dislike of the holiday and braved the mall for her brother. So in my head, I saw this girl as her brother reached the front of the line and the little elf who is always helping starts to talk to her to try and get her in the picture too. She doesn’t go for it and then eventually learns that the elf was the cute boy in school. That was the original idea, that is where it started. However, the book is littered with Christmas things or fun activities I actually do. So life at the time was the inspiration for the entire story, but the idea started while I was curling my hair.
Caitlin: What is your favorite holiday and why?
Ashleigh: Since we are talking about my Christmas book I almost feel obligated to say Christmas! ahahah. However, Christmas is actually in second place. Independence Day/4th of July is my favorite holiday. I love the fireworks. We always have a BBQ, we’ll invite some friends over or go over to a friend’s house and we’ll eat, not complain about the triple digit heat for once, and light all the fireworks we can. It always brought my family together as a kid and now we do the same with my family.
Caitlin: Who is your favorite character in this book and why?
Ashleigh: I am torn between Betty and Jack. Betty is the wonderful lady who owns the cafe Avery works at. She was so fun to see come to life as I wrote the story. I also really love Ben, who has been Avery’s best friend since birth. Can I just pick all my side characters? They were so much fun to write, especially with Avery’s silent, more thoughts versus words nature, it was nice to have some goofiness added in via the extras.
Caitlin: If you were thrown into this world, what role would you like to play? Would you be a main character, side character, etc.?
Ashleigh: I would definitely want to be a side character. Truthfully, this world exists outside of the book as the places in the book were based off real life places in my daily life. So I was already playing a side character in a lot of what I wrote for Avery as I observed other people in other places. However, if I was actually in Parks, I would be a side character, adding the sarcasm, goofy, and anything else that the moment might call for.
Caitlin: What’s one thing you have to have while writing (music, quiet, snacks, coffee, etc.)?
Ashleigh: Caffeine in almost any form. I also like to have music playing somewhere. Sometimes, I use headphones to keep it to just me or I blast music through my house using my little alexa system. I’ll make writing playlists based on moods/scenes I need to write and sometimes, I get really inspired and I write a playlist for a specific WIP I’m working on.
Caitlin: Can you give us a hint at what’s to come next? What are you currently working on?
Ashleigh: Oh gosh, okay so I’ve been working on what I’m calling Puck. That was going to be the title originally but now I know I need to change the title. We’re just calling it Puck for now. It’s a little rom-com about a girl who’s life starts to crumble and she realizes that everything she was doing, the life she built was built based on decisions others made for her. The question is, what is she going to rebuild in from the wreckage?
Meet Ashleigh Underwood
Ashleigh Underwood is the author of The Hunt for Christmas and Chasing Normal. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing and English from Southern New Hampshire University. Ashleigh enjoys writing stories that make you laugh out loud and gives your heart a little squeeze.
When she isn’t chasing her boys around Ashleigh can be found reading anything she can get her hands on, drinking all the coffee in sight, and yelling at referees through her TV while she watches sports games. You can visit her online at ashleighunderwood.com.
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If you told Avery Turner that she reminded you of the Grinch, she would probably agree with you. When asked about her feelings for Christmas, she would probably tell you that Dr. Suess based the Grinch off of her. It’s not that Avery is a grumpy person or even a mean person. In fact, she would love to tell you how happy she is all the time. Avery just doesn’t like Christmas.
Now Avery finds herself in the middle of a small town that should have been named Christmas Town, USA. She can’t walk outside her dorm room without feeling like Christmas threw up on her and she still isn’t warming up to the idea of Christmas being a thing. She’s lived her entire life keeping Christmas in the not-friends zone and she has had no intention of changing that.
Enter Hunter, the man who might have been the inspiration for the movie Elf. He eats, sleeps, and breathes everything Christmas. He is Avery’s polar opposite when it comes to Christmas. He believes Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year and he is determined to get Avery on board.
Will Avery finally learn the real meaning of Christmas or will she turn Hunter into a grinch?
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2 thoughts on “Indie Superstars with the Author of The Hunt for Christmas + GIVEAWAY (International)”
Sounds like a sweet story
Looks super cute
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