The Journey of Joseph Winter: A Christmas Fairy Tale
by John Anthony
is now available in both paperback an ebook
Recently, I was blessed with the opportunity to touch base with author, John Anthony, for a brief question and answer session regarding his debut novella, The Journey of Joseph Winter.
First, let me start by saying that I absolutely adored The Journey of Joseph Winter. Gobbled it up, actually, because reading it truly was like going on a journey with Joseph—a journey I didn't want to end. And as I read along, I couldn't help but fall in love with the characters and feel a tug at my heart with each life lesson that was presented to them.
“Well, to talk about Geraldine, I’ll need to explain a bit of how the story evolved. Initially, this was written in first person, as a journal. It was a hand-made book I gave to my family back in 2002, and it was meant to look like Joseph’s actual journal. When I decided in mid-2013 to begin working on expanding it and turning it into a novel, my editor suggested changing it from first person (it didn’t work) and using a narrator. Everything started clicking from there.
So, Geraldine is a combination of several influential people I’ve had in my life, including my mom and my grandmothers. The name Geraldine, much like many of the names in the book, were names that simply appeared as I began writing. I can’t explain it. I like to think it was delivered by some higher power.
The use of a narrator is meant to pay homage to movies like The Princess Bride or The Never-ending Story, giving the book a fairy tale feel.”
“Again, the name just came to me as I began working on the original short story back in 2002. The last name, however, I put a lot of thought into. I wanted something that indicated it was a Christmas story without being too obvious. Winter seemed to do that perfectly. At least in my eyes!”
“Max is one of my favorite characters, as well! I love the relationship between Joseph and Max, and how much of himself Joseph sees in him. We can learn so much about ourselves by watching the kids in our lives. They don’t judge anyone until they are taught to do so, and I wanted to show how that can happen—or not happen—based on how we teach children to deal with bullies or difficult situations.
In the original short story, which was only about 2000 words, Max didn’t exist. It was a much simpler tale, and focused more on Joseph being excited to go in search of Santa Claus, and what he discovered when he got to the North Pole. It was also left open ended, which would have been a huge disappointment at the end of a 30k word novella. It was magical and I liked how the short story ended, but it just wouldn’t have worked for the novel without making a lot of readers feel cheated.
Max came to be because Joseph needed to grow more as a person than he did in a simple short story. He needed to go on an emotional journey and transformation, as well as a fantastic adventure. Max is everything that Joseph wished he could have been, and Joseph needed to be able to see that. It is what propels him forward, and helps him to become that which he wants to be.
Max appeared to me much as he appears to Joseph in the book—sitting on a bench in a train station, swinging his legs. It was a vision I had while trying to work out the specifics of the story in my head, and it grew from there. I loved that image of a little boy in ragged clothing sitting on a bench in a train station, unaware he’s poor or not as well off as everyone else around him. A picture of pure innocence.
And his name is one that actually came from someone specific: my grandfather.
In fact, you’ll find that most of my writing is firmly based in family, in varying combination of fact and fiction. Because isn’t that where the greatest stories live?”
Joseph Winter is a good and gentle man, but he carries with him the pain and regret of a childhood mistake.
When a package mysteriously arrives on his doorstep, he is invited on a trek that defies logic.
Traveling far from his quaint home in St. Paul into the snowy landscapes of the Arctic, the journey takes him in search of the one man who may be able to help him find peace--Santa Claus.
Buy the paperback as a gift on Amazon.com, Keep the Kindle for yourself for free!
He is a licensed massage therapist with his own practice in Saint Paul, and lives with his partner of five years in West Saint Paul.
The Journey of Joseph Winter is his first published work. He is hard at work on his next two novels, due to be released in 2015.