12 Days of Christmas: A Christmas Interview by Audrey Taylor

It’s my privilege to introduce you to Audrey Taylor. Today, she has an interview with one of her characters. Audrey, welcome!

Every year, the Christmas season comes to remind me just how imperfect this world is.

Christmas has never given me anything to look forward to, but I’m learning to grit my teeth and get through the season without dragging too many people down with me. My reasons for hating Christmas are more than I’d ever admit to anyway.

I’m renting a room from a girl named Emma. This was supposed to be her first Christmas as a married woman. Instead, she finds herself estranged from the man she loves and living with me, his former best friend. In a perfect world, either he would be sitting here, or Emma and I would have fallen madly in love. Once again, the Christmas season has come to remind me how imperfect this world is.

The year is 1935. We’re in Munich, Germany, and I’m just sitting down to interview Christian Richter, the protagonist and narrator of The Christmas We Both Needed. It is a sweet and clean story of friendship but dives into some sensitive topics that are relevant the lives of many around us today.

AT: Thanks for taking the time to meet me. I knew the cookies would be a big draw.

CR: Ja, I’m a sucker for cookies. Zimtsterne?

AT: Yup, Cinnamon Stars, one of your favorites. I made some tea, too.

CR: Just like Emmy.

AT: Of course. So how has the Christmas season been for you this year?

CR: Ach, it started out about the same way they always do, but being around Emmy has really made a difference. She’s got so much joy, it’s hard not to smile when she’s around.

AT: Joy, really? Didn’t her husband just kind of… disappear earlier this year?

CR: Ja. She should be the one moping, but she’s got this underlying peace I can’t describe. She goes about her business and I think she’s actually feeling better than she’s felt in a long time.

AT: She’s got some health problems?

CR: That’s right. They come and go. It’s great to see her feeling good and being able to do so many things, even if Jake isn’t around.

AT: So how about you? You were willing to open up and narrate this book, so you obviously don’t mind sharing that you have your own pain.

CR: It was hard at first. I’ve hidden it from the world and it’s definitely not something I can talk about openly.

AT: Well don’t worry, neither the book nor the interview will go public for another 88 years. Even then it may still be a sensitive area for a lot of people, but there are those out there who are going to need to hear from someone who understands.

CR: {Smiles nervously.}

AT: You had some abuse and neglect as a child.

CR: Ja.

AT: Right around Christmastime.

CR: The holidays were never easy for my family to begin with, but my whole life changed one Christmas night when I was 12. After that, I would’ve preferred to skip Christmas altogether.

AT: Could you tell me a little more about that?
CR: Well, I was born in 1913. The war broke out in 1914. My father left and when he finally came back he wasn’t the same man. I could tell he wanted nothing to do with me. The whole nation was a mess, of course. Unemployment, inflation, civil war.

AT: Some important history there.

CR: Ja. Anyway, as soon as he could get me out of the house at Christmas, he did. Sent me over to my uncle’s house where I was exposed to things no 12-year-old should be exposed to.

AT: You were traumatized.

CR: Ja. The problem is, you know it’s not good for you, but suddenly you can’t live without it either. It filled a void, you know?

AT: The void left by your father.

CR: {Nods.}

AT: So you started looking for love in all the wrong places.

CR: Ja.

AT: But you’re not looking for love with Emmy?

CR: Emmy? {Chuckles.} You know very well I’m not, and even if I was, she’s Jake’s girl. Still, some of her hope and peace has rubbed off on me.

AT: You two must be very close.

CR: We are. We can talk for hours. Most of the people I go out with just treat me like arm candy.

AT: That’s a very 21st Century thing to say!

CR: Is it? {Laughs.} What I mean is that most of the people I’ve been out with aren’t interested in what I have to say. They just want me to sit there and look good.

AT: But you have dreams.

CR: Naturally.

AT: Could you tell me a little about those dreams?

CR: Sure. I’m very interested in military history and strategy. It’s fascinating to me. Maybe it’s because of the culture I’ve grown up in. I don’t believe in the politics of this regime, but we all know that another war is a very real possibility. It’s essential that there are wise people in our armed forces, trained for battle, and willing to do what’s right. If we’re going to send men into battle, I want to be in a position to lead and influence them for good. There’s been too little of that in Germany in the last couple of years.

AT: That’s so honorable, Christian.

CR: Thank you.

AT: Well, I really hate that we have to wrap this up. Of all my characters, you’re the one I’ve most wanted to meet. I hope we can do this again sometime.

CR: Absolutely. Just name the place and time, and bring cookies. I’ll be there.

AT: I know you will. Thanks again, and Merry Christmas.

CR: Frohe Weihnachten!

After creating stories prolifically as a child, Aubrey experienced a renewed interest in writing as she entered her 40s. She lives in Upstate New York with her husband and three children, and enjoys reading, playing music, crafting, sketching, exploring the outdoors, and traveling whenever possible. She is a lover of Jesus, the Bible, history, German culture, tea, and cats, and has a special heart for those who struggle with severe anxiety and depression.

See all of Aubrey’s books here: https://www.amazon.com/stores/Aubrey-Taylor/author/B0973KWXV8

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Both sweet and gritty, The Christmas We Both Needed touches the very heart of the season. You won’t want to wait until Christmas to open these pages!

CW/TW: While this is a clean book, The Christmas We Both Needed features sensitive themes including homosexuality, prostitution, abuse and alcoholism.

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