Behind every skyline there are neighborhoods, relationships, people, and stories …
By Neta Jackson
From Thanksgiving and Christmas to rolling in the New Year,
the Yada Yadas are "decked out" to celebrate the holidays!
Turkey dinners, tree trimming, and decking the halls--it's that time of year again! And I, Jodi Baxter, can't wait to celebrate. My kids are coming home for Thanksgiving and Christmas, and then all of us Yadas are getting decked out for a big New Year's party.
But God's idea of "decked out" might just change the nature of our party plans. A perplexing encounter with a former student, a crime that literally knocks me off my feet, a hurry-up wedding, and a child who will forever change our family...it's times like these that I really need my prayer sisters.
This holiday season, we Yada Yadas are learning that no one can out-celebrate God. So let's get this party started!
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Each of the Yada Yada novels had loose ends that just begged for a continuation of the stories of these twelve characters. I really thought that Book 6 (YYPG GETS ROLLING) would conclude the series—but when the publisher suggested a “Christmas (or holiday) novella” as a way to end the series, I realized that it would be a perfect fit, that again there were threads that needed tying up, and the time frame of the series would literally fall around the end of the year holidays.
But I didn’t want to do a typical “Christmas novella” (if there is such a thing). I set much of the story in a homeless women’s shelter (which burned down in the previous novel), took the holiday theme of “Decked Out” and turned it on its noggin, capturing God’s idea of what “decked out” might mean. Also one of the secondary characters in one of the early novels reappears in this last one, providing a special “bookend” to the series. I think readers will find it exciting and meaningful.
Decked Out is probably the least “factual” of all the Yada Yada novels in the sense of experiences of my own inspiring the story. But that doesn’t mean that the story doesn’t reflect “the way life is.” In a way, the characters and storylines began developing a “life of their own,” so to speak, as the series grew. As the writer, I kind of let the characters point the way, where the story was supposed to go. Some things in Decked Out even took me by surprise! It was an exciting book to write because of that. (One “reality” I did work into the story in a minor way was the influx of “displaced persons” coming to Chicago in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.) For each novel, I made a timeline and noted real events happening in Chicago, in our nation, in our world. These events sometimes had a major effect on the story, sometimes only a minor mention, to help establish the “reality” of living in the city in our day and age. The first six books actually cover a two-year period from 2002 to 2004, then this book jumps a year and a half to the year-end holiday season of 2005.
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© 2013, Dave & Neta Jackson