The origins of ‘Boxing Day’ are steeped in history and in my naivety, I assumed everyone had or knew of Boxing Day. Growing up in England my understanding was that it was an old tradition to open gifts the day after as Christmas Day was spent in church and then feasting.
The exact etymology of the term ‘boxing’ is unfortunately unclear and although there are several competing theories, none are definitive. Money and other gifts were traditionally given to the needy and to those in service positions, such as servants. The European tradition goes back to the Middle Ages but its exact origin is still unknown. There have also been claims that it dates back to the late Roman/early Christian era. It is known that metal boxes were placed outside churches to collect special offerings tied to the Feast of Saint Stephen. In England it was the custom in the nineteen-century for Victorian tradesmen to collect their ‘Christmas boxes’ or gifts on the day after Christmas in return for good and reliable service throughout the year.
The name could also derive from another old English tradition, where wealthy landowners would allow their servants to have the 26th off work to visit their families in return for a smoothly run Christmas Day feast. Each servant was given a box containing gifts and bonuses and sometimes leftover food! Also around the 1800’s churches would open their alms boxes and distribute the contents to the poor. These boxes were filled with monetary donations from the wealthier members of the congregation.
No matter which version you would like to believe, Boxing Day is still an enjoyable holiday and one spent with family and friends, enjoying the ‘left overs’ and new gifts.
Writing usually energizes me. There’s nothing better than getting some ideas that have been running around in my head down on paper.
What is your writing Kryptonite?
My kryptonite would have to be grammar and sometimes, punctuation. I get confused by all the rules. I’d rather just write.
Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?
No. I always pictured my name on the books I wrote.
What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?
Eva Blaskovic, Mandy-Eve Barnett, Konn Lavery. These guys have been huge inspirations and very supportive. Plus, they write awesome content.
Do you want each book to stand alone, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?
For the most part, I’m writing stand alones. I might have a signature that shows up in all my writing but all my works are going to be different genres and different characters
What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?
So far, just getting my book published. Spending money on that is creating a dream that I’ve had since I was a young girl.
What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?
I don’t remember anything specific but jokes and puns were one way I learned about the power of language.
What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?
That’s a hard one to answer but probably Shade’s Children.
As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?
An anchor. It symbolizes my interest in pirates as well as helps me stay grounded. I’ve always been very attracted to anchors, whether in print, jewelry or real life.
How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
Two on paper and one in my head.
What does literary success look like to you?
Walking past a bookshop and seeing your book there, and having people talk about it, either in person or on social media.
What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
Most of my writing has to do in the sci-fi and/or fantasy genre. I researched a lot of myths, history, and science fiction that other authors or TV producers have put out. I don’t know the hours that I put in before writing. Usually, I get an idea, start writing and then research as I go along.
How many hours a day/week do you write?
Depends on where in the book I am. Could be anywhere from 4-20/week
How do you select the names of your characters?
I generally want the names of my characters to reflect something of their personality so I’ll research some names and then pick the ones I like best. If I can’t find anything, I’ll just look up some names until something feels right. If that fails, I’ll find a random name generator and pick some from that.
What was your hardest scene to write?
There’s a scene where one of my characters (who’s been having nightmares that no one else can understand) has a fight with her boyfriend about them. It was the point where she’s starting to lose her cool, from being scared all the time, confused and hurt as well as exhausted. It was hard to write her in a way that wasn’t to be confused with her throwing a fit. I had to choose my wording and emotional descriptions carefully.
Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre? If you write more than one, how do you balance them?
I grew up watching and reading a lot of science fiction and fantasy. That genre really excites me and just seems to be a part of who I am. It makes sense for me when I’m writing in that genre.
How long have you been writing?
Actually writing, probably since I was 6 but my mom told me I used to make up stories right from the time I was 3 or 4.
What inspires you?
I pretty much get inspiration from everywhere. Music, dreams, reading other books or watching something on T.V., nature walks. I have a pretty vivid imagination and will usually get a scene playing out in my mind daily.
How do you find or make time to write?
It’s hard with kids and a business, but it’s something I can’t not do, so that means, sometimes staying up into the wee hours of the morning, or escaping to a coffee shop on a weekend.
What projects are you working on at the present?
I have a spin-off to the book I’m launching this year, and am currently splitting my time between a detective story set in a parallel 1920’s with some science fiction and steampunk elements. And, a science fiction book set in the future that has some inspiration from evolution and biology (that one will need lots of research).
What do your plans for future projects include?
Hopefully publishing them and getting more well known in the author world.
I am a Wellness Coach but my book will be available through my site after September 29, 2018.
Leslie Hodgins has been writing for years. Her areas of interest are science fiction and fantasy. She is a wife, a mom of two busy boys, a nature lover and a coffee addict. Music is a major inspiration, and when she’s writing, it’s always on.
When she’s not writing, she’s helping people through wellness coaching and helping them manage stress.
Leslie currently lives in Edmonton, AB with her husband, sons and her dog, Oscar.
This combination in itself would be enough to try and consume without all the trimmings to go with it. I am sure there would be many weeks of sandwiches, crock-pot meals and leftover meals after this one.
So why do we eat to excess at these times? Is it greed, showing off to family and friends, a status symbol of our wealth? Or is it a celebration of abundance we are able to enjoy?
Or a symbol of love for those around us who have made our lives better for being in it?
This last option is the one I believe in, especially now, as I am thousands of miles away from my family. I will treasure the moments with my immediate family on Christmas Day this year. My choice of bird this Christmas is duck.
Take your choice of these explanations or comment on your own thoughts.
This link gives some insight from a British point of view.
Desultory– definition : 1) marked by lack of definite plan, regularity, or purpose. 2) not connected with the main subject; 3) disappointing in progress, performance, or quality.
Well this is certainly a word we can all relate to. In a perfect world we would be allowed to write, create and dream up our stories without interruption. But real life has a habit of intruding – laundry, housework, meal preparation, time with family…well you get the picture. I will admit there are times I just want to be left alone, in a Greta Garbo kind of way!
So let’s take each numbered definition at a time. Number one – lack of a plan, regularity or purpose. Whether a casual writer or a professional one, time to immerse ourselves in our creations is important. To enable us to have that time we have to engineer ‘writing time’ in any manner that works within our individual life styles. Maybe, like me, you work full time, have children at home and a household to run. Where can you squeeze in writing? This is dependent on a great many things, such as the age of your children, how stressful your job is and how much ‘help’ you get from your significant other. With careful planning and a schedule you can balance wants and needs. You may display a ‘do not disturb’ sign on the door of a room you can escape into, plug in head phones or leave the house altogether. Whatever works for you is best. The main thing is to have the understanding of your family that ‘writing time’ is an important element in your life.
Number two relates, I feel, to character building. As we delve into a new character and his or her struggles, we need a real sense of their character, likes and dislikes and how they would react to certain situations. If we cannot connect with them the plausibility of their reactions will suffer. Whatever device works for you go with it. Character sketches, research into personality types or people watching are all great ways to know your character better. This will ensure whatever obstacles they come against their reaction and coping skill level will be believable.
The last definition is one we all know and is related to our self belief in our abilities. We have all berated ourselves at one point or another when a plot does not work, a deadline is not going to be met or we are unhappy with how we have written something. Take heart in the knowledge that no-one is immune to these thoughts and feelings. Use your support system to help you. This might be your writers group, a mentor or a supportive family member, whatever or whomever it is don’t consider yourself alone. Reach out and bounce your ideas off them, receive their encouragement willingly. You may have to revise a character, a story line or perspective but you can do it – just believe your muse is with you.
Have you suffered with desultory feelings? How did you overcome them?