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Sunday, November 29, 2009

‘Twas the Night Before My Book Release Date, and All Through My Mind Was Second-Guessing Myself on How Unique My New Children’s Christmas Book Can Actually Be … When It Has All Been Done Before?

By Suzanne Sumner Ferry
Author, Corinna the Christmas Elf

Yukon Cornelius has nothin’ on me! At least I hope not. I have searched high and low in my mind for an interesting, fresh as a just-baked Christmas sugar cookie take on a holiday classic character. You see, as a writer, I am fully aware that it has all been done “to infinity and beyond”… so the trick is to create a story or character that has a fresh twist on a classic.

I recently wrote and published my first children’s book titled Corinna the Christmas Elf: A Christmas Story. Having been raised with the nickname “Chrissy, a.k.a. Christmas Snow” (my maiden name is Suzanne Sumner; need I say more?), I have always been obsessed with this spiritual, glittery, festive and magical time of year. Put a steamy mug of hot cocoa and a peppermint stick on my bedside table and I’m as happy as a clam. This is a fact, regardless that my dear fraternal grandmother was of Jewish origin.

So I must first thank my father, who converted to Catholicism, for my lust of all things Christmas. I had no way to escape it, not a chance, during my Catholic upbringing. In fact, my fondest childhood memories spawn from painfully early Christmas morning treks, clad in fuzzy footed PJ’s, to the fireplace, where I would dive into overloaded stockings hung with care. And ne’er did I find a lump of coal, mind you.

Being a Holiday-a-holic (and a new mother), I just had to make my mark by writing a new children’s Christmas story. Yet I was finding it impossible to fix what ain’t broken. Thus, I eventually pulled all of my old frosty faves out of the deep, dark recesses of my mind and got to work.

We all have our dear old holiday loyalties from childhood that will never go away. I think the best way I can describe how I came up with my children’s book concept, besides the initial inspiration from my mother, who used to sign her Christmas packages “from Corinna the Christmas Elf,” was to take those candy-cane romances, misfit toys and all, and mold them into my own, fresh take on a holiday character.

And so I came up with an independent, young and ambitious elf girl named Corinna (thanks, Mom) who has just been promoted to Senior Elf Factory Manager by Santa himself. Corinna has very special skills and loves all things electrical, which proves to come in very handy at the end of a long work day in the Elfin Toy Factory.

I created Corinna the Christmas Elf out of love, and out of the desire to empower young children, especially little girls, with the knowledge that they can accomplish ANYTHING they put their minds to. All it takes is hard work, perseverance, a spark of interest, and belief in oneself. Calculated risks can get you everywhere; never taking a risk (within reason) will get you very little. Goals for the future, a strong work ethic, and being brave are all good qualities to have. These are only a few of the messages I leave my young readers with after they embark on a sleigh ride through the Elfin Toy Factory with Corinna and her coworkers. (Insert Shameless Plug Here: Did I mention that my book is available at,, or

So my ode to all you wonderful predecessors is quite lengthy, but I must, out of loyalty, pay you my utmost respect in helping me create Corinna the Christmas Elf, because there is a little bit of all of you in her:

• To Yukon Cornelius, for your fearlessness in taking down the Abominable Snowman
• To Hermey the Misfit Elf, because you decided to do what made you the happiest and most inspired: pulling teeth
• To Rudolph and your shiny red honker, for taking a special and unique quality about yourself and shedding a positive light on it (no pun intended)

• To Charlie-in-the-Box, for never giving up hope
• To the Bumble aka The Abominable Snowman of the North, for trusting someone (Hermey the Misfit Dentist) enough to let him help you by pulling your teeth and then staying dedicated and grateful to him
• To Frosty himself, for braving the elements to help others and make young children happy
• To Cindy Lou Who for your innocence and trust coupled with your immense wisdom
• To The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, for giving it back and making it better than ever
• To Ebenezer Scrooge, who was taught a valuable lesson about giving and helping others and ended up embodying the true spirit and meaning of Christmas after a few romps in the graveyard
• To Tiny Tim for your courage and faith while facing death, and for giving Ebenezer a second chance

And finally, to my own mother. who has always shared my love and lust for all things Christmas … from the shiny aluminum star on the top of her tree to the countless cherubic figurines on her bookshelves … and to all, a good night!

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