I shared my top reasons to read this book during a book tour and today, I’m so excited to share an interview I did with Tiffany Schmidt, who is the author of I’m Dreaming of a Wyatt Christmas.
Welcome Tiffany! Thank you for allowing me to interview you! Can you start off by introducing yourself?
Thanks so much for having me! I’m Tiffany Schmidt, and after I’m Dreaming of a Wyatt Christmas releases, I’ll be the author of nine YA novels. This is still my dream job, so writing that number is a bit of a *pinch me* moment! I’m also a former sixth grade teacher and mom to three impish sons. I have a very saintly husband, and two not-so-saintly dogs. As a writer, I’m neither a plotter or a pantser–I don’t plan every nor just go with the flow. I’m more of a Google Maps writer–I want to know the next turn or two, but I know the plot might get rerouted if I hit traffic or decide to take an alternate route.
How would you describe I’m Dreaming of a Wyatt Christmas in one sentence?
Wyatt Christmas is what would happen if you mixed The Babysitters’ Club with Dance Academy and set it in a Hallmark Christmas movie.
Can you introduce us to the main character(s) of I’m Dreaming of a Wyatt Christmas?
Noelle Partridge is a fourteen-year-old who is very good at three things: ballet, babysitting, and spreading Christmas spirit. She’s also got an impressive collection of knock-knock jokes for her extensive fanclub of babysitting clients. But while Noelle has a great group of friends and a ballet studio where she is beloved, she’s looking for a new challenge—and thinks that might be Beacon Ballet Academy, a residential dance school where she could take her skills to the next level. She’s applied and been granted an audition, but now she has two new problems: telling her father and figuring out how to pay for it if she gets in.
What is something that is in I’m Dreaming of a Wyatt Christmas that readers might not know based on the synopsis?
Despite being a “Christmas book” (and it definitely is!) the novel begins before Thanksgiving and ends on New Year’s Eve eve. If you’re Noelle, you start planning Christmas festivities early and you cling to the holiday spirit as long as possible!
Do you have any Christmas traditions? If so, were you able to include any of them into the story?
Growing up, my parents would always take us to a movie on Christmas Eve—in our full Christmas church clothes, because we’d go right from the theater to Christmas Eve services. When I got old enough to realize this was a little odd—that none of my friends did this—I asked why and was told it was because I was an exhausting ball of energy that close to Christmas! This plan got me out of the house and kept me contained to a seat for a few hours, so I wasn’t making messes, sneaking Christmas cookies, or stumbling upon presents the day before my parents would host our extended family for Christmas. Even after I outgrew my child-shaped-chaos stage, this was a tradition we continued and that I’d done with my own kids. It does not, however, appear in Wyatt Christmas. The Noelle and the Kahales each have their own traditions—but Noelle’s a little less flexible about hers, so spending Christmas away from them is a bit of a challenge for her!
Do you know from the beginning how your books will end or do you let your characters decide their journey?
I usually do know the ending before I begin writing. I may not know all the details in between, but I typically have a good sense of where my characters are starting from and where I’d like them to end up. Knowing the ending helps me stay on course in the middle—making sure my writing is steering the characters toward their self-growth goals and their happily ever after.
Do you have a favorite scene, moment, or quote from the book?
I really love this scene where Noelle is performing as Sugar Plum Fairy in her small ballet studio’s version of The Nutcracker.
This is what I live for; it’s when I come alive. Practice is for determining the precise angles of wrists and timing of steps, finding my spot for turns, and blocking out leaps. Performance is for taking those thousands of tiny decisions and calculations that I’ve rehearsed to the point of muscle memory and making them sing. If I need any motivation to lift my leg higher, exert on my turnout, or land lighter in my jumps, all I have to do is remember that Wyatt Kahale was almost in this audience and imagine that he’s actually here. I picture his full lips pressed tight in concentration as he studies the girl who’s stolen the show at his younger siblings’ ballet. Maybe he’d shift in his gray metal chair and do some imagining of his own—of himself partnered with me.
The idea makes me sort of breathless, which isn’t ideal as I head into the hardest combination of my dance: the thirty-two counts of continuous turns that end the song. It’s a dizzying sequence of pirouettes, fouetté, chaîné, and piqué turns that form the manège—which just means it makes a big circle around the stage.
I force all thoughts of Wyatt Kahale from my mind as I sight my spot—the first of the five focal points I’ll use to keep my bearings as I spin and circle. I close my rib cage, lift my chin, and rise to relevé, going en pointe to begin my turns.
I’m stepping out, and out, and out, my head twirling, my core aching, stepping out—and then I’m done. I end in fourth position, trying to catch my breath without looking like I’m gasping. The applause creeps up on me slowly. It’s not that the audience is slow to clap, I’m just slow to hear it. But when I do, it feeds a hunger deep in my aching muscles. The sound is a rush of adrenaline, of satisfaction, a craving for more, even while I’m still in the midst of it.
But my very favorite scene is Wyatt and Noelle’s first kiss. It is my favorite kissing scene I’ve ever written—and for a person who takes kissing scenes quite seriously, that’s saying something. I won’t spoil it, though. You’ll have read the book to feel the swoon
What are three books you would recommend if someone enjoyed That Dark Infinity?
In a Holidaze (adult) by Christina Lauren
My True Love Gave to Me (YA anthology edited by Stephanie Perkins)
Prince in Disguise (YA) by Stephanie Kate Strohm
What’s next for you? Anything you can share?
Up until 2020 I was strictly a one book per year author… and then in the past 18 months I’ve had three different books publish! The last two Bookish Boyfriends novels, Talk Nerdy to Me and Get a Clue came out in May 2020 and January 2021, and now in October 2021, I have I’m Dreaming of a Wyatt Christmas. Let me just say that I highly don’t recommend having the busiest publication portion of your career take place during a pandemic. 😉 Between trying to promote books without in-person events or conferences and having three small children doing virtual school last year—it (shockingly!) wasn’t my most productive writing time. I’m not quite sure what will be my next book yet or when it will be releasing. I’ve got a couple of different projects in various stages of completion and I’m excited to see how they turn out! Hopefully I’ll have more news soon!
ABOUT THE BOOK
Ballet and babysitting bring two teens together in this very merry holiday rom-com from the author of the acclaimed Bookish Boyfriends series
Noelle Partridge is known for three things: being the best ballet dancer, babysitter, and person with the most Christmas spirit in her small town. But lately she’s bored by the lessons at her dance school, and her friends and father are more bah humbug than Hallmark movie marathon. So when her favorite babysitting clients ask her to accompany them on a ski trip over winter break, she packs her bags for the slopes. It helps that they’re offering double her rate—she’ll need the money for Beacon, an elite ballet academy that’s granted her an audition.
Noelle is ready to “Deck the Halls” and have fa la la la fun, until Wyatt, the older half-brother of her babysitting charges, decides to surprise his family for the holiday. He’s one of the best dancers at Beacon, and makes Noelle’s head spin faster than pirouettes. Unfortunately, she also manages to step on his toes—spoiling his surprise and complicating his secret plans. After a few missteps, Noelle and Wyatt begin to thaw toward each other and bond over the big decisions looming in each of their lives. With enough Christmas magic, Noelle might just start the New Year with lots of babysitting cash in her pocket and a chance with the pas de deux partner of her dreams.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Tiffany Schmidt is the author of Send Me a Sign, Bright Before Sunrise, and Hold Me Like a Breath (Once Upon a Crime Family book 1).
She’s found her happily ever after in Pennsylvania with her saintly husband, impish twin boys, and a pair of mischievous puggles.