Jill Ammon Vanderwood is an associate member of IBRBS, International Brotherhood of Real Bearded Santas. Along with Santa Claus, she sees hundreds of children each Christmas season. Jill is also a multiple award winning author, including the National Mom’s Choice Award. You can visit her on the web at www.jillvanderwood.com
Welcome back to my blog, Jill. Please tell us about your new book, Santa’s Mystery Boot.
Santa is trying out a special boot this year to make snow in places like New Zealand where it's summer in December. There are buttons along the side of the boot that not only make snow. One button plays Christmas music, one sprays a mist to help children have gingerbread dreams, and the other button makes the boot turbo charged to help Santa get up the chimney. Tim and Tommy Adams have plans to capture the real Santa, but Santa has other plans. His boot has a special part in helping the boys discover the true spirit of Christmas.
Where did you get your inspiration for this story?
I listen to kids when they talk to Santa Claus. I have heard kids say they wanted to stay up late so they could catch Santa Claus. Children ask many questions, such as, what do you do when there isn't snow at Christmas time? Another question is, how do you get up the chimney? I decided that Santa needed a special boot to solve all of his problems. But, as the story goes along, the boot also creates problems.
Your husband is Mr. Claus and spreads joy to many children. Please tell us how he came into this role.
My husband is a professional Real Bearded Santa. He first started being Santa when our kids were young, and he fit into the Santa suit the church had in a closet. I was always trying to get him to be Santa again and he finally decided to transform into the jolly old elf. I would bleach his beard so it would be white.
At first, Santa would wear a red shirt and a Santa hat and deliver candy to his co-workers at Christmas time. One of our granddaughters said she knew he wasn't the real Santa. When asked how she knew he wasn't the real Santa, she said, "Because you don't have red pants!"
I understand that you have a hidden identity, also. I heard you became Mrs. Claus about six years ago. What is it like being Mrs. Claus and how do you get into the Christmas spirit?
I say I married well and we get invited to all the best parties! I was trained at the Mrs. Claus Academy at a Santa convention in California. I made my own outfit from the same fabric as Santa's suit. One of my rolls as Mrs. Claus is to calm down little children. I hold most of the little ones who are afraid of Santa. I imagine our pictures are all over Facebook because we smile for continuous pictures. I also give out the gifts to the children.
We always do our first event the weekend after Thanksgiving. We get into the Christmas spirit by watching movies such as the Santa Claus and the Polar Express. We listen to Christmas music in our home and on our way to events.
Where can my readers find you online?
Santa's Mysterious Boot is available through Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com and on Amazon Kindle.
Thank you so much for this interview, Jill. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.