We continue with our interview series with The Man in the Red Suit and The Man with the White Beard‘s author Bruce Templeton today! Here are the final five questions Bruce recently answered that reveal who has contributed the Forward for his new book as well as some of his other collaborators!
- Were there any stories you found particularly hard to write?
I found it hard to ask the families to write the stories of their children’s visits with Santa in the hospital. But it is part of their healing and acceptance to tell their stories.
- There’s very personal photo to you that will appear in the second book, can you share the story behind it?
There is a photo of St. Nicholas in the new book and it was fun to get the support of church leaders to create the real St. Nicholas. These are not “props” but the real thing and I thank the church leaders for the support and understanding. There is also an inter-generational family photo from the first book, recreated for the second book but at this point it may or may not make the cut!
- The first book had a portion of its proceeds go to Rotary’s Polio Plus program, will there be a similar tie-in with book two?
Yes, the first book has directly and indirectly raised the funding for 200,000 dosed of Polio Vaccine for children in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria with Rotary. We will continue that work with Rotary and the support of the World Health Organization.
- Who are some of the people you have worked with on this project, and what has the collaboration process been like with them?
It is always a privilege to collaborate with talented people. I had two gifted editors, an amazing team at Creative Book Publishers, an understanding group of corporations and government offices who did work through all issues that arose. In one case, I had to track down the writer of a poem in 1995 after the death of her child. I took called to the US registry office, her town’s Board of Trade, a funeral home who buried her daughter, and learning now her new surname following her separation and remarriage and her moving to a totally different city in the US. The lady was astonished that anyone would work that hard to find her. Her poem is in the book now with her consent. That is the process you must follow.
- Book one’s forward was provided by Danny Williams, will this one also have one? And, if so how and why did you choose the individual who would provide it?
The simple truth is that you are trying to ask someone whose name will appear on the cover who is widely known and respected by many. This time, I went to Sister Elizabeth Davis, RSM at the Sisters of Mercy. Sister Elizabeth seemed like a natural choice. She supports my belief in St. Nicholas and she is the former head of Eastern Health so she appreciates my small “M” ministry if that is what it is. She sees what I do through her experience and I admire her.
We continue with our interview series with The Man in the Red Suit and The Man with the White Beard‘s author Bruce Templeton today! Here’s another five questions Bruce recently answered that reveal some interesting facts (like why the book is the size and shape it is) and some great stories about how the books are changing lives.
- What is the core message you’re trying to send with this book?
My readers tell me that these books are not an easy read and they are emotional. Of course they are because the Intensive Care Unit of the Janeway on Christmas Eve is an emotional place. I’m asking the reader to reflect quietly of their very early memories of their own family’s seasonal memories. Do you truly remember any item you got under a tree? Most people can tell you about activities they did as a family and that’s what I am asking my readers to create and recreate. It’s your presence, not presents that counts.
- How are you achieving that goal?
People have come and told me some wonderful stories of how the little book has changed their activities. One family had booked two days in Disney World because two days was all a very busy CEO could fit in. She read the book in tears on the flight down to Florida. At 6pm on the second day when they had walked their children’s legs to their knees in a rush to get through it all her children said they couldn’t walk anymore. Then the mother remembered the book. She talked to her husband, called her office, cancelled the meetings for the following week, turned off the cell phone and got on the roller coaster. They all came home four extra days later. That is the message of the first book and the new book, as well.
- For those new to writing a book, what are some of the challenges you’ve faced throughout the process?
The writing of the chapters is relatively easy for all I’m doing is putting down is the memory of a real experience that’s in my head. I expect a novel or a history may be easier because its fiction or the people are dead. But this is a memoir, here and now, with real people and real places. Corporations naturally require prior consent. Government departments require parental consent and one has to show that there has been no violation of the privacy act. Some of the consents are local, others are national and others are international, but it is worth it and you just doggedly press on.
- What kind of thought process when into the actual look and size of the book?
The answer lies in the support of an amazing publisher who listened carefully and then worked with me to polish my lump of coal. I did want it to be portable. I also measured the magazines and books I thought might be common in a house or office and designed mine so that it was half an inch smaller so that when you are stacking up books, mine goes on top!
- Do you have a story or two that are favourites of yours, and why?
I enjoy all of the experiences when Santa and I visit. But I especially enjoy the tough visits that I know must be made. Every child deserves a visit no matter what the circumstance. I also enjoy large groups of children where there are never enough adults to supervise and where some children seem quite intent to uncover a fake, but of course, they never do. The senior’s homes are rewarding as well. There can be some lonely souls there.
We’ve mentioned the details about the upcoming launch of Bruce Templeton’s follow up to his Globe and Mail bestseller, The Man with the White Beard. But, here’s an e-invitation you can feel free to save so the info is handy to remind you of the event, or to share with friends!
Looking forward to seeing you at the event!
The author of The Man in the Red Suit and soon to be released Man with the White Beard, Bruce Templeton, took some time out of his busy schedule to do a 15 question Q ‘n A in advance of a book launch celebration. That event, which will be taking place on September 30 at Bally Haly Country Club, is open to anyone interested in attending – just email firstname.lastname@example.org to confirm. You can learn more about the event as well as other appearances on our signings and sightings page.
Here is part one of the interview with Bruce, check back soon for successive installments and more online features!
- What inspired the second book?
The impact of the first book has caused a huge number of people ask for the second one. People have wanted to know about the children of the first book and “where are they now?’ Also, many people came with their own stories of how Santa has held their children and been there for them in the past 35 years.
- Are there follow ups in the second book from the stories in the first?
Yes, we follow the children of the first book and introduce the reader to some new children and some new families as well.
- How will this book be arranged compared to the first and why have you arranged it that way?
This little memoir follows the style and format of the first book. It is portable and an easy read on an airplane, subway and a quiet read for a few hours in front of the fire. Yes, I recommend a glass of wine and a box of tissues. All of the stories are true.
- What is the Santa Claus Oath? What body oversees it, and why is it important?
The Santa Claus Oath is a code of conduct which carefully outlines the trust and the behaviour expected of those who assist Santa. The use of the Oath and the crest are not given lightly and I was honoured to be granted the right to use it as the arc of the new book.
- What is the difference between Santa Claus and St. Nicolas? Do you identify with one more than the other?
Santa Claus and St. Nicholas are very different. Santa is only in his 80’s and started as a corporate marketing symbol. St. Nicholas is over 1700 years old and stands for very much more. He is the patron saint of children and his stories of his generosity should be told and retold.
A lot has happened since Bruce Templeton first released The Man in the Red Suit- lots of funds have been raised through the sale of the Globe & Mail best seller for Rotary’s Polio Plus program, Bruce has heard from many people who have read the stories and were touched, and many have reached out with updates after their exciting meetings with Santa were first arranged. Bruce has also had the opportunity to travel with the book, and spread his important messages about spending quality time with family – that it’s your presence not presents that count.
All of that has led to a follow up publication, scheduled for release this fall in September from Creative Book Publishing, called The Man with the White Beard. It will feature another set of 25 stories, and include some news on individuals readers met in the first book. The forward this time is contributed by Sister Elizabeth Davis. On the cover, which you’re getting a first look at right here, the Santa Claus Oath is on the bulb Santa holds, representing a very important oath, Bruce had to get special permission for it to appear.
Coming soon to this official website, Bruce will be answer a few questions about the process of putting this sequel together, what readers can expect to find between the covers, and more.
For now, we can pass along some information about the official launch that will take place September 30 at the Bally Haley Country Club from 5pm to 7pm. Everyone is welcome, and you can RSVP or tell friends about it using this Facebook event listing. Looking forward to having you there to celebrate the release at the launch!