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Introducing “Jo” Christy from Carrie Fancett Pagels’ “The Fruitcake Challenge”

Posted by on December 19, 2014

Today, my very good friend, Carrie Pagels, came by and brought the main character of her latest release, The Fruitcake Challenge. I can’t wait to get to know her. Carrie is also giving away one copy of this novel (ebook or paperback) to a lucky commenFruitcake_Challenge_cover_jpgter. The winner will be picked after Saturday December 27th.

Tell us a little about yourself.

My name is Josephine Christy but everyone calls me “Jo” and I lost my Ma. She was the main lumbercamp cook for Pa and now I’ve taken over her job. My brothers Ox and Moose also work in Pa’s camp and I’ve recently discovered that they are responsible for keeping potential suitors away. Not that I’ll marry a lumberjack anyways, but at twenty-five I’m wondering if I ever will meet someone. First of all, though, I’ve got to find a way to get out of this camp and start my life.

You say you want to “start your life.” As a child or teenager, what did you dream of doing?

First off, I just wanted to get out of the camp. I do have a lot of friends here but I wanted to live in town. For a while I thought I’d like to make fancy clothes like they sell at the mercantile. My Ma and I talked about me setting up a bakery shop—that’s what I’d really like to do!

Oooo, sounds yummy.

What is your favorite thing to do?

I like to aggravate the tar out of Tom Jeffries! That would be my favorite thing to do right now. He might be a cocky know-it-all but he’s also funny and he has the cutest little smile when he knows that I got a good jab in!

Hmmm. Sounds like a very interesting pastime.

Share something about your day-to-day life that might help a reader to feel as though they know you a little better.

I spend most of my day getting together the meals for all these lumberjacks that Pa has in camp. We’re supposed to be a family camp but he has to bring on lots of single men, too, of course, to get the logging done. I’m blessed because I have help with the firewood and I’ve got a passel of ladies to help me but most days I’m just flat out tired from cooking all day long only to watch those fellas inhale it all in under ten minutes flat!

When did things change dramatically in your life?

When Ma died, and I had to take over her position, I realized I could NOT go on like this. Then when Tom Jeffries came into camp and somehow managed to get around my brothers and flirt and chat me up, well, that brought up some strange feelings in me, too, making me want to get out of the woods even more.

Who do you despise?

I despise no one. Not even that horrid teacher in the camp. God’s word tells us not to hate others. Tom may get my dander up but I don’t really dislike him. He just gets under my skin so fast that I don’t understand it.

Hmmm. That sounds like you might be in … oh, never mind. I’ll let you figure that one out.

In three words describe yourself.

Spunky, no-nonsense, and determined.

How do you get to know people around you? What tells you the most about them?

I watch them and their behavior. I’m not a big talker. For instance, I see how good Tom is with the kids—it makes me know he’s a good man. I see how he doesn’t put up with my brothers’ nonsense so I know he’s got confidence and is brave to deal with those two. I see the ladies I work with and how they act toward each other both in the kitchen and outside and I won’t put up with backbiting or anything like that nor would Ma.

You go, girl!

Are you a highly scheduled type of person or do you like to “wing it?”

A little bit of both. As a camp cook supervising others now, I have to keep to a strict schedule. But in the kitchen you have to be flexible. So if you run out of something, you have to make do. Cooking for 50 men requires a little of both. For my free time, I definitely have to do the same because if I want to go into town, I need to schedule with the wagon and driver. The train doesn’t come out this far to the camp but I’ve heard that now as the 1890’s go on that more and more of the trains will go into the lumber camps to haul out the logs. What a change that will make!

Oh, yes!

Has your work won any acclaim or esteem from others?

All the lumberjacks love my baking efforts but I can’t seem to get that darned Tom Jeffries to say that my fruitcake creations taste as good or better than his Ma’s. But I’m gonna fix him good—I believe she’ll send me her recipe and when I make it then he’ll have to tell the truth (he always does!) and then he’ll have to drop down on one knee in front of all those shanty boys and propose. And I’m gonna tell him “no!” Except I keep getting this niggling feeling in my spirit that such behavior isn’t Christlike.


Well, Jo, thanks for stopping by. And thank you, Carrie Pagels, for bringing her.

Readers, don’t forget to comment below to be eligible to win a copy of Carrie’s book.

The Fruitcake Challenge

When new lumberjack, Tom Jeffries, tells the camp cook, Jo Christy, that he’ll marry her if she can make a fruitcake, “as good as the one my mother makes,” she rises to the occasion. After all, he’s the handsomest, smartest, and strongest axman her camp-boss father has ever had in his camp—and the cockiest. And she intends to bring this lumberjack down a notch or three by refusing his proposal. The fruitcake wars are on! All the shanty boys and Jo’s cooking helpers chip in with their recipes but Jo finds she’ll have to enlist more help—and begins corresponding with Tom’s mother.

Step back in time to 1890, in beautiful Northern Michigan, near the sapphire straits of Mackinac, when the white pines were “white gold” and lumber camps were a way of life. Jo is ready to find another life outside of the camps and plans that don’t include any shanty boys. But will a lumberjack keep her in the very place she’s sworn to leave?

Find more of Carrie’s books at the following … Facebook:






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Carrie_brick_headshot_pmCarrie Fancett Pagels, Ph.D. “Hearts Overcoming Through Time,” is an award-winning Christian historical romance author. Carrie’s Amazon Christian Historical Romance bestselling novella, The Fruitcake Challenge, released September, 2014. Her short story, “Snowed In,” appears in Guidepost Books’ A Christmas Cup of Cheer (2013). She’s the Amazon best-selling and top-rated author of Return to Shirley Plantation: A Civil War Romance (2013). Her short story, “The Quilting Contest,” appears in Family Fiction’s The Story 2014 anthology. Carrie received Honorable Mention for the 2014 Maggie Awards for Excellence for her unpublished novel Grand Exposé. Former psychologist (25 years) and mother of two.

26 Responses to Introducing “Jo” Christy from Carrie Fancett Pagels’ “The Fruitcake Challenge”

  1. carrie

    CARYL, So nice to “meet” you–Miss Carrie has told me much about you and I believe your dear friend, “Aunt Sue” and I would get along really well. In fact, I think Miss Carrie told you that she accidentally, somehow, put a link in my story to your website instead of hers! Isn’t she a hoot?! I don’t know how she managed that but I think she confused a few people! Blessings!

  2. Caryl McAdoo

    Dropped by to meet Jo. What a fun lady! I enjoyed the interview! 🙂 Blessings from Texas!

  3. carrie

    ANN, You are right–I had to HIDE from Pa and scoot over here to chat. The ladies are all covering for me. Thank God we have Pearl chipping in to do extra help. They’re working on a German Stollen fruited cake recipe right now. Smells great. Svens helping with the wood pile today, too. He’s such a great friend and he seems to have finally found his true sweetheart! Sigh… If only that happens to me. But the only man who’ll tangle with my brothers is that aggravating Tom Jeffries! TY for stopping by.

  4. Ann Ellison

    I loved the book, so I really enjoyed Jo’s interview. Glad she was able to take time to stop by and visit. You don’t need to enter me in the drawing, hopefully someone will win that hasn’t had a chance to read this lovely book.

  5. carrie

    TY Miss Maxie! I’m hoping you’ll come by the shop I hope to have one day! I’ll be sure to fix you up a nice fancy tea assortment. I’ve been just chafing at the bit to make something all fancy like that but you know how those shanty boys are–it would be a complete waste! Blessings!

  6. carrie

    Mrs. Almony, I’ve found that my baking tends to attract all kinds of people from all kinds of walks of life–not just the lumberjacks. The Chippewa ladies in their encampment like my cookies and have been sweet enough to walk all the way from the end of the county to come see me! I’m praying that when I have my dream, and am in my own bake shop, that I’ll make all kinds of new friends! TY!

  7. Maxie Anderson

    Hi Ladies. Very neat interview. Enjoyed hearing Jo tell us what she thinks. I think she would be a good friend. Hope she has great success with her bakery. Merry Christmas to all of you ladies. Maxie > mac262(at)me(dot)com <

  8. Connie Almony

    Jo, I appreciate you coming here with Carrie. Boy, you make friends fast!!! Must be all that good food you cook. It’s been a great pleasure getting to know you.

  9. carrie

    Hey Kay, Jo here– thank you for spending time with me, reading my story! And thanks for coming by here to spend some more time with me, too! Blessings!

  10. KayM

    Hi Carrie, Jo, and Connie–I just stopped by for the interview. What a great character interview! It was especially enjoyable, since I’ve already read the book. Thank you! You don’t need to enter me in the contest. Merry Christmas!

  11. carrie

    Hey NATALIE! So glad you enjoyed reading my story and guess what–my brothers are gonna get their own chance at romance. At least I’m hoping those two knuckleheads can manage to interest one of those ladies in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Maybe they’ll try a little Kentucky charm on the gals. Hmmm, maybe not!!!

  12. carrie

    Jo Christy here, ANNE, and I know if we got together in those Blue Ridge mountains you love theta we’d COOK up some good FUN!!! Merry Christmas!!!

  13. Natalie Monk

    What a fun interview! Loved it! Makes me want to read the book again. 😉

    Thanks for bringing us this fun post!

  14. carrie

    KATHLEEN, JO here–I will pass that on to Ms. Carrie! I know she’ll appreciate it very much! I’d LOVE for you to read my story. Blessings!

  15. carrie

    BONNIE, I’m hoping I might have a new friend with your name, when Tom and I get hitched and move to the Upper Peninsula! Hugs!!!

  16. carrie

    BRITNEY, TY for getting to know me so well. My brothers Moose and Ox hope they’ll be getting to chat with Mrs. Almony in 2015. Hope you’ll like them better then! Hugs and take some brownies with you!!!

  17. carrie

    LAUREAN, Love your name, too! JO here. I agree–I think I’m much more interesting than author Carrie Fancett Pagels. Blessings!

  18. carrie

    TY, RAVEN! Love your name and great getting to know you at the cook shack!

  19. Laurean Brooks

    Hi Carrie,
    Your heroine is unique. Jo is a spunky character. Her personality shines through.

    I love this “character” type of interview. It tells the potential reader about the story and what to expect. This may be the new trend–spend 80% of the interview time on the character, 20% on the author.

    I would love an interview with my character “Jayla” from my upcoming release next month.

    When you think of it, authors should enlighten the reader about their books. After all, our wonderful stories are what we’re selling. Not ourselves.

    Wonderful story. I love it already.. I’d love to own a copy.

  20. Britney Adams

    I loved this interview with Jo and I loved The Fruitcake Challenge! Wishing you all a Merry Christmas!

  21. Bonnie Roof

    Loved this interview with Jo and loved “The Fruitcake Challenge” – thank you Carrie and Connie!!

    No need to enter me in the giveaway. Shared post!!

  22. Kathleen Friesen

    So nice to meet Jo and learn a bit about her life. Sounds fascinating! I’m a new fan of Carrie’s, and I would love to win a copy of this book.

  23. Anne Payne

    Well, Hey Jo! Glad you got outta that camp long enough to be interviewed 😉 Hmmmm….Tom is something, isn’t he?!

    Great interview, Carrie & Connie & ‘Jo’! Don’t enter me as I was a beta reader for the book. Just stopping by to say Howdy and wish y’all a Merry Christmas! 🙂

  24. carrie

    Well, I sure do appreciate you having me on, Mrs. Almony! Just took a break from my baking to stop by. It’s brownies today and not my usual hundreds of biscuits for those lumberjacks! I’m just hoping they’ll slow down enough to at least enjoy what they are eating at our festive event tonight. Blessings!

  25. Raven H. Price

    I love Jo!