I have always found Christmas stories a joy to write–and I have written a pile of them, both novels and novellas. In 1989 I was asked to contribute to the first A REGENCY CHRISTMAS, an anthology of novellas by five Regency authors. It was so popular that it started the tradition of publishing romance anthologies for all sorts of occasions, most notably Christmas. My novella in that anthology was “Star of Bethlehem” about a lost engagement ring that actually saved a marriage. I went on to write for the annual anthology for the next eight years, as well as contributing to the Topaz anthology ANGEL CHRISTMAS (with one of the silliest covers ever!) and the Harlequin anthology THE HEART OF CHRISTMAS.
The Harlequin story has been used in several anthologies since the first one. And there is one anthology, UNDER THE MISTLETOE, that contains five of my novellas, one, “A Family Christmas” written specifically for that book, and four taken from the older anthologies–“Star of Bethlehem” from 1989, “The Best Gift” from 1994, “Playing House” from 1990, and “No Room at the Inn” from 1993. It has proved a popular anthology and is to be republished at the beginning of December this year with a slightly different cover. I am hoping that soon the remaining novellas will be put together in a new anthology.
I have written a number of Christmas novels too, including A CHRISTMAS PROMISE, which is to be republished at the end of October with a new cover. Do take note of that fact–I always hate buying a book only to realize that I already have it under a different cover! It is the story of two people who marry each other reluctantly and for all the wrong reasons and dislike and despise each other as a result. It takes all the magic of Christmas to make them see beyond their preconceptions and to come to like and admire each other–and, of course, to fall deeply in love!
Why have I written so many Christmas stories? And why would I love to write more? I have always seen Christmas as the absolute best possible setting for romance! Even apart from the religious significance of the festival, it is a holiday for family and togetherness and feasting and dancing and children and joy… I could go on and on. Let me sum up: it is an occasion for LOVE in all its many manifestations. Most of my Christmas novels and novellas have a larger family beyond just the hero and heroine. Most have children. And most have a troubled relationship–a marriage that teeters on the brink of failure, a couple of lonely souls who have yet to discover each other, a former acquaintance that ended bitterly but needs rekindling, a marriage that has already fallen over the brink of failure.
And it is always Christmas that brings the lovers together and shows them that they belong together, that there is love and joy to be shared after the season is over and on through the rest of their lives. Christmas is never incidental to my stories. It is never just a background detail that could be changed without in any way affecting the outcome of the story. Christmas is a character in my stories–a central, benevolent force for love and joy. There is no lovelier time of year if one delves deeply enough to hear what at its heart it is saying about the meaning of it all–that love is always there and that love is all that matters.
To one randomly chosen person who leaves a comment below before the end of next Friday, November 1, I will send signed copies of the new edition of A CHRISTMAS PROMISE and of THE HEART OF CHRISTMAS. And it does not matter where in the world you live. If your name is drawn, I will send you the books!