Is it any wonder romance and Christmas go together so well? The colour red is synonymous with love, passion and romance, and it’s all around us at this time of year. All the shopping centres, streets and houses are decorated with Christmas lighting and all the glittering trimming, making everything look gorgeously romantic.
For book lovers, the knowledge that Santa will be sliding down our chimney bringing a sackful of shiny new Christmas romance novels every year is what gets our hearts racing.
“I love to get into the spirit of Christmas by reading Christmas romance books and watching Hallmark movies. I wallow in the Christmas love and stretch it out for as long as I can,” says author Michelle Douglas.
“Romance is about hope, and so is Christmas,” explains Michelle. “It makes you believe that some things are possible that maybe can’t be at any other time of year.”
Michelle Douglas made her publishing debut with a His Christmas Angel for Harlequin Mills and Boon in 2007. “It was kind of accidental,” said Michelle. “It’s set at Christmas because I started writing it at Christmas.”
31 books later and Christmas is still a regular theme in Michelle’s writing, having written five Christmas novels to date. In 2013, The Nanny who Saved Christmas won the Colorado Romance Writers Award of Excellence.
“A happy ending seems to mean so much more at Christmas,” says Michelle.
When you visit Clare Connelly’s website you’ll notice one of her pages is actually called Christmas – that’s how much she loves the holiday. With over 80 books (self-published as well as published by Harlequin and Tule) under her belt, eight are stand alone Christmas romances. However, every series she writes also includes a Christmas book. This year Christmas features in her sixth Montebello book, Beautifully Broken.
“I love all the traditions, the coming together of family and friends. And it’s the same for my characters, especially in the series I write – they all get to come together and celebrate as well.”
“Christmas has its own kind of magic,” she continues. “Every book I write has a hint of magic, but for my Christmas stories, the magic doubles.”
Clare likes to set the scene by writing her Christmas books in June and July, with Christmas carols on repeat and a crackling fire to keep her warm.
“My favourite kind of Christmas is a White Christmas. Perhaps because it’s 44 degrees and we’re swatting flies, I like to imagine snow and mistletoe.”
Clare also lived in England for four years so has experienced more than one White Christmas. But regardless of where you live in the world, Christmas is most often portrayed as snow and mistletoe.
“A white Christmas just feels authentically Christmas,” says Clare. “Heirloom ornaments, snowy alpine trees, Christmas baking and festive fireside romances feels like real Christmas.
There was an awkward silence as this writer lovingly stroked the cover of her summer Christmas romance anthology, Christmas at Kissing Point.
“Not that I don’t love a beach romance at Christmas,” Clare insisted.
Author of over 50 romance titles, Scarlet Wilson is a self-confessed Hallmark Movie fanatic. “You always know what you’re going to get with Hallmark. There’s no trauma, no sadness and you are guaranteed a happily ever after.”
Sounds like the perfect panacea for the world right now. And Scarlet would know – she’s a nurse by day and has witnessed the COVID pandemic firsthand in Scotland.
Scarlet loves writing Christmas romances and she sets the mood by playing Hallmark Christmas movies in the background as she writes.Her dream was to have one of her books turned into a Hallmark movie and that dream came true this year.
Jingle Bell Bride, published in 2017 by Tule, premiered on the Hallmark Channel in October. Scarlett vividly remembers getting the call earlier this year. After she finished “leaping around the room” she promised herself she would go to Canada (where the movie was scheduled to be filmed) and watch her book come to life.
And then Covid hit. Even though the cast and crew eventually got the all-clear to film, Scarlet would have needed to spend 14 days in quarantine once she arrived in Canada, and then another 14 days in quarantine before she could go on set… the movie was filmed in three weeks.
Regardless, she was still thrilled! Even more so when she discovered who had been cast at Jessica and Matt. Hallmark wanted a diverse cast and Scarlet was perfectly okay with that.
“Julie Gonzalo is just gorgeous and Ronnie Rowe has also been in Star Trek. If I’m not watching Hallmark movies, I’m watching Star Trek!” she said. “And the actress that played the popstar was exactly how I pictured her in my head.”
“It’s so weird to watch your own book turn into a movie. Especially when some of the lines were precisely as I had written them.”
As for Scarlet’s overall verdict of the movie adaptation of Jingle Bell Bride?
“It’s absolutely great!”
Another of her Christmas romance novels is currently under option. While there’s never any guarantee, if the success of Jingle Bell Bride is anything to go by, Scarlet may yet get to go on set and witness one of her books transformed into a Hallmark movie.
Meanwhile, this author finally dipped her toe into the publishing pool with four of my writing besties – Jacqueline Hayley, Clare Miles, Kerrie Starbuck and Peta Crake. Christmas at Kissing Point is a collection of five festive, Aussie romance stories.
Bringing the anthology together was a massive learning curve for all of us. From writing a story in 8000 words, to cover design and marketing, formatting and distribution and everything in between. It’s also a fitting way to see out the year that was 2020.
We couldn’t be happier with the finished product and hope it brings some Christmas joy to all who read it, even if there’s not a skerrick of snow to be found within its pages.
Whatever escape you are looking for this Christmas, one thing is certain – you will definitely find it between the pages of a Christmas romance and in the squillions of wonderful Christmas movies on offer.
I interviewed these fabulous authors – Michelle Douglas, Clare Connelly and Scarlet Wilson – for Blush magazine. Be sure to subscribe (it’s free) to read the full stories.
About Christmas at Kissing Point
Welcome to Christmas at Kissing Point, home of hot summer nights, white sandy beaches and love.
Australian authors Peta Crake, Jacqueline Hayley, Kerrie Starbuck, Tanya Nellestein and Clare Miles have teamed up to bring you five tales of Christmas love that will leave you wishing you’d been extra good for Santa.
The sleepy seaside town of Kissing Point comes alive at Christmas when it fills to the brim with summer holidaymakers. This year there are more than carols and the scent of Christmas barbeques in the air. This year, Santa is playing Cupid as five couples get a chance at love, helped along by warm summer nights and sparkling ocean waves.
An unlucky-in-love postwoman, a one-night stand lover and an interfering ex. A new-to-town baker, her prickly landlord and a spark that has nothing to do with faulty wiring. A movie stunt double, a neurologist and a loveseat rumoured to be magic. Old school sweethearts and a half-forgotten marriage pact. A Christmas hating billionaire, his hardworking PA and an impossible-to-keep deal. Five couples, five chances at love and a Merry Christmas in Kissing Point.
Tanya Nellestein has been recreating the fruits of her overactive imagination since she was a child. She writes mystery and suspense with a decent slab of violence, and a romantic angle that always includes good sex. Happily Ever After for Christmas appears in the Christmas at Kissing Point anthology. Because it’s Christmas, she decided to let all her characters live … just this once. The Valkyrie’s Viking is due for release March 1, 2021.
Tanya is also a freelance journalist, specialising in all things romance, and was shortlisted for the Romance in Media Award in 2020.
Website address: https://tanyanellestein.com
Facebook: Tanya Nellestein