I’m so looking forward to today. I slipped into our little Main Street Café extra early to make sure everything was perfect. Carol DeVaney will be here any second. Mona Risk and Tori Scott will be stopping by, and I’m crossing my fingers Pepper Phillips will be here. Pepper is buried under all those last minute things we must do to publish a book. But I’m very excited that Debra Holland is going to be my special guest on Main Street. She’s coming from sunny California to be here. She writes the Montana Sky historical westerns. Well, she does write several other things, but she’s probably best known for her Montana Sky books which have put her on top of all the national best seller lists.
EA: Hi, Carol. What can I get for you to drink? Coffee, tea or something else? It’s a little chilly today, and it’s beginning to feel a whole lot like Christmas.
CDV: You know how I love hot chocolate with a dash of cinnamon. But, right now I need strong coffee. Oh and add a tsp. and half of cream if you would please. Today was busy, and my copy of A Smoky Mountain Christmas came by UPS! What a thrill to hold my novel in my hands! I’m looking forward to many new readers.
EA: That’s so exciting that your e-book is now available in paperback. It doesn’t exactly look like a Smoky Mountain Christmas around here. But I loved your story. Don’t laugh, but snow sounds and smells different when you’re in the mountains. What made you write about the mountains?
CDV: Thanks, E. I’m so glad you enjoyed A Smoky Mountain Christmas. A friend sent a one-line challenge to me, and from the get-go Tina popped inside my head and so did the snowstorm and the mountains. I spent much of my teen years about fifty miles from the Smokies, and since I’m familiar, there was no other area I wanted to set the story. Yes, mountain snow has a scent of its own. I think it’s probably all the trees mixed in that gives the air such a sweet, clean smell. (laughs softly)
EA: Here’s your coffee. Be careful. It’s very hot. I think it’s the pines. I love the way their branches droop with heavy snow as if they were completely relaxed.
CDV: While I wrote the first few pages, Sandra Bullock was Tina. Down to her infectious smile. I saw Sandra all through the book. If there were moments of writer’s block, I pictured Sandra and viola! A scene popped inside my head and onto the pages. I can see her playing the role of Tina. I’m working on a sequel to A Smoky Mountain Christmas. Gotta see if we can rectify some of the problems with Tom and his son. By the way, I’ve had several people email me to see if there would be a sequel.
EA: I think a sequel would be great. Oh, look who just walked in! Debra, I’m so glad you could join us. Make yourself at home, and tell me what you’d like to drink. I can fix almost anything.
DH: Hot chocolate with whipped cream, please.
EA: Do you realize that all three of us have written Christmas books. I love the cover on your Montana Sky Christmas. It’s so tranquil. While I get your hot chocolate tell us why you wrote a collection of short Christmas stories.
DH: I, too, love the cover for Montana Sky Christmas. I asked my designer for a snowy forest scene, and I didn’t want any Christmas “symbols.” I love the purply white color of the snow. (big smile)
EA: Here’s your hot chocolate. But what prompted you to write a collection?
DH: How I came to write this book…humm… (sips her hot chocolate) I had three ideas for Christmas stories, and I thought I’d put them together in an anthology. So I started to write them and more ideas came to me. I ended up with seven stories. In the process, I found I loved writing short. I hadn’t known that before. I have a few more Christmas story ideas, so there may be a volume two in the future. Or perhaps I’ll adapt them to another time of year.
EA: I think writing shorts is very difficult. (shakes head)
DH: Originally, I planned on six stories.But one day during a trail run with my woman’s fitness bootcamp, we passed an older gentleman walking with a companion. One of my friends said, “Oh that’s so-and-so. He used to be on the city council. He’s known for always wearing red socks.” I asked her why, and she didn’t know.
We kept running and I just KNEW there was a story in those red socks. I started to imagine a cowboy who always wore red stockings. By the half-way point in the run, I had my hero all figured out and a vague idea of the storyline. On the way back, I figured out the heroine. I wrote the story in three days. It just poured out of me. That’s the best kind of writing!
EA: I so agree. I love when the words just flow.
DH: I enjoyed writing about some of the characters in my books, or developing new ones and weaving them into the life in my town. Not all seven stories are romances, but all are about love.
EA: That is such a wonderful story about the red socks. Isn’t it amazing how things like that trigger something in our minds and turn our muses loose? A Snowy Christmas in Wyoming is a collage of things that my muse combined, starting with a horrendous blizzard many years ago that hit a friend’s daughter’s ranch. What that family went through was heart wrenching. Then I added Caroline and Andy to it and a wonderful old character named Barbara.
As soon as I added Barbara, the whole story just came together. She was the glue. A woman with the capacity to love, the ability to work hard, and this wonderful business sense. She loved her granddaughter enough to let her go and find her place in the world, knowing that the young woman was firmly anchored to the ranch and would never forget her roots. Barbara also had enough sense to know that Andy was exactly who she needed. And when Andy was given custody of his baby daughter, she guided and steered him. She helped him step into fatherhood. I love writing about families. Can’t you tell?
CDV: Debra, Montana Sky Christmas is a wonderful book. And…I do love the cover. I love that the old man’s socks triggered one of the stories. That’s similar to what happened to me when I wrote my first published short story. Poof! The story came all at once. What’s next for you?
DH: Look for my new novella, Painted Montana Sky, to be out by Christmas, and the last book in my fantasy romance trilogy, Harvest of Dreams, to be out by the end of January.
EA: That’s so exciting. Two books that close together? I don’t think people have any understanding of what it takes to do that.
CDV: E, could I have a refill while we chat?
EA: Certainly. I need more coffee, too. Let me know when you’re ready for a refill, Debra.
CDV:You know, I think Barbara added so much to A Snowy Christmas in Wyoming. I can’t imagine the book without her now. She’s the grandmother everyone wishes for. I rooted for Caroline and Andy all the way through the story. Do you think there will be another story with these characters?
EA: Creeds Crossing is a rather small community, so anyone is apt to show up at any time. It’s part of the reason I like writing within the same setting. The area becomes part of the story and it anchors the story for the readers. Often with a series, each book needs to be read in order. I don’t do that. Anyone can read any story without fear of missing something.
Careful your coffee is hot. Oh, and look who just walked through the door. It’s Mona! Tell me what you want to drink and I’ll get it for you. I just got your book Christmas Babies, and it’s on the top of my TBR pile.
MR: Hi everyone. I’m drinking awful concoctions these days. Now I’m trying boiled ginger with a spoon of honey. Not bad for taste. Apparently it’s excellent for congestion and coughing. I’m bringing it with me. For years I’ve wondered what Christmas on the beach would look like. Now I love it. All our palm trees are decorated with colorful lights.
EA: Well, let me heat it up for you. Somehow palm trees and Christmas just don’t mix in my mind. I want snow. (big smile)
MR: I wrote Christmas Babies during my recent long cruise. I was relaxed. No phone, no internet. The ideas and the words just flowed on my laptop. It has such a cute pair of babies on the cover. Exactly as I imagined them. Christmas Babies is part of a series called Holiday Babies. I’ve already started writing Valentine Baby. I’m announcing it to force myself to write. No procrastination allowed. Hopefully, I’ll have an Easter Baby or… Too early to decide.
EA: Ah, a cruise. How wonderful. The cover is adorable. Maybe a nice warm Christmas would be the perfect change of pace. I love the idea of more baby stories and I know your readers love them, too.
(looks at door and pouts) I was so hoping Pepper was going to join us. She’s been furiously working on her Christmas book, and the last I heard she was waiting for her cover artist to send her the cover. Maybe she’ll drop by later and give us the title. Here’s Tori’s cover. Isn’t it adorable? I think she’ll be here in a few minutes to tell her Christmas story about a young woman who doesn’t think very much of Christmas.
I’m thrilled that we have so many Authors of Main Street with Christmas books. It’s wonderful having you all here at the Main Street Café. Relax and make yourselves at home while I figure out how to show off our covers around here. I’m sure we’re going to have lots of visitors with questions and comments. And I know Pepper and Tori will be joining us!