It’s certainly Christmas enough to start decking your halls, resting your merry gentlemen and generally stockpiling alcohol like there’s an unprecedented sherry shortage about to hit.
I love Christmas. Some people don’t. Some people say things like, ‘Well it’s just for the kids really,’ and complain about things like the appropriation of Christian tradition for commercial purposes, or the appropriation of ancient pagan tradition for Christian purposes. Some of those people may have a point, but they’re still fundamentally wrong-headed. Christmas is not the time for rational argument and making a valid point. Christmas is the time for Noddy Holder, and playing parlour games the precise origins of which are lost in the mists of time but will inevitably lead to an argument with your grandmother about whether The Gingerbreads were a real pop band.
Christmas is also the time for reading, and writing, a particular type of story. Writers have been inspired by Christmas for generations. Ever since Luke sat down and penned that dynamite passage about a census, back in the days when Quirinius was Governor of Syria, writers have been writing about all things Christmas.
Dickens did it. Richard Curtis did it. Greg Rossen and Bryan Sawyer did it.* And lots of other very clever writers did it too. So in honour of Christmas and not wanting to look so terribly un-English as to just bang on about my own book, I asked some of them about their Christmas stories and what inspired them.
Kate Johnson has published two Christmas novellas, Elf Gratification (published as Cat Marsters), an erotic novella featuring gratification, and one assumes, elves, and a festive prequel to her Sophie Green series. Talking about the Sophie Green book, The Twelve Lies of Christmas, Kate said, ‘I sat and thought about what was great about Christmas: the good cheer, strangers wishing each other Happy Christmas, the special food and drink, time spent with friends and family, the presents, the bobble hats, the decorations…the break from normal life. But what if you don’t have any of those things? Except for maybe the bobble hats?’
Jo Beverley has released, not one, not two, but three Christmas novellas. She told me that she loves ‘writing books set around Christmas because the celebrations often involve opening homes to company, which can bring people together who might not otherwise meet or reencounter,’ and added that, ‘the emotions around Christmas can also be stressful, which creates tension and conflict.’
Chrissie Loveday‘s Christmas novella, A Computer Guy for Christmas, is due out this week. She commented, ‘I adore Christmas! Our house is awash with lights, trees and all things Christmassy. Of course I wanted to write about it! What a perfect excuse to share it all.’ The story features an office party, and looks at the tension between spending Christmas with family and maintaining a budding romance.
So Christmas gives writers the chance to bring characters together, and throw a bit of stress into the mix, but also to sprinkle a little bit of fairy dust (and a lot of fairy lights) over their story, and incorporate as many bobble hats as they like. And this year… (SOUND THE KLAXON – BLATANT SELF PROMOTION ALERT) I joined in, with my festive romance, Holly’s Christmas Kiss.
Holly’s Christmas Kiss is a much sweeter, in some ways much more innocent, story that I normally write, but I adored writing it. I love the fact that at Christmas you can take off the good taste brakes and throw every single Christmas image you can think of into the mix. So there’s mistletoe and Christmas trees and and a turkey and Santa and presents and… well it’s pretty darn Christmassy. Anyway, you could read it if you wanted, or not. Merry Christmas one and all either way.
Right. Well now I’d best be off to baste my merry gentleman and try not to dismay my turkey. Toodle-pip.
* What do you mean ‘who are Greg Rossen and Bryan Sawyer?’? Why, only the creative geniuses (geniuii?) behind David Hasselhoff’s 2012 Christmas extravaganza The Christmas Consultant. Tsk at you for not knowing.