Thursday, October 02, 2008

Thursday Talk Time - Cheryl St. John

This Thursday we welcome Cheryl St. John - with novellas and Christmas and babies, oh my!

Sometimes when I’m invited to write a novella, I pull out my binder of story ideas that haven’t come together and plots that didn’t pan out for a novel-length book. I select something that sounds fun and then I work in the theme. When I was invited to be in this Christmas anthology with Carolyn Davidson, she had chosen “babies” as the connecting theme. I didn’t have an idea waiting.

The first thing that came to mind, however, was that I wasn’t satisfied with one baby. Oh no. I had to have two. Twins.

Now how do you give single characters babies? Well, you either have to kill off their spouse or give the heroine a cad lover who ran off or spring someone else’s baby on them. But what about an emotional connection? This person with the babies needs to be passionate about loving and wanting them. Ah ha. Family. And from there I came up with Gabby Rawlins, a misfit with a devil-may-care cousin who is her antithesis. Willow is obsessed with an outlaw lover, to the point of chasing him across the country while pregnant. Concerned, Gabby follows her cousin all the way to Ruby Creek, Colorado, where a stubborn blacksmith has discovered two newborns in his stable. Oh yeah. Turner Price is a brooding sexy alpha male. Need I say more about him?

But back to the babies. What was I thinking? One baby is a challenge in a romance; two were even more difficult. Which is which and where is each one in the scenes where they appear? New mothers out there know how tough it is to care for one newborn. Some of you might know about twins. But in primitive conditions—there were no Pampers or baby wipes—and with a budding romance to orchestrate? Well, it wasn’t easy, but writing A BABY BLUE CHRISTMAS sure was rewarding in the end.

Photographs always inspire me, so I search for photos that capture the essence or the spirit of the story or I find a character or something that portrays the theme. For this story I found a picture of a main street in a small town. Locations and setting take on a personality for me, and this town was no different. Ruby Creek had a personality I wanted to revisit, so I’ve already proposed a book in the same setting for a story I’m calling HER MAKE-BELIEVE HUSBAND. (Just a little teaser there.)

The first thing I did when I got my author copies was to read Carolyn and Vicki’s stories to see how they handled their babies. I do declare I am in good company with these ladies and their holiday stories. THE MAGIC OF CHRISTMAS anthology is an October release.

Read an excerpt and order a copy here:

Congratulations to EVA who has won Lee Hyat's fabulous wind-up birthday prize!

Eva, if you could drop us a line at with your mailing address, we'll pass it on and your prize will be in the mail!


  1. Cheryl, I have twins and I can tell you there's not much in the way of romance in the early stages of bringing up babies... in fact it takes quite awhile for you even to begin to remember which day it is. Good luck with your next story.

  2. Natalie - I needed you while I was writing it! YOu can send me a picture - I adore babies;

    Here's a link to a fun trailer that my friend Denise Lynn made for our anthology:
    You can hear Carolyn and Vicki and me!