Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Writers Wednesday - The Holiday Hook

It's the day before you're either scrambling to prep for Thanksgiving or wondering what the American obsession with turkey does for the national IQ...but for those who need a distraction from whether to flavor their whipped cream with cinnamon or vanilla...Pink Heart Society editor Jenna Bayley-Burke is here as the token American to rave about Thanksgiving romances...

Thanksgiving brings with it warm feelings - gratitude, devotion, decadence - and ushers in cool winter nights...what a set-up for a romance novel. The book that comes up routinely when we think of Thanksgiving romance is the Janet Evanovitch classic, Thanksgiving.

It's been re-released, so buyers might not realized it was born a category romance...until they read it. The heroine gives up on men after her 3rd broken engagement and retreats to collonial Williamsburg, desiging pottery during the week and working as a visitors guide to the historical area on weekends. Until she tries to return the town pediatrician's fat rabbit, and has a baby handed to her.

Harlequin American Romance can be counted on to highlight the best of this American holdiday -- like Cathy Gillen Thacker's The Rancher's Family Thanksgiving and Holly Jacobs Once Upon a Thanksgiving.

I even used Thanksgiving as a turning point in my Mills & Boon Modern release, Just One Spark. A retail manager trying to find love during the rapid pace of holidays between Halloween and Christmas?

Holidays give us a selling tool - how many books have you picked up because of a Christmas tree on the cover? - and a built-in timeline. Certain holidays are universal -- Christmas and Valentine's play well everywhere -- while others more culture specific. Note my UK release has nothing in the title or blurb about the holiday, while the American Romance's play it up.

When thinking about setting, don't forget timing. Placing your book during the holidays gives it a ticking clock...will they get it together before Santa arrives? Will your hero show up at her family Thanksgiving dinner if they aren't speaking? What if your long last love trick-or-treated at your door with his twin neices? Holiday parties, the New Year's eve kiss...the holidays really help a writer out!

It's something to think about while you're waiting for the marshmallows to toast atop the sweet potatoes...that, and what are some of your favorite holiday romances?


Ally, Jenna, Donna, Natasha, Nicola & Trish


  1. Oh my I thought it read she tries to return the town's paediatrician's fat RABBI.... goodness me, that would have been hard. I think I need to read a little slower.

  2. Ladies, Happy Thanksgiving! Great post Jenna and I'll just bet your "feast" will be incredible!

  3. Natalie! OMG, that would be hilarious...and so like me to typo...