Saturday, November 06, 2010

WIldcard Weekend: Melissa McClone's Christmas Magic

 Melissa McClone on the inspiration behind her latest heart warming romances.

Thanksgiving is less than three weeks away, but the shelves are already filling up with Christmas wrapping paper, tags and bows. Holiday themed romance novels are also hitting the shelves this month.
Christmas Magic on the Mountain, a Harlequin Romance, is one of those November books. The story stands-alone, but it also contains characters from a previous book. A planned series? Nope. While some writers plan everything out in advance, this series just sort of happened.
Back in December 2006, a climbing accident on Mount Hood captured media attention around the US and the world. I was captivated, too. I wanted to know more about the rescue mission so clicked on a link on an Internet news article. I ended up at a Pacific Northwest climbing forum where I found posts by mountain rescuers involved in the search.
It didn't take long for a story to take shape. One I felt compelled to write even though I knew nothing about climbing and mountain rescue. I put on my research cap as well as a climbing harness and set to work. That initial idea turned into Rescued by the Magic of Christmas, a November 2008, Harlequin Romance.
I soon realized I didn't want to say goodbye to the quaint little mountain village called Hood Hamlet and the characters that lived there. I proposed another story set there with a mountain rescue hero. The time of year, however, would be late summer/autumn. My editor gave me the thumbs up.
About this time, a Portland Mountain Rescue member, who had helped me with research on the first book and became a friend in the process, was injured while climbing Mount Hood. Fortunately he was going to be okay. But I had an a-ha moment about my new plot. My editor said the story changes were fine!
I had written about a quarter of the manuscript when my editor sent me the following:
Would you be happy with making Sean’s book set at Christmas time and making it as Christmassy - with all the bells (excuse the pun!) and whistles on it – as possible?

I love reading and writing Christmas stories so said yes! Of course, I soon realized Mount Hood is totally different between early September and December. I also couldn't take a non-holiday plot and just add in some Christmas decorations and snow. What I'd written wouldn't work at all. I had to start over.
When I finally typed The End, I knew without a doubt this story was meant to be set during the holiday season. Thank goodness my editor asked me to change the timeframe.
This summer when I was asked to write an eHarlequin on-line read, I decided to return to Hood Hamlet once again. Snow-Kissed Reunion stands alone, but readers who are familiar with the first book will recognize a few characters including Sean Hughes, the hero from Christmas Magic on the Mountain.
In a couple of weeks, I'll start writing another Hood Hamlet book set at Christmastime. A trip to Mount Hood and Timberline Lodge will definitely be in order. Let's just hope there's enough Christmas magic left on the mountain for that story!
Are you a fan of series or books with continuing characters? If so, what are your favorites?

Be sure to read Melissa's heartwarming Online serial --A Snow Kissed Reunion on eharlequin which concludes on 8 November.


  1. I am definitely a fan of series or books with continuing characters. My favorites are those about families and I like suspense the best.

  2. Hi, EllenToo. I really like series with families and also those with a group of close friends.

    I like the Love Inspired Suspense books. A good friend, Terri Reed, writes for the line, and there are some other really good authors writing for them that can get me sitting on the edge of my seat when the suspense thread heats up!

  3. Hi Melissa, thanks for the shout out.
    I love series books myself. I love to see what's happening in the all the characters lives with each book. And I love Hood Hamlet and all the residents there. You picked a beautiful setting and an unique premise.
    I can't believe Christmas is just around the corner. And what better way to get in the holiday spirit than with a Christmas book!

  4. I like reading books that are related either by characters or locations. Especially Christmas books. *g*

  5. Hey, Terri! Thanks for stopping by! And yes, what better way to get into the holiday spirit than with a Christmas book. I can't wait to head to the store and buy all the Christmas ones that are out. Those are what I read during Nov/Dec. Just love them!

    Hi Brandy! Another fan of series and Christmas books! Thanks for heading over here. (Brandy is one of my blog readers who became a good friend and like me loves cats!)

  6. I love series in part because of the anticipation of characters I love getting their own stories. Sometimes it is hard to leave them in my imagination.

    Hard to believe your on line read is almost over...I have enjoyed it!

    Peace, Julie

  7. Congrats on the new release, Melissa. I'm always interested in finding out where an author gets their ideas for their stories.

  8. I can't wait to read this book. I've loved all the books that you've written and Christmas-themed story leaves with a smile on your face.

  9. I like family series too. But of course when I try to think of one or two my mind goes blank.

    I really wanted to say I'm enjoying your online read and because of it I'll be purchasing Christmas Magic on the Mountain.

  10. Julie - I'm the same way when I read a series. I'll really connect with a secondary character and start hoping the author has or is writing his/her story next. Glad you're liking the on-line read. It's hard to believe the eighth chapter will be up already on Monday!

    Jane - thanks for coming over, too! Ideas come from some very strange places. At least for me!

    Dru - Thanks. I really do enjoy writing Christmas themed books. I do hope you like this one!

    Marcie - I can never remember names of series. A lot of times I go blank on the names of books or I mix up the titles when someone really wants to know what it is! And I'm so happy you're enjoying the online read. And I hope you like the book just as well. You should recognize some things in it having read Snow-Kissed Reunion!

    Okay, break time over. It's time for more writing!