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.
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.