Recently, someone asked why people love Christmas books and movies so much. I really had to think about it before I could answer. You see, my first response was wrong. So often, we assume it’s because it’s a joyful time of year and people like the escape into a fairytale world where things only go wrong long enough to make everything else look so amazing.
Tell that to It’s a Wonderful Life. Let’s face it. That movie has a powerful upbeat ending, sure. But several tragic things happen in there. Loved ones die. Dreams are smashed, and even that fabulous scene at the end of the movie is a bit bittersweet. Mr. Potter still gets away with essentially stealing George’s money (as far as we know).
Even the classic A Christmas Carol is full of a dark, empty past, and his future isn’t looking so great if Scrooge doesn’t mend his ways. But Hallmark is proof that happily-ever-after Christmas movies are a big thing, too. We like to joke about “plot bingo” and “recycled actors,” but no one can deny, the movies are popular.
When I went to explore these things, I realized something they all have in common—hope. The hard stories, the happy ones, everything in between—they all hang on hope.
Scrooge hopes for a future that isn’t as horrifying as Marley’s predictions. He doesn’t want to be the person he’s shown to be. He has hope for a future that holds more meaning than his past and current life. George Bailey hoped that Bedford Falls would be a growing, thriving community full of people who helped each other in hard times. And isn’t that exactly what happened?
Whether it’s hoping to save the town from takeover by a glitzy resort or the local economy taking when a factory is closed, Hallmark movies almost wouldn’t exist without that little element called hope. With hope, the misunderstanding that broke two people up twenty years ago can be resolved. The inn that is floundering can have new life. The Christmas tree farm will survive the blight on the trees and become a ski resort instead—whatever. There’s hope in those movies.
And that hope, I believe, is what keeps readers coming back for more Christmas books every year—and sometimes, all year long. Most authors have at least one or two Christmas books. Then there are those like me who have a dozen or two. A twenty-five-year-old secret brought to light at Christmas? Yep—Tarnished Silver. A kiss-a-day pact between two people who hardly know each other? Yep—31 Kisses. What about a plasmaphobic (afraid of ghosts) guy who has to tell a ghost story to get his inheritance? Mmm-hmm… The Ghosts of New Cheltenham. From the crazy cat lady with seven cats (Christmas Stalkings) to the mom who is a bit over-the-top with her Christmas giving (and with no income this year—Merri’s Christmas Mission), one could argue that I’ve kind of overdone it on the carols (Carol and the Belles, anyone) and the mistletoe (Sand & Mistletoe for the win!)
Merry Christmas. And if you’re looking for a few Christmas books for your shelves, check out my list over HERE.
Scott Anderson – the man, the myth, the legend.
Well, not really but it’s a fun way to start this off.
After taking a little break last month from character pieces, I figured it be a good idea to get back on track and who better to start it with then with Scott Anderson. Our hero, and Beth’s main squeeze, from the Independence Islands series.
In my head, when Scott first came on to the scene, he was a bit of a quiet one with the looks of a Hollywood movie star. That isn’t the story “he told” me. Throughout each book, we see his personality come to life. One reviewer said he was a little unbelievable, and that maybe so, but with each book we see more of his insecurities, his quiet demeanor, and the tender place that he has for not just Elizabeth Stevens but for the island curmudgeon, Thaddeus.
You see, Scott is an orphan of sorts. An adult orphan but parentless, nonetheless. He feels the constant pain of not having a father to go to for advice and is left to either figure things out on his own or trust the advice of Thaddeus. When Beth comes to town, he begins to remember the bits of wisdom given to him through Gram. He is also determined to make his mark on the islands. When a series of unfortunate events in Scrumptious Independence put him out of the business he inherited, he chose to see it as kind of a blessing in disguise. He took the opportunity and chased a dream that would help the people of the islands.
I’ve also created Scott to offer a window to the women of the world. Society likes to paint men as dirt bags or “out for one thing”. In doing so, they miss a very important part of manhood. See women think that men are just goal driven and don’t take their partner’s needs into consideration. After several conversations with my husband, he informed me that is not the case. “If they look goal driven, it’s because they’re trying to create a life for their family. A life that provides his loved ones with certain comforts.” To provide for their families, that means that they cannot be present all the time. That means they have to sacrifice their own desires to make sure that the kids are fed or that their wives are satisfied with their home. So sure, they are driven, and the goal is their family. This is the very core of Scott Anderson. He wants to build a life with Beth and to do that, he hast to make certain sacrifices.
Another interesting fact about this character is that he is closely modeled after my own”hero”.
When I started writing, I promised that would never happen. That my husband is mine alone, but the more Scott’s character developed, the more I see my husband on the pages of these books. They are tender with their loved ones, focused on creating a good life, and their puppy-dog-eyes will do you in every time.
Just ask Beth.
New Release and a birthday!
November is one of my favorite months. It’s my birthday month and I have a book releasing every November for the next few years. Doesn’t get much more fun than that, but then you start adding in holidays and, well, November just keeps getting better.
This November, I’m thrilled to bring you Footprints on Her Heart.
Kara and Trent were a joy to write and their constant banter is among my favorite things in this book.
Footprints tells the story of an introvert photographer and an animal shelter owner who thinks he needs to save the world to make up for his past.
I’m glad to know a God who forgives. Trent knows that he’s forgiven, but he struggles to accept that his past is just that, past.
He lets it control him.
Kara wants to know why God made her the way He did. Why does she struggle as an introvert and how does she overcome it?
I deeply felt the fear and need of these characters as I wrote Footprints and I hope you love them as much as I do.
The second best part of Trent and Kara’s story is the animals. Trent owns the animal shelter on Hooper Island and is fostering a pair of husky pups who get into no end of trouble. Coming up with antics for the animals had me in stitches throughout the writing process.
Writing stories has been the best birthday present I could ever give myself and I thank God for trusting me with the gift of story.