Thursday, December 1, 2011

Melissa McClone's Top Christmas Six


Hi Melissa and welcome to my Ramblings Blog :)

I'm stoked to have Harlequin Romance author Melissa McClone with me today. The first of Melissa's books I read was Wedding Date With The Best Man and I've been a fan ever since. Firefighter Under The Mistletoe is on my tbr pile this month!

Thanks so much for having me on your blog today, Rachael. Congrats on the release of One Perfect Night! I love Christmas romances.

During the months of November and December, Christmas romance novels go from my shopping bag right to the top of my TBR stack. The ones with Christmassy covers, decorated trees or sleigh rides or scenic snow scenes, put big smiles on my face and make me want to reach for them even when I know I should be doing something else (like writing!)

Christmas books are my favorite type of romance novels. I'll read twice as many books during the holiday season than I usually do. I can't get enough of Christmas stories.

There's something about the joy of the season, the hope Christmas brings, and falling in love that work so well together. I love when an author doesn't just set a story at Christmastime by adding some lights, snow and a Christmas tree, but weaves the holiday into the plot so it plays an integral part in the book. That is, the book wouldn't be the same if it weren't happening at Christmastime.

One of the challenges for an author is keeping things fresh when certain elements are almost expected in a Christmas story. I know I have a few things I love to read (and write about!):

1) A kiss under the mistletoe. Yes, it's clich├ęd, but it's also very romantic.

2) Snow. I love the idealized, snowy winter wonderland setting. I've had white Christmases only a couple of times in my life, but they rank up at the top when it comes to my favorite holiday memories!

3) Baking. What is Christmas without making something sweet and special for the holiday? Having the characters bake together brings back fond memories of my childhood and a dear lady who was our surrogate grandmother.

4) Santa. I love when characters of all ages visit Santa, especially when what they really want for Christmas comes out!

5) Presents! What a character gives another person tells a lot about them as well as what they think of the recipient. If that gift can move or affect the plot, all the better!

6) Jesus. Whether it's a nativity set, a pageant or church service, I like to see some mention of the reason for the season, even if the book isn't an inspirational.

What about you? Is there anything you particularly like to see in a Christmas story?

Thanks again Melissa, I can't wait to hear what everyone else likes to see in a Christmas story :)

FIREFIGHTER UNDER THE MISTLETOE blurb:

Christmas magic in Hood Hamlet...

For Leanne, infuriatingly charming firefighter Christian Welton is out of bounds. Not only is he too young for her, but his trail of broken hearts is legendary. Leanne's fought hard to be one of the boys, and won't let anyone see that Christian's smile makes her want to melt into his arms!

Christian wanted to discover the softer side of the tough-talking paramedic, but hasn't counted on how much the real Leanne affects him. He's vowed never to settle down, but under the mistletoe it's certainly the season to be tempted.…

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14 comments:

Bec said...

I love the holiday season too and i love holiday books! I think i like (as well as a nod to the reason for the season) presents. I love to buy the perfect gift so I love to see what a hero or heroine come up with.
Coming from a summer Christmas background I love the snow and roaring fires of a Northern christmas story!

Tina said...

I don't think of Christmas as a setting or even a theme... Christmas is almost its own character. You know what I mean? Mistletoe, music and baking are some of my favorite Christmas traditions. Great post! :)

Melissa McClone said...

Bec - Thanks for posting! I've never lived in the Southern Hemisphere, but I did live in Arizona for three years so Christmas wasn't in the summer, but it was a little different in the desert compared to the Cascade mountains!

Tina - Great to see you here! I do know what you mean about Christmas being a character! In my Hood Hamlet books, Christmas magic plays a big role in the stories. Thanks for commenting!

Robyn said...

I think what I love most is that Christmas makes characters aware that they're missing out on some of the magic of the season by being single.

Rachael Johns said...

Oooh Bec - I love reading about cold Christmas' too.

Tina - I reckon you're right, Christmas can be a whole other character in the book!

Robyn - that is so true!

Leah Ashton said...

I love, love Christmas - despite all the stressful bits, there is just something special about waking up and realising it's Christmas day.

I get the same feeling from Christmas books - they have that special sparkle. Living in Australia, it's always fun to read about a white Christmas, but I love our summer Christmases, too :)

Shirley Jump said...

I love writing and reading holiday books, too. I try to schedule it so I'm writing my holiday books during the holiday (which is both insane and fun). I love to have snow in my Christmas books, and there's always some kind of tree scene. :-)

Katy said...

I've always felt that the holidays are romantic - I don't know if it is the candles, the cold weather being perfect for snuggles or being more likely to have the lights low to enjoy the lights on the tree. Whatever it is, I love it!

Melissa McClone said...

Robyn - I hadn't thought about that, but as Rachael posted, very true!

Leah - Special sparkle is a great way to describe what they have! BTW, it was great to meet you in NY!

Melissa McClone said...

Shirley - I love when I can write Christmas stories during the holiday season, but it doesn't always work out that way. This one was written in the Jan - April timeframe! Kept the holiday going for me quite a while!

Katy - yes, very romantic. I always wanted to have a Christmas wedding. My husband proposed right before Christmas, but his dad was ill so we pushed up the wedding rather than wait a year.

scarlet wilson said...

Hi Melissa

Just finished reading Firefighter under the Mistletoe and loved it. Also loved Christmas Magic on the Mountain and the setting of hood hamlet. Hope you have one in the pipeline for next year!

Brandy said...

I've never broken down the reasoning of why I like to read Christmas romance books, but if I had your reasoning is spot on!

Melissa McClone said...

Scarlet - thanks so much. I'm very happy you enjoyed the books. I have many more Hood Hamlet ideas, but haven't written another yet. I'm hoping I will get approval to write them in the future!

Brandy - thanks! I appreciate you stopping by!

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