Friday, October 23, 2015

Three Steps to the Making of a Christmas Novel

By Kimberly Rose Johnson

I am often asked about my writing process, but it’s difficult to give a straight answer since it depends on the story—specifically if it’s a holiday story or not. I love writing Christmas stories, but my process is very different for these books than my others.

For example, when I wrote Island Christmas it wasn’t Christmastime. Somehow I had to get into the holiday spirit even if it was ninety degrees outside. For me the quickest and easiest way to do this is to put on Christmas music. J I began writing Island Christmas last spring and completed it the final week in June.

I had to completely immerse my mind in what I considered to be the perfect Christmas setting and wrap that spirit of Christmas around me as I wrote. Every Christmas story I write must have snow. It’s the romantic in me that demands a white Christmas. J I was a little concerned about Island Christmas though, because when I think of the Puget Sound Islands, I don’t think snow. Thankfully my cover artist who lives in the area where my series is set, assured me that although it is rare, they have had snow. That was the best news!

I suddenly had permission to create my perfect Christmas setting and the creative juices started flowing. Little by little I plugged away at the story, and it all came together in the end.

Below is an excerpt from Island Christmas to show you what I mean about snow and Christmas.

Snowflakes cascaded in soft puffs, creating a hush in the night. The snow creaked as it compacted under their feet. Rachel breathed in deeply. “I love the smell of snow.”

Chris chuckled. “I can’t smell it.”

“Not everyone can.”

“Describe it to me.”

“Clean. Fresh. It’s difficult to explain.”

He chuckled. “I think I can smell it after all.”

The sidewalk had been cleared, and they strolled around the building until they came to a sign that welcomed them to Reflection Park. “I didn’t realize this was a park. I thought it was part of the hospital,” Rachel said as they entered the park-like setting she’d viewed from the window. She stopped to soak in the sight. “Isn’t it beautiful?”

He slipped his arm from her hold and instead draped it across her shoulder and pulled her close. “Yes. Very. I’ve never appreciated the lights of Christmas as much as I have since being on Wildflower Island.”

She gazed at the colored lights on the huge fir tree. “We should take a selfie with the tree.”

“I’m game if you are.” A snowflake landed on his cheek and quickly melted.

When I sit down to create a new story idea, I have a three-step process. Setting, then characters, and finally plot.

For me location is king and can make or break a story. If the locale doesn’t fit the story it doesn’t work, therefore I must begin with setting, then go from there.

What is most important to you when reading or writing a story? I think we can all agree that a story must draw us in as readers and be well written. What specifically makes or breaks a story for you?

Should Rachel take a risk, or play it safe and possibly lose the man who could help fulfill her dreams?

Sous Chef Rachel Narrelli returns to Wildflower Island looking for a fresh start for herself and her young son, but discovers that life has a lot of bumps in the road even on idyllic Wildflower Island. She is grateful when new friend Chris Campbell offers support as she faces obstacles with her new job and new life. She cares for the Chris but must decide if she is willing to risk her heart to a man with an uncertain future.

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Kimberly Rose Johnson, a recent empty-nester, lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and their yellow lab. Island Christmas is her Eighth published book and the third in her Wildflower B&B Romance series. Kimberly enjoys long walks, chocolate, and mochas, not necessarily in that order.

Kimberly’s Website: