About four years ago, I wrote a book called Forever Christmas. Its a novella about a girl, Anna, who is determined to show her well meaning father and brother that she can make it on her own. She purchases her late mother’s childhood home in a small, fictional town called Angel’s Lake. There, she meets her next door neighbor, Sam, who seems like just another well meaning man wanting to prove she needs him. Three things happened when I wrote this book.
I realized I LOVE writing Christmas stories. Christmas is to romance what Hershey’s chocolate syrup is to really decadent ice cream. The ice cream is totally enjoyable, delicious even, on its own. But add some chocolate sauce and you just want to lick the bowl clean. Romance is all about those feel good moments and I realized that when you set it during the most feel good holiday of them all…that is something I can totally get behind.
Angel’s Lake was born. I love fictional small towns. I love how the characters are connected from book to book, but also within the book. Everyone knows everyone or has at least heard of them. Sometimes this is a blessing and sometimes…it’s not. My favorite fictional towns are Serendipity (Carly Phillips) and Lucky Harbor (Jill Shalvis). After reading those, I knew I wanted to build an imaginary town of my own. What I didn’t know, was that I’d end up having 2 other stories and 2 mini stories connected to this same town.
I developed a fondness for the trope of misunderstandings. As human beings, we infer and assume so much about others and it is not always based on truth or concrete evidence. In fact, all too often, it’s based on how we feel; about the emotional background (baggage) we bring to a situation. While this is difficult in real life…these moments of misunderstanding that create conflict, I decided they could provide humor in my stories.
The men and women of Angel’s Lake have several misunderstandings. In Forever Christmas, Anna misunderstands Sam’s intention of helping, which he makes worse by fibbing about a fake girlfriend. In Falling for Home, Alex mistakes Lucy as an intruder and her hopes of quietly sneaking back into her childhood home after years of being gone are dashed. In the most recent book, Falling for Kate, Elliot and Kate cover their true feelings, pretending they don’t exist. This doesn’t work out so well.
I think it’s important to learn about yourself as a writer. It’s also important to know your audience and listen to them when the opportunity arises. Which is how this tiny little story about Sam and Anna came to be. In Forever Plus One, another misunderstanding has Anna uncertain about Sam’s true feelings about her recent announcement.
When I wrote Forever Christmas, there was one scene I had in mind. If you read it, or have read it, the scene is where Anna is determined to get her own, real Christmas tree. What started as some words on paper to show this woman’s strength and this man’s adoration of her, even when she confounded him, turned into the creation of my own tiny fictional world.
I hope that when people visit Angel’s Lake, they can see it in their heads. I hope they can picture Sam and Anna’s cute, little, side-by-side bungalows and the long driveways lined with trees. I hope they can imagine stopping by Adam’s Apples to say hi to the owner, who, oddly enough, is not named Adam. I want people to have an idea of what walking through the U shaped core of downtown would feel like, with the police department, presided over by Alex, on one side and Bean’s Bakery on the other. It’s a town that I hope stays in people’s thoughts from one book to the next so that with every book they read with Angel’s Lake as the backdrop, they feel a little like the characters do: like they’re coming home.
In honor of an exciting month, releasing Falling for Kate AND launching this website with the other chicks, I’m giving away an Angel’s Lake Bundle.
To enter, simply leave a comment on this blog post, any time between Tuesday, October 25th and Friday, October 28th. I’ll pick a random winner and announce on Saturday, October 29th. If you feel like sharing with friends, go ahead and spread the word about the giveaway (or our cool new website).
Do you have a favorite fictional town? Where is it? Who’s the author?