Monday, November 29, 2010

Confessions of a de facto Holiday Writer

by Anne Holly

I never started out to write holiday romances. I certainly didn’t start out to write holiday erotica, but that’s a whole other story. I started out to write contemporary romances with a bit of wit and a lot of real human motivation – I love characters, so my work is a bit more internal than external in terms of motivation. I like to delve into why they tick the way they tick, and do the things they do. That can be done any time of year, right? So, why do I keep returning to holidays?

At the moment, I have one Christmas erotic-romance and one Christmas romantic-comedy out, and am anticipating a full length contemporary romance coming out in May – which, you guessed it, pivots around the Christmas season. I also have a couple works in progress focusing on Valentine’s Day, one on Hallowe’en, and yet another full length culminating in Christmas and New Years. What the heck?

I swear, I didn’t plan on becoming a holiday writer. I am permanently entrenched in the university life, as I teach at one for my day job, so my stories tend to deal with grad students, professors, etc, and, by that token, they tend to lean towards a term structure – the couple meets in the fall and things get serious by Christmas. So, maybe that is why they work out this way? Hrmmm… Nope. My May full length doesn’t have anything to do with a university, so maybe that’s a bum theory.

In actual fact, it likely has much more to do with the spirit of the holidays – all of the holidays, but especially the cold season ones. Yes, I know, in light of 4 am crushing sales lines and belligerent in-laws, we tend to roll our eyes when people speak of this mythical warmth and glow of the holidays, but hear me out for a moment.

Christmas is the time when we have in our collective subconscious the two extremes – the optimistic Christmas lover, Tiny Tim, and the misanthropic cold hearted Scrooge, who wasn’t really a bad guy deep down. Really, he was just hurt by life. Now, most well-adjusted people fall some place in between, but those two extremes represent the spectrum of romance: Someone full of love, and someone who has had the love beaten out of them. Those are the characters to which I am naturally drawn – and the redemption that is achieved when the one overcomes the other, and the romance that pools in their bond when it all works out right in the end. This is likely the main reason I write so much about the holidays. It is a time of salvaging the human from the ravages of plans gone wrong, of love unrequited and of tragedy spilt over a life time.

This is the main impetus behind my new release from Decadent Publishing, Un-Scrooged. This novella is an off-beat romantic-comedy with a warm heart – a misanthropic English writer, worn into his hermit-like ways by a cold and distant family, is brought back to humanity by a sweet, optimistic Canadian grad student in Oxford for her year abroad, a young woman who even sees the good in Ebenezer Scrooge. The two lovers, Kale and Molly, are both strong characters, firmly resolved in their outlooks in life, who both find something completely unexpected at Christmas. With this story, I have truly come out of the proverbial holiday writer closet, and am ready to pronounce myself an unrepentant holiday romantic.

Although it was not my intention, I am happy with my niche. I find in myself a bit of a natural at capturing the sparkle of the winter holidays. Of course, I probably have a small edge there, being Canadian. The oft-touted definition of a Canadian is “someone who can make love in a canoe,” but I have a better definition to exert – someone who can make love, despite layers of wool, and finds snow sexy. And this is also what I write – how snow, which is, most of the winter, drab and cold and inconvenient, becomes magic at the holidays. When ensconced inside with your One True Love, wrapped in a blanket, those frosty little bits of divine fire falling from the sky create a private and undisturbed bubble, insulated from the noise of the outside world, and even from the passage of time.

So, we have snow and we have redemption. At no other time of the year, are our hearts as open as they are during our favourite holidays, and this… vulnerability… this willingness to redeem and be redeemed… That is why I am an unplanned, but not reluctant, holiday romance writer (and reader). A time of cold noses and apple cheeks is also the most romantic time of the year… if we manage to avoid getting overrun by holiday shoppers and slush.

Most of all, I hope my books help people remember the good about the season and to become “un-Scrooged” a bit themselves, wrapped up with my lovers as they find each other.

And if it works, that is my holiday gift to you.

Happy holidays!

Anne Holly is a writer of contemporary romance and erotica, and is looking forward to the publication of her first full length romance in 2011. She comes from the rugged east coast of Canada, and currently resides in Ontario, where she teaches cultural studies and is the dedicated mom to one young son.

You can visit Anne at:


Maureen said...

Ah, if only I could leave the madness of December behind long enough to write sweet stuff celebrating the holidays!

I think I'm your summer twin...I think of sweet summer sun and tropical beaches when I write about love!

Valerie Mann said...

Congratulations on your new book! The cover is beautiful and the story sounds great! I'm a Scrooge when it comes to decorating for the holidays but otherwise, I'm right on board with everything else! So I don't see anything weird about your "niche"!

Keira Kroft said...

It's funny; we always know deep down that we are writers. But until we are in the throws of it, we don't realize where our true vision lies. I was going to be a horror writer, I have 38 books started and they are all romance except one and that’s non fiction.

I am impressed by your blurb writing skills, I wish I had that.

Happy Holidays and welcome to the Decadent family :)

Hugs, Keira

Kathleen said...

Congratulations on your new release. I loved reading your blog. I think you did a great job. There is something magical about the winter season and Christmas.

Anne Holly said...

Thanks, folks!

I was so pleased that Valerie could squeeze me in just in time for my release.

I am grateful to be a part of the Decadent family, and I am looking forward to hearing what readers think of my story!

And have a great holiday season, one and all. <3

Anonymous said...

Anne, I am so happy you decided to plant your holiday story in our cyber-yard! I read typically 3 or 4 holiday stories between Nov. and Dec. and, thankfully, this is one of them this year. :-)

Deena said...

Anne, it's wonderful to have you as part of the DP clan! Please give a shout out to my family in Toronto, would you? :) I love the story you present in your blurb above. It sounds absolutely charming. Happy holidays!

Anne Holly said...

I probably shouldn't say so myself, but I'm pretty charmed with it, actually. One of my favourites so far that I have written. I love misanthropes.

My current WIP is a reversal - the chick is the misanthrope. I think it is an autobiography. ;)

I hope everyone lets me know how they like it, if/when they read it.

Happy holidays to all!

Anne Holly said...

The title of this book changed way back, to Unwrapping Scrooge.

New buy link: