My guest today is prolific author Karen King, whose latest novel, Single all the Way, was published on 28th October by Bookouture. Karen tells us what it’s like, writing a Christmas romance when outside it’s far from Christmassy – something I can well relate to.
Writing a Christmas romance
It feels strange writing a Christmas romance in the height of summer when the sun is shining, there’s a glass of ice-cold sangria on your desk and the fan whirling to cool the air. And even stranger to set it in Cornwall when you live in the campo in Spain, in a rustic finca with a pool and a multitude of fruit trees in your garden.
Luckily, Cornwall is a familiar place to me, I have spent many years holidaying and living there so I only have to close my eyes and I’m back there, walking over the wild dunes and along the soft, sandy beach, feeling the sun on my back, paddling in the sea that never quite loses its chill even on the sunniest days, walking along the cobbled streets of St Ives or taking a ferry over to the magical St Michael’s Mount.
Cornwall is a beautiful setting for any novel, particularly a romance novel because it has an air of mystery and romance. Most people think of it as a summer holiday resort, but I’ve chosen it twice as the setting for my Christmas books, Snowy Nights at the Lonely Hearts Hotel and my latest one, Single All The Way.
When I think of Cornwall, I think of escaping from the stress and routine of everyday life, of going away to relax, recharge and return refreshed. This isn’t confined to summertime. Many people take winter breaks and Christmas seems to me to be a particularly romantic time to escape to the other end of the country, hole yourself away in a remote cottage with a log fire burning and escape the world. Which is what Meg and her mother Sally do, when both their marriages break down in Single All The Way.
Christmas is a favourite time of mine; peace, goodwill, good food, family, friends, carols, love and laughter, are the things that spring to my mind when I think of Christmas. The plots of my two Christmas romances are different, but these themes run through them.
Snowy Nights at the Lonely Hearts Hotel is all about family, Saffy gives up her singleton partying Christmas plans to go down to Cornwall and organise the party her sister holds every year for the single families in the village but is currently stuck abroad with two sick children. The story is about the importance – and variety – of families, of sticking together, looking out for each other, of celebrating Christmas. Whereas Single All The Way is about families falling apart, of running away to forget about family and Christmas – yet Meg and Sally find themselves caught up in Christmas celebrations after all, joining in the festivities, making friends. There is joy among the heartbreak. No one can completely escape Christmas and as it weaves its magic around them they both start to realise what’s important to them. And that is the real meaning of Christmas to me.
Snow is falling, bells are ringing… and my heart is broken. I pick up the phone to tell my mother about Oliver and me. But before I can, she says, ‘I don’t exactly know how to tell you this… But I’m leaving your dad.’
Single together for the first time, 34-year-old Meg and her warm-hearted, long-suffering mother Sally are cancelling Christmas, and running away to a tiny cottage on the Cornish coast. For Meg, it is the perfect place to heal, away from all the mistletoe, while for her mother it has a special, and secret, place in her heart – from a love story that seems a lifetime ago…
Meg and Sally find they’re getting to know themselves, and each other, better than ever before. But as they are unable to resist getting involved in the village Christmas celebrations, they encounter two handsome local strangers.
Sometimes, it’s being away from home that helps you realise where your heart is. What neither woman knows is that, by the time the new year rolls around, one woman will have fallen in love with her husband all over again, and one marriage will be over for good…
An escapist, romantic and heart-warming novel for fans of One Day in December and No One Cancels Christmas.
Karen King is a multi-published bestselling author of romance novels, YA and children’s books. She has had eight romantic novels, two YA books and 120 children’s books published. She has also written several short stories for women’s magazines.
Currently published by Bookouture, Karen’s latest title, Single All The Way, was published on 28 October.
Thank you, Karen!
I love Cornwall, so this really appeals.That was a most entertaining post about writing a Christmas romance, and I love the sound of Single All the Way. Great title, too! Best of luck with it.