Friday, November 30, 2012

Candlelit Christmas by Elizabeth Beacon

“So what sort of plot are you looking for?’ I asked my editor in October 2011 when the call came to write a Christmas Regency for Mills and Boon.

“Oh, we’ll leave that to you.”

Which should be music to a writer’s ears, but with all the great Regency Christmas books and stories that had gone before, it seemed to me that some very choppy waters lay ahead of me as I sat there wondering what on earth to do.

First step had to be investigate a Regency Christmas. Right; strip out tinsel, Christmas trees, jolly, fat Santa. Subtract Christmas cards, crackers and a huge Christmas dinner. Carols? So Victorian darling! Twelfth Night more important to Regency revellers than Christmas Day? Oh, surely not?

Left with Christmas-lite, I only needed to write, pass over for editing, revise and proof read a book by the end of March. It felt a bit like trying to reassemble the turkey from the wishbone up. Most historic houses were shut for winter by then and none seemed quite right anyway, so I went for a walk with the dog and saw the local manor house, built on the side of a hill and miles from the nearest village. Tweaked and set back in time, Hearstease Hall now awaited as much Christmas cheer as I could get away with.

Being snowed in the Christmas before last helped, but I needed a hero – needed one then as well, but no disgruntled, passionate and sexy hero stumped in when I was snowbound. A romance couldn’t develop fully in the time it takes a southern whiteout to melt, so my hero and heroine had a past and suddenly the story sprang into life. A few hours off from winter to salt the story with the heroine’s midsummer memories and by Christmas the hero and heroine were finally cooking with gas. The result was published this November as Governess Under the Mistletoe and Linda Sole, writing as Anne Herries, is the author of the other half of Candlelit Christmas Kisses.

Although Linda and I had no contact whilst writing our respective books, somehow we both produced heroines who lost everything then had to work for a living. Our heroines also rejoice in very dark hair – which could come as a shock to our readers, as the cover shows a blonde beauty, clearly very happy to be swept off her feet by those Christmas kisses.

Would I do it again? I’m not sure it could work twice and my editor may be regretting that conversation even as I write. It made me think very hard about Christmas and what it means, even while stamping about doing a Scrooge, complaining about the whole rigmarole and panicking about that rigid deadline.

If anyone else gets the call, I wish you the best of luck and understanding friends and lovers. I’m glad I did it, and equally glad I haven’t got to do it again this year!

Available from:

 Mills & Boon


1 comment:

Beth Elliott said...

You can feel really proud of yourself to think up a story from absolutely nothing. Thank heavens for atmospheric manor houses to light the inventive spark. Your story sounds most tantalising; and this year, you have one less deadline for that Christmas rush. Congratulations.