The Truth behind Wrecking Christmas

I’m a certified Christmas-a-holic. I love everything about the holiday. The twinkly lights. The fattening food. The mystery of the presents under the tree. And of course, the cookies. I’ve been more than lucky. My Christmases as a child were idyllic and even today, as a happily married wife and mother, I tend to meet the holiday with a profusion of holiday decorations and a flurry of excited shopping.

But that’s not why I wrote Wrecking Christmas. Matter of fact, I hadn’t planned to write a Christmas book at all.

It started for me when I was scrolling through my RSS reader. An article caught my eye. “The Painful Fantasy of Holiday Romances,” written by Amanda at one of the industry’s most-influential blogs, Smart Bitches, Trashy Books. I make an effort to follow these ladies, because they don’t just review romances, they have their hands on the pulse of what’s really going on in the genre. Their insights make me think more deeply about the work I do as a writer. And this one really stopped me in my tracks.

The blog basically pointed out, rightly so in my opinion, that too many holiday romances are devoid of any real conflict. In this alternate kind of reality, all the problems of the world can be solved by winning the local cookie bake and embracing your holiday spirit. While I don’t want to knock anyone’s form of escapism—every kind of romance is valid after all—Amanda did bring up a very valid point. Real people have real problems. In our sugar-frosted consumer culture, we’ve built up Christmas to be the one time of year when we’re supposed to magically get along with everyone, and all our problems get put off for a few weeks as we paste on those holiday smiles. But as Amanda so aptly pointed out, for people who have loved ones with mental illness or significant problems in their families, Christmas isn’t something to celebrate. It’s a tinderbox. “Some of us,” she said, “will never have a good Christmas.” And watching these sweet, light Christmas movies and reading darling Christmas romances just drives the knife in even deeper.

Honestly, that post was so real and raw, it kinda took the breath out of me. And as the days went by afterwards, I found I couldn’t quite stop thinking about it.

I found myself thinking, in particular, about how many people I knew whose families had been ravaged in one way or another. And I thought “I want to write a Christmas romance for them.” Something that would end on a hopeful note.

So I thought, what if you took a hero and heroine with terrible losses and tragedies in their past, and threw them together in an enchanted, glittery, Christmas card of a town that quite literally populates around their deepest desires and every crazy wish? A place that was a cross between Christmas Fantasy Island and Brigadoon?

All that magic could never make your problems go away…your heartache, your disappointments, your resentments. It would only throw them into sharper relief, wouldn’t it?

At the heart of this story are two people who have known loss—and feel, on some level, directly responsible for that loss.

Kathryn is a psychologist who didn’t see her bipolar mother’s suicide coming. And Hunter is a collision repair shop owner who was driving the night he spun on the ice, and caused the accident that took his beloved wife from him.

They’re two heartbroken people who are deserving of love, and sexy times, and all the magic Christmas can provide them. Wrecking in the quirky mountain hamlet of Christmas Pass surrounds them with that magic. Yet they still have to work through their losses to come out the other side, and truly reach for each other. I like to think that for all its super-charged fantasy, this book is really real, in all the ways that count. If you choose to read it, I hope you will find Wrecking Christmas to be big, emotional, sexy and heartfelt. There’s lots of fun and warmth and Christmas magic to spare—enough to turn two people’s lives around.

I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.