I’ve been asked many times which authors have inspired me. Well, of course, there are several but one which really comes to mind is L.M. Montgomery. She is famed for writing the Anne of Green Gables series. But did you know she wrote A LOT more books and a plethora of short stories? In the late 1980’s and into the nineties, her short stories were republished into anthologies with similar themes. Today, on the top row of the book shelf in my office, I have all my Montgomerys – there are 33 book titles there. She had a certain way of turning a phrase. And, of course, I related to her stories – especially Anne since I’m a redhead too. I still pick up and read one of her books now and again. Last summer, I reread Anne of the Island & Anne’s House of Dreams. They sure read a lot faster than they used to. Many of her heroines loved to write especially her Anne character and Emily from New Moon. But I think it was the fanciful way she wrote that inspired me. I wanted to write like that, create like that, think like that. I recently found a couple more of the STARTED stories that I wrote as a kid, and they are filled with the presence of L.M. Montgomery. I still like to think there is a little bit of her in my writing along with all the other authors who have influenced me throughout my life.
It was due to reading my favorite authors that I got into writing. I wondered…could I write something like this for publication. I took up my pen (or should I say computer keyboard) and began to plot out a new story. I wrote at night when everyone was in bed and finished the first draft in a record six days. Of course, I spent time editing and polishing that manuscript and reading up on how to craft a romantic story. My original publisher released that book in 2006 under the title The Spirit of Christmas. Two years later the company folded and my story became an orphan. I reworked and rewrote the story and found it a new home with Champagne Books. All I Want for Christmas is that reimagined novel.
I learned so much from those first favorite authors: Montgomery, Alcott, Austen. While reading a book, you should be entertained to be sure, but it’s when you delve a bit deeper with your characters to make your readers care even more about those characters that you really begin to touch lives as an author. This is what I learned from my inspiring authors.
Kathryn Graham hates Christmas. She hates the snow, the decorations, the whole nine yards. Nick Pringle on the other hand can’t get enough of the season. He may be her best friend and fellow writer at Redburn Weekly Magazine, but sometimes his exuberance gets on her very last nerve. Now they’ve been assigned to cover the orphan toy drive story. It’s just a puff piece, not the serious journalism Kathryn hopes for, but maybe there are no old stories, just new angles.
Nick Pringle has been in love with Kathryn practically since the day they met. When he realizes that she’s lost her Christmas spirit, he figures he’s just the guy to help her find it again. But will any of his plans make a difference in her? Will she ever see him as anything more than her smart-aleck partner? Then again maybe he’ll get what he wants for Christmas after all.
Outside the air remained chilly, forcing the use of a coat, but it was still fine December weather. Kathryn wrapped a scarf around her neck as she walked down the street with Nick. The last time they’d been together, she’d held his hand and it had felt so comforting. For some reason today, she felt at a loss with him walking several inches away from her. There was something building between them and if she didn’t do something about it—it would only get worse.
Emboldening herself, she grabbed Nick’s arm and wrapped her hands around it. His eyes dropped to hers and filled with puzzlement. She could imagine the thoughts going through his head—like ‘what was on her mind now?’ Or ‘what am I in for this time?’
She parted her lips and smiled at him. “Don’t you just love Christmas, Nick?” She waited to see how he’d react to her using his words from last week. The same words she’d rebuffed at that time and now understood so much better.
“Christmas? Isn’t that just about commercialization?” He smiled as he threw her own words back at her with a grin.
“And where did you ever hear such a horrible thought, Nick Pringle?” She filled her voice with feigned reproach.
They shared a smile as they continued down Main Street. A little thrill moved in Kathryn’s chest. This felt right; it felt good. The friendship she had with Nick could never be replaced. She glanced at the store windows decorated for the season. It reminded her of shopping with her mother and sister as they looked for Christmas gifts for her father. It was one of only a few fond memories she shared with her family. Soon after that Christmas, her parents divorced and her life fell apart.
Kathryn studied Nick’s face again, his raised cheeks and straight nose, rounded just perfectly at the end. He tilted his head at her and formed his lips into a closed smile. Never had she encountered such understanding and empathy in anyone until she met Nick Pringle. He oozed kindness and warmth and yet he had a teasing kind of personality when he wanted to use it. It’s why they got along together. He was easy-going and she was wound tighter than a toy top. But he could dish out the sarcasm when necessary. It kept the friendship interesting and fresh. More than that, he made her feel safe—as if she could tell him anything.
“Nick, did I ever tell you my father left my mother the day after Christmas when I was twelve?”
Concern etched Nick’s face and his eyes grew soft. “No, you never did.”
Kathryn curved her mouth to one side and sighed. Then she faced forward, letting go of Nick’s arm and shoving her ungloved hands into her coat pockets. “I can still remember what he said when he left. Lorraine and I were in the living room still figuring out all the gifts Daddy had thrust upon us the day before, when he came down the stairs with his suitcase. He said, ‘Marion, I promised to stay until Christmas, but Christmas is over. I’m leaving now.’”
“That’s unbelievable.” His arm slid around her shoulders and she didn’t shrug him off as she usually would. Instead she snuggled close to him and rested her face against the softness of his overcoat.
“My mother tried to get him to stay, but he left anyway. He didn’t even say goodbye to me or my sister. I started thinking about that the other day, and I realized that it is because of how my father left us that I hate Christmas.”
“You never hated Christmas.”
She raised her eyes up to his. “I did.” A sob caught in her throat. “I hated Christmas.
Available at Champagne Books (just reduced to 2.99), All Romance e-books and Amazon.
Cindy K. Green is a multi-published author with degrees in History and Education. Previously a middle school English & History teacher, she now homeschools her own children and writes in several genres: Inspirational, Contemporary, YA, Suspense and Historical romance. Find out more about Cindy and her books at http://www.cindykgreen.com/. You can also visit her on her Blog. In addition, she has a Homeschooling Blog and a Teen Fiction Blog. She can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. She’s on Myspace Facebook Twitter and Twitter for her YA friends. And she has a Newsletter.