Getting in the Spirit of the Season

Last Christmastime, I was the gym, jogging away on the elliptical (which is my happy place) and idly flipping through the audio for the various TV channels lined up in front of me when I saw the gorgeous Shemar Moore appear on screen to pimp his new (at the time) movie.  He talked about working with kids and wanting kids of his own – and every woman in the audience of the daytime talk show he was on melted in tandem.  You could see them volunteering to help him on his quest to start a family, but I snickered to myself about the idea of the Sexiest Man on the Planet changing diapers… and an idea burst into my brain fully formed. 

What if the ultimate player, a Hollywood sex object who has never been responsible for anything in his life suddenly discovered that he had an eleven-year-old daughter?  And what if it was Christmas? 

I couldn’t get back to my computer fast enough – and the book that flowed off my fingers became All He Wants for Christmas.  The funny thing was, I’d already written a Christmas novella that I planned to release this year (Miracle on Mulholland has been pushed to 2018), but this idea just grabbed hold and wouldn’t let go. 

Have you ever had an idea hit you broadside like that and keep hammering you until you wrote it? 

I whipped out the first draft – but since it was already mid-December when I started it, I didn’t finish until it was too late to put out last year, so I set the book aside and picked it up again in time for Christmas this year. 

It was, incidentally, the first Christmas book I’ve ever actually written during the holiday season.  Most of the time it seems like as authors we’re working on books in the off-season.  Summer heat waves being written about when there’s snow outside.  Snow storms filling up the pages in July.  (I have a theory that writers are the primary audience for all those Hallmark Christmas movies that come out in July – we’re just trying to get in the mood to write!)

I’m kind of babbling, but I promise I had a point when I started and it was this… often writers have to be able to get in the spirit of the season any time.  I definitely think it’s easier to describe a scene when it matches my surroundings, but what about you?  Are you the kind of author who needs external stimulation to get you in the mood to write a certain season?  Or are you able to just jump back in regardless of what’s going on in your outside life?  If you’re writing a sweltering summer story in mid-winter, do you need to go hang out in the sauna to get inspired? Do you use photos?  Movies?  Journals?  What gets you back in that setting when it’s far from where you are?

Any tips for getting in the spirit of the season you’re writing?  Or does your muse take control and you can only go where she leads, seasons be damned?  How do you capture the spirit of a season?

Be careful what you wish for…

Heartthrob Ty Walker always gets what he wants. So when he announces on a press tour that he’s ready to give up his playboy ways and start a family, he’s confident the universe will provide him with the fairy tale future he’s envisioned – and completely unprepared to come home a week before Christmas to find an eleven-year-old girl sitting on his doorstep with a note claiming she’s his daughter.

Ty has never been on close terms with responsibility, but even his oh-so-capable assistant can’t wave her magic wand and fix this one for him – not when she’s about to fly home for the holidays for a family wedding.

Taking her movie star boss and his potential daughter home for Christmas isn’t on any of Andi Cooper’s carefully crafted agendas. She knows Ty is nothing more than an overgrown child who uses his heart-melting smile to get away with murder and she’s immune to that smile…until she sees it on the face of a vulnerable little girl.

Clement, Minnesota, here they come.

But when they arrive in her small town, Andi begins to see a different side of her boss. Could there be more to the playboy than she thought? Could he actually become a good father? And could a movie star really be interested in his glamour-less assistant?

Could they actually become the family he was wishing for all along?

Now available from…

22 responses to “Getting in the Spirit of the Season”

  1. Vivi, the book sounds fabulous!! I’m going to go pick it up : )

    I use pictures that I paste into collages to help me get into the season I am writing. I rarely, if ever, write in the season I am living. The one Christmastime book I wrote required me to play holiday music all the time while I wrote in the summer. LOL! It actually helped me feel cooler when the temps were in the high 90s.

    Yes, it’s the nature of the beast when being a writer. I don’t have the money or time to write about my surroundings and settings very often. I wish I could go to Scotland all the time to write, but it’s just not possible.

    But your post has me humming carols. Maybe I should start a holiday book this season…Oh yeah…I have another book due January, and it’s set in the early spring. Sigh…

    : ) Thanks for the wonderful post!

  2. I have to admit, I don’t like cold weather. At all. So it comes as no surprise the winter months hardly ever appear in my stories. But to be fair, most of my stories are set in the Caribbean where there is never a chill in the air.

    I think external stimuli is very helpful, but not necessary for me. I use sound and visuals to capture the mood of the story or character rather than the season. My favorites are listening to epic, fantasy, or action movie soundtracks—instrumentals, no lyrics.

    That’s not to say I wouldn’t slap on some Christmas tunes if I were writing a holiday tale. I’ve not written one, but I’ve toyed with the idea of a pirate’s Christmas.

    Great post, Vivi!

  3. Oh…and thanks for the yummy pic of Shemar. Nice visual to see this morning. 🙂


    All of my books are set in the summer and fall, and I almost always write first drafts in the summer and fall [very slow writer here, as in barely one book per year]. This issue has never come up for me, since I’m writing in the season that the book is set. I think that might be a challenge, to write a Christmas book but wait until next spring to start it 🙂

  5. Like Jenn said, Thank you for the pic!

    And congrats on the new release, Vivi! It sounds like a fun read, and I will be reading it this holiday season.

    Good topic.

    I never wrote to the season I’m in. If I need inspiration for physical sensations, I close me eyes and bring back the heat of the summer sun or feel the nip of a winter blaze on my cheeks. I believe journaling has helped me recall and then infused little details to my stories.

    Again, happy book birthday day!

  6. Cynthia Huscroft says:

    Congratulations on your new release! Sounds like an enjoyable read for the holidays:)

    &…thank you for the “eye candy”!

  7. Tracy Brody says:

    Love when an idea springs up that blooms into a book. And Shemar is definitely inspirational. Well, actually I preferred his Derek Morgan persona who was so good with kids on Criminal Minds.

  8. Tamara Hogan says:

    Mmm. Shemar. 🙂

    One thing I really enjoy about living in Minnesota is that there are four very distinct seasons, each with their own pros and cons. Though I loathe being cold, I really enjoy writing books set in the winter, a season with its own brutal beauty.

    I can’t wait to see a Minnesota winter through your eyes!

    • I haven’t been in a Minnesota winter in a few years, but hopefully my memory holds up. One of my beta readers is a MN girl who gave me the thumbs up, so hopefully it meets with your approval as well. 🙂

  9. Gwyn says:

    I ADORE Christmas stories. When they flow, they are a gift not only to the writer but, usually, to the reader as well. Can’t wait to open this one.

  10. Elisa Beatty says:

    Oh, that book sounds fantastic!!!!! I just bought my copy.

  11. Hope Ramsay says:

    Congratulations on your new release. Wishing you many sales this holiday season.

    I have written so many Christmas books and not a one of them was written during the holiday season. I am perpetually listening to Christmas Carols. They seem to get me in the mood more than anything else.

    In fact mood music is my main way of getting in touch with each book’s emotional arc. I’m a much more aural person than visual.


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