A year and a half ago a rather lovely Editor named Manpreet changed my life. In a totally platonic way. She and Little, Brown Book Group liked the idea of my Christmas story, The Twelve Dates of Christmas, and asked if they could publish it in six parts, starting in November 2013. I said yes, obvs, and seeing as it was already July I got cracking, sharpish.
Fast-forward to now. My second book with Little, Brown (You Had Me at Merlot) is behind me, The Twelve Dates of Christmas has just been released as a full ebook, and next year it’s down to be a paperback. I’m so fond of this book now – my first ever novel – and it’s so fun for me to revisit Claudia and Nick, not to mention Penny, Seth, and the notorious Eddie. I hope you like it too J. It’s especially nice to come back to this book now the weather is turning, the evenings and mornings are darker, and winter is coming, because when it all started, I was in a very different season indeed…
My tips on writing a book in the wrong season:
I wrote The Twelve Dates of Christmas during the three hottest months the British summertime had seen in years. While everyone else was outraged if a Christmas card appeared in Clintons in August, I was wringing the sweat out of my shorts and turning up the volume on Santa Claus is Coming to Town. So here are my top two tips on getting into the spirit of writing a novel in the wrong season…
- Let the music take you there. Whatever I’m writing I tend to make ‘mood playlists’ to help get me into the frame of mind of my leading ladies during particular scenes, but for Twelve Dates I listened to one big Christmas playlist practically 24/7. I think little else can awaken the first sparkles of Christmas spirit than the opening bars to your favourite holiday tune, so without Mariah, Wham!, Band Aid and Bing Crosby I would never have been able to happily conjour up images of cold air, mulled wine and snowflakes.
You can see Claudia’s Christmas Playlist here, with songs inspired by (and to get you in the mood for) each date she goes on in The Twelve Dates of Christmas.
- Pinteresting. Pinterest mood boards are so easy to create, and you can access thousands more inspiration-giving images than you could if you were creating a real life one, cutting images from magazines. I spent an afternoon creating a board full of the best images I could find of not only the activities and dates that occur in the story, but also anything that brought to life the atmosphere of Christmas in London – snow covered red telephone boxes, fairy lights by the Thames, kissing next to Christmas trees.
Here’s my Twelve Dates mood board, which I hope helps you bring the book to life.
Thanks for reading, and big thanks to Emma Louise for having me!