Friday, 9 November 2012

Christmas - An Inspirational Season For Writers

I knew Christmas was just around the corner when the headmaster of the school my grandson attends called me into his office last week. What could I say but yes? I suppose I've grown into the role over the years! What a joy to be able to ask your grandchild what he wants for Christmas. If the answer is too expensive I always have the option of explaining the elves are in dispute with the management so he might have to settle for another football! Last year was easy - he was only five - but this year I know I'm going to come under more intense scrutiny. Let's just hope he doesn't start peeping under my beard. I'll have to change my deodorant though as he commented that "Father Christmas smelt just like you Bampa!"

Christmas is also an opportunity for writers to relaunch any books with a Christmas related theme. Goodreads has listed its top 20 favourite fictional Christmas Books. Click on the image below to view it for yourself but before you do, try and guess which book you think would be top of the list. My guess was that perennial favourite, and my personal number one, Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol. I was astonished to find I was wrong. See if you fare any better.

I was delighted to see that listed among them was Dylan Thomas' A Child's Christmas In Wales not just because I'm biased but because it is a magical book. Christmas seems to have inspired many fantastic stories. So much so that the classic fairytale The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Anderson did not even make the top 20. I was also astounded that one of my favourite stories that was turned into a smash hit BBC serial never even got a mention. John Masefiled's The Box of Delights is truly a delight. If you have never read it then give yourself a treat this Christmas. Also do all you can to get a copy of the BBC DVD starring the late great Patrick Troughton. Christmas still provides inspiration for stories from contemporary authors like the ones featured in this blog that embrace many genres.
Probably the most famous Christmas character after the Infant Jesus and Santa Claus is Ebenezer Scrooge the hardened old miser who found redemption and joy in the season of Hope and Forgiveness.I have always been fascinated by this particular character and it was one of the motivational factors behind my own particular Christmas story contribution A Christmas Carol Revisited. Set in contemporary Manhattan it attempts to explore issues that Dickens may well have written about were he alive today. Here is Ebenezer Clinton Scrooge III's take on Christmas as he watches the bustling sidewalk crowds from his penthouse eyrie.

"Scrooge gazed out of the window. Somewhere below, the river flowed blacker than the Styx through the city’s dark heart into the eternal depths of the poisoned oceans. But Scrooge’s eyes were fixed upon another river. The unceasing flow of humanity condemned as surely to follow the course of existence to its inevitable conclusion as the river was compelled to flow into the embrace of the blind and restless sea.
Christmas held out hope that the journey was not in vain. That was one of the reasons he despised it. Christmas was for the weak, for sentimental fools who had never grasped that salvation in this world was something to be wrung forcefully from life’s unwilling grip. Once the presents had been opened and the parties were over what was left apart from hangovers and a bigger overdraft? He smiled. He was above that now, had been for years. Just as detached and aloof as the gigantic reflection of himself superimposed on the vista upon which he cast such a scornful eye."

Ghost stories are aso a great Christmas Tradition so next week we'll take a look at some Indie authors who write within this genre.

The first of our authors with a Christmas theme is Carol DeVaney.
Her novel is entitled 'A Smoky Mountain Christmas'.
Tina Cole has one goal: to take back control of her life. Falling in love isn't part of the bargain. On the rebound from a fizzled relationship, she lands on writer Hank Gordon's doorstep and finds that everything she thought she wanted out of life means nothing without love.
Recently divorced and disillusioned by love, Hank Gordon has sworn off women. He isn't in the mood to entertain a woman with an attitude who frustrates him more than any woman he’s ever met. Hank’s novel deadline is twenty-four hours away and he's cut off from the world with no phone or email service, and a beautiful, aggravating crazy woman to distract him. If Hank thinks his life couldn't get any worse, he's wrong. Not only is he baby-sitting a sassy Southern princess who has no idea what a kitchen is for, but two escaped convicts turn up at the cabin, while Hank’s horse is about to foal.
A Smoky Mountain Christmas is available on Amazon Kindle. Click the image to access the book.

The next author is the exotically named 'PY Lab'.

Her Christmas offering is 'A Chinese Christmas Carol'.
After giving birth to her daughter, Joie’s world begins to fall apart as she becomes a whole different person. She is not the happy person that she once was. One evening, she meets a woman, and from then onwards, she finds herself re-living specific moments of her painful childhood past.

Our third author is Christopher Lord and his book is entitled The Christmas Carol Murders.

It’s the holiday season in Dickens Junction, Oregon. Local bookstore owner Simon Alastair is getting ready for the community’s annual celebration of Charles Dickens’s well-known story. But when a mysterious stranger shows up in the Junction and is murdered hours later, Simon begins to suspect that his little community has been targeted for destruction by a shadowy organization. And why is everyone suddenly reading Ayn Rand?
Christopher's novel has received rave reviews on Amazon.
[The Christmas Carol Murders] is full of love for books...readers will eat it up. Full of homespun characters and curious goings-on, Lord's mystery is a love letter to both Dickens and to the small town amateur detectives who've kept the peace in hamlets from River Heights to Cabot Cove.

- Chelsea Cain, New York Times best-selling thriller writer

A delicious romp through the world of Dickens wonderfully imagined in the 21st century by Christopher Lord. The Christmas Carol Murders has it all: mystery, eccentric characters galore and a touch of frivolity. You don't have to be a Dickens fan to fall in love...

- Margaret Coel, New York Times bestselling author of Buffalo Bill's Dead

"...a different, yet delightful, type of cozy mystery...coupling old fashioned values with au courant perspectives and literary interests...The Christmas Carol Murders is one treat you won't need to beg for! Just go out and get it or gift wrap it up for a friend!

- Audrey Lawrence, Fresh Fiction (

Lord [brings] this story to life in an old fashioned kind of way with a modern day twist...The murders were tastefully done...[Lord] had me guessing to the very end...Mr. Lord writes with passion, pulling you into the story, not letting you go until the end, leaving you wanting more. I say he has a hit on his hands.

- Robin, Romancing the Book

NOW: One to look out for:

Kelly S Gamble
Her darkly humorous Christmas novel They Call Me Crazy is due for release this December.
Roland Adams was just a good ol' boy from Deacon, Kansas. When his wife, Cass, is found trying to dump his body in the Spring River, the town can only come to one conclusion: She's crazy. Certifiable. Always has been.

While Cass' big city lawyer fights for her freedom, Cass' life unfolds, as do her odd relationships with her worm-farming brother-in-law, her psychic grandmother, her gold-digging sister, and her estranged best friend ... her only friend, a promiscuous fifth grade teacher. What binds them together has also torn them apart, and their secrets may be the key to Cass' deliverance.

But Roland is the only one who has all of the answers. And he's not talking.

They Call Me Crazy is due to hit the shelves this December.
Good Luck Kelly

NEXT WEEK: Ghost Stories For Christmas



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