I’m joining the blog blitz today for What Happens At Christmas by Evonne Wareham, released for kindle by Choc Lit on 5th December. I’ve done my best to squeeze in as many Christmas books as I could this year, and I’m really sorry I couldn’t find space for the one – let’s hope it will be out in paperback the time next year, and I can catch up with it then!
Best-selling author Andrew Vitruvius knows that any publicity is good publicity. His agent tells him that often, so it must be true. In the run-up to Christmas, she excels herself – talking him into the craziest scheme yet: getting himself kidnapped, live on TV.
But when the plan goes ahead and Drew is unceremoniously thrown in the back of a van before being dragged to a hut in middle of the Brecon Beacons, it all starts to feel a little bit too real.
Meanwhile, not far away, Lori France and her four-year-old niece Misty are settling in to spend the holidays away after unexpected events leave them without a place to stay. Little do they know they’re about to make a shocking discovery and experience a Christmas they’re not likely to forget.
Romantic suspense for Christmas – doesn’t that look rather good? And I’m delighted to welcome author Evonne Wareham to Being Anne to tell us more about how she came to write it…
I wrote What Happens at Christmas almost by accident. Writing a Christmas romantic suspense novella wasn’t on my immediate ‘to do’ list. I’d toyed with the idea, and had conversations with friends over whether it was possible to do it. There are plenty of novels involving crime that are set at the festive season, but romantic suspense makes the crime so much a part of the love story – and then you need a touch of that Christmas magic…
It was an interesting challenge, something for the forward plan. Then, at this time last year, I had lunch with some writing friends, and the conversation naturally revolved around writing, and somehow the topic of kidnapping came up – yes I know, but I did say these people were writers. Lunch ended and we all went our separate ways, but the talk about kidnapping stayed with me. By the time I got to my train home an idea for a plot had begun to stir.
Even though I wanted to return to a genre that I love writing, after an excursion into romantic comedy in the summer, with Summer in San Remo, I still wasn’t sure about actually doing anything with it, but the suspense thread had really begun to unravel in my head. Then a strong image of a hero and heroine began to form, and at that point I was hooked. The book was written over the holidays – some of it on Christmas day itself, which helped a lot with the Christmassy feeling! I really enjoyed doing it, so it became a little Christmas present to myself.
When the book opens neither Lori nor Drew is planning on a conventional Christmas, but they’re in no way anticipating the Christmas they actually get. Through an unexpected series of events, Lori finds herself making a Christmas for her four year old niece, and Drew finds himself involved in a TV kidnapping stunt for charity that has gone horribly wrong…
Add in a setting in the Brecon Beacons, a strong minded cat, a guest appearance from Devlin, who was the hero of my debut novel, Never Coming Home, a converted barn and a great deal of snow – and that’s the book. It doesn’t end at Christmas – the story unfolds over a year, until the following Christmas, but the core of the story – the part when Drew and Lori begin to fall in love – is in those first few snow-bound days in Brecon. I’ve tried to use the senses to create atmosphere, Christmas lights, flickering scented candles, log fires, starry nights, carols playing on the radio – and in the centre of it Lori and Drew – gradually becoming romantically aware of each other, over a few hours of peace in the midst of tension.
Because of course, there is tension – this is romantic suspense, after all. The plot is based more on mystery and threat, rather than dead bodies piling up – no Christmas serial killers here – but I hope it will still get the reader’s pulse beating a little faster. Both Lori and Drew have their own back stories too – Drew in particular has very bad memories of Christmas past that he needs to deal with before he can move on.
So that’s it – my attempt at a Christmas romantic suspense. Have I succeeded? I hope so, but it’s all down to the reader to decide. If you’re looking for something a bit different in a festive story What Happens at Christmas might be the book for your Christmas stocking.
Works for me, Yvonne! You’ll find the buying links for all e-book platforms on the Choc Lit web page, but here they are again:
About the author
Evonne Wareham was born in Barry on the South Wales coast, but spent most of her working life in London. Now home again in Wales she is studying for a PhD in History and writing romance. She was a finalist in two reality writing contests in the United States and had a great time, even if she didn’t win. When not studying or writing, she loves to travel, go to the theatre, walk on the beach and sleep. She has won and been nominated for awards for her romantic suspense novels on both sides of the Atlantic, and is now also writing romantic comedy with a light dusting of crime – which is a change of pace from writing the dark scary stuff. She is a member of both the Crime Writers’ Association and the Romantic Novelists’ Association, which means she gets to go to twice as many literary parties.