I do wish I could read every Christmas book that catches my eye – but unless I do it all year round, there’s absolutely no chance. I’ve been reading great things about Heart Note, the romantic comedy Christmas novella from Cassandra O’Leary, published on 6th November, but it’s sadly one of many I just haven’t managed to fit in.
Love is like a fine perfume. The top note draws you in, an instant attraction, but the Heart Note is the true essence. Like true love – a great perfume should be a woman’s perfect match.
At least, that’s what perfume counter manager, Lily Lucas, tells her customers in one of Australia’s largest department stores. It’s almost Christmas, the store is bedecked with baubles and Lily has about eleventy billion gifts to wrap and sell.
She and her team of spritzer chicks are glamorous, professional and hoping they don’t have to wear the hideous red onesies and reindeer antlers the store manager has in mind. The high point of Lily’s work life is Christos Cyriakos, ex-cop, security guard, possible Greek god. He’s a mystery box she’d love to unwrap. But can she trust him?
All Lily wants for Christmas is to kiss Christos (and more), catch a band of thieves running amok in the store, and live happily ever after. Is that too much to wish for?
I am delighted though to welcome Cassandra to Being Anne with a lovely guest post on hitting the right note – music as writing inspiration…
When I started writing Heart Note in August this year, I’d already been turning the idea over in my head for a while. It started as the vaguest idea that I should write something about my experiences years ago, when I worked on a perfume counter in a department store years ago.
I started brainstorming with some writing friends and jotting down notes. One of the things that came back to me vividly, was not only the scents and décor of the stores I worked in, but also the music. I’d always be humming along to tunes as I worked, or sometimes groaning as certain songs repeated again and again.
Music as a shopping soundtrack
Music is important in retail, even if you’re not consciously aware of it as a shopper. When I worked in department stores, we’d have certain soundtracks that were chosen for different times of day and for different departments. If you wandered from women’s fashion on the ground floor (with clothes for mature customers) up to the youth fashion area on the next level, there would be quite different songs playing. From the 80s soundtrack of Bananarama and George Michael, to whatever new pop band was top of the charts at the time.
When writing Heart Note, set in the perfume section of the cosmetics floor, I made mention of the annoying perfume ads often played on TV monitors. Customers walking past might only see and hear them a couple of times, but staff had them burned into their brains all day long.
Jingle my bells! Christmas music for the win
At Christmas, the soundtrack became more festive, with Bing Crosby and more traditional Christmas carols playing in some departments and the newer, pop versions in others.
I’ve referenced some great Christmas tunes in Heart Note, including Mariah Carey’s All I Want For Christmas Is You and the new release from Gwen Stefani, You Make It Feel Like Christmas. I’m loving this last song and played it often while writing. My little boy’s pet cockatiel even started singing/chirping along!
I think listening to this soundtrack helped get me in the right mood as a writer. I hope readers will enjoy the Christmassy feel of Heart Note when reading. Especially the scenes with all the spritzer chicks dressed in either sexy Santa dresses or red velvet onesies!
I’m interested to hear from readers about whether specific songs put you in the Christmas mood. What’s your go-to Christmas song or playlist?
Must admit I’m a Michael Buble fan at Christmas, Cass – but maybe not if I had to listen to it all day!
With thanks to the author and blog blitz organiser Rachel’s Random Resources, there are five e-copies of Heart Note available to win (open internationally). Here’s the rafflecopter for entry:
Heart Note is also available at a special price of 99p/99c at the moment – but move quickly!
About Cassandra O’Leary
**Winner of the We Heart New Talent contest, HarperCollins UK. Nominated for BEST NEW AUTHOR in the 2016 AusRom Today Reader’s Choice Awards for excellence in Australian romance fiction.**
Cassandra O’Leary is a romance and women’s fiction author, communications specialist, avid reader, film and TV fangirl and admirer of pretty, shiny things. In 2015, Cassandra won the We Heart New Talent contest run by Avon Books/HarperCollins UK. Her debut romantic comedy novel, Girl on a Plane, was published in July 2016. Cassandra was also a 2015 finalist in the Lone Star writing contest, Northwest Houston Romance Writers of America, and a 2014 finalist in the First Kiss contest, Romance Writers of Australia.
Cassandra is a mother of two gorgeous, high-energy mini ninjas and wife to a spunky superhero. Living in Melbourne, Australia, she’s also travelled the world. If you want to send her to Italy or Spain on any food or wine tasting ‘research’ trips, that would be splendiferous. You’ll find Cassandra online, drinking coffee and possibly buying shoes. Oh, yes. And writing.