Q&A with Liza Jonathan:
Q. What inspired you to write a holiday romance like Wrecking Christmas?
A. “It all started when I was going through my RSS feed one day, and I came across a piece on the Smart Bitches, Trashy Books Blog called The Painful Fantasy of Holiday Romances. Written by Amanda, one of the bloggers there, it was a very heartfelt missive about how people with difficult family lives read holiday romances differently. For them, stories where no one has any real problems and everything can be worked out by winning the cookie bake off can be hard to take. ‘Some of us,’ she said, ‘will never have a good Christmas.’
I found I couldn’t leave the ideas she brought up alone. What would happen, I wondered, if I wrote a book for someone like her? So that was how I came up with Hunter Holliday and Kathryn Winslow. They are two people with very tragic pasts, for whom Christmas has been ruined, permanently. They have deep regrets and things they can’t forgive themselves for. And they both get thrown together, completely by chance, in a magical mountain town that grants all their Christmas wishes. Yet, even here, in this perfect place, their baggage has hitched a ride with them. And against this improbable, Hallmark- movie-on-steroids backdrop, they have to work through all their problems and come out whole on the other side, together.
This book is steamy—not sweet—with a hard won happily ever after. I hope it inspires others the way it inspired me.”
Q. Tell us about the real locations you used in this book.
A.. “I was very fortunate to get permission from the Greenbrier Resort to use them as a setting in this book. The Greenbrier, if you’re not familiar with it, is one of the finest resorts in the nation, built in the 1700s in grand Georgian style in the cradle of the Greenbrier Valley. It has hundreds of rooms and is truly breathtaking. For Kathryn, it serves as a kind of El Dorado or Graceland. If she can just get her family there, they just might have the perfect Christmas after all, she thinks. But nothing goes according to plan.
I’ve also placed this Christmas series in Lewisburg, West Virginia, which is a small town neighboring The Greenbrier which is every bit as vibrant as I describe it. There’s people who have been there for generations, and wealthy
retirees who have moved there and bought rolling hilltop estates so they can be nearby to the resort. The Holliday family farm is exactly like dozens of farms in the area, situated on the prettiest rolling landscape you’ve ever seen. It’s the kind of jewel people don’t realize they can find in West Virginia, and I wanted to tell that story, too.”
Q. Any other tidbits we should know?
A. “I make mention in the book that Hunter Holliday is a winner of the Golden Horseshoe when he was in school. People who grew up in the state will laugh with recognition at that. Every kid in eighth grade has to take West Virginia history, and the Golden Horseshoe test I part of that. l. I studied and studied for weeks, but I didn’t crack the code at the state level, though. So, I’ll never be a “knight” of the “golden horseshoe.” Alas. That ship has sailed.”
Q. So we’re going to see more Christmas stories coming out of Lewisburg?
A.. “Absolutely! I have the sequel to it already written and in development. It’s the story of Hopper Vance, who works at Holliday Hot Rods with Hunter, and Cookie, who’s Kathryn’s receptionist at her practice. Turns out, Hopper and Cookie are long lost loves separated by tragedy. And this will be a magically fueled second chance romance you won’t soon forget. It’s all about the persistence of the heart, and the journey to forgiveness. I can’t wait to introduce readers to it next year! After that, I’ve got another one sketched out from the Holliday garage. But after that, who knows? I’m sure readers will inform me what they want to see next. And I’m all ears.”
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