Hallo, Hallo dear hearts!
Christmas is nearly upon us and for once, I’m a bit ahead of the curve in regards to my annual tradition of ‘Holiday Reading’ queues! I’ve already begun to share my experiences reading Holiday Romances – curled up inside the Regency through Ms Carla Kelly’s visions of Sweet Romance whilst tucking into a small towne for a short spell in Contemporary times! I have other stories planned as November leans into December and before Twelfth Night arrives in January! This is the time of the year of garland and Yule; of heaps of snow & loads of family being round a tree lit and outfitted nicely with all the accompaniments of Christmastide! Where stockings are hung over hearths and a ready fire helps keep your favourite brewed in your cuppa of choice!
I’ve known about Ms Halton’s fiction for a short bit of time, as I am a reviewer of ChocLitUK – she’s written two stories with them: “A Little Sugar, A Lot of Love” & “A Little Luck, A Lot of Fate”. The latter is still Digital First, however, the first novel is also released into print – I’ve had my eye on her stories to read, as I liked the premise of the first one. Therefore, when I spied this new release of her’s with a Christmas premise, I couldn’t wait to host her on Jorie Loves A Story! I am thankful I’ve been reviewing for ChocLit, as it’s the first way in which my path crossed with her writings!
As I was setting up my conversation with Ms Halton, I wanted to talk about the story & characters but being it’s set at Christmastime, I also wanted to include a few extra bits which happily would encompass my *favourite!* time of the year! There is something quite extraordinary about Christmas – the season of mirth & joy, where most spirits are lifted & joyous during this particular time of the year! It’s also the time I *love!* to binge watch all the lovelies on television (when I have cable, that is!) – especially the light-hearted Christmas Roms on Hallmark Channel and others stations which air the lovelies I’ve loved seeing from the 80s through the 21st Century! Blessedly, I have quite a few on dvd – which makes retreating back into my fond memories of those movies a dash of merriment ahead of my own celebrations!
I have the tendency to go between watching Christmas films and/or holiday seasonal films (ie. dramas, comedies, romances or mini-series) to reading them! I love curling up inside the stories which celebrate how Autumn folds into Winter – of how the Earth cycles through it’s new chapter where frost and snow overtake the natural world. It’s a refreshing time of the year where the wrath of Summer is a faded memory and where you feel alive in your bones simply for the reprieve of humidity! Each year, I try to find a few new authors & their stories to knit inside – of making my own route of festive cheer through literary worlds!
Hopefully, as you alight into our conversation, you’ll be able to get a better feel for the story itself whilst finding out a bit more about Ms Halton and myself in the process! Remember, to leave your commentary & questions for the author in the threads below this post! Here’s wishing you & yours a very merrily festive holiday season!
Christmas at Bay Tree Cottage
by Linn B. Halton
The countdown to Christmas is usually a magical time, but Elena James is fed up with living on a building site! The renovations on her beautiful cottage – like her heart – have been frozen in limbo ever since she was unexpectedly widowed.
Elana calls in a professional, Luke Stevenson, to help finish the cottage, so her little girl can send letters to Santa up the newly-repaired chimney. Luke’s kind, capable and sexy – but he’s also ten years younger than Elana. So why has her heart decided it’s finally time for a thaw?
Places to find the book:
Published by Harper Impulse
on 3rd November, 2017
Extract from ‘Christmas at Bay Tree Cottage’ provided by the author Linn B. Halton and is being used with permission.
‘Mum, can we light the log fire tonight?’ Maya looks up at me with eager eyes.
‘I think we should wait until the weekend, darling. There isn’t really time to appreciate it on a school night, is there? Besides, I’m not even sure whether there are any logs left in the store. I promise to get it sorted as soon as I can.’
It was Niall’s job, sorting the fire. He would have booked the chimney sweep in early autumn and had the logs all ready and waiting, stacked neatly against the back wall of the garage. Ironically, last year I was much more organised. I suppose it was one of my coping mechanisms during those raw, early weeks and months. Keep going; keep doing something – anything, so I didn’t have to listen to what was in my head. But I feel bad. Maya will remember that this time last year we spent every evening huddled together on the sofa in front of the fire, reading. Hour upon hour we escaped into alternative worlds inspired by some wonderful authors. Roald Dahl’s Matilda, E. B. White’s Charlotte’s Web, and Maya’s favourite, Jill Murphy’s The Worst Witch, a story of tenderness and triumph.
It was the very worst of times, but I focused on getting us through it one day at a time. My gut instinct, immediately after the accident, had been to sell the cottage just to escape that prevailing sense that something was missing. Niall was no longer here and it would never, ever be the same again. But soon realisation dawned that Maya needed a sense of continuity; the memories trapped within these walls were a lifeline for her, although a cruelly painful reminder for me. In a way she feels her dad is still here and I can’t take that away from her.
What inspires you to set Romances round the Christmastide & holiday season? What draws your eye towards this Season as being one which benefits from uplifting stories of Romance?
Halton responds: For me Christmas is the highlight of the year and it always has been since I was a very young child. I believe there is always a little ‘Christmas’ magic in the air during the holidays because it’s a time of goodwill.
When you have a family so much time goes into the preparation leading up to the big day and the holiday surrounding it, that it is a real labour of love. It isn’t about how much you spend, but about the time spent trimming the house, cooking up a storm in the kitchen and making sure no one is forgotten.
And it’s a time to buy little presents to give to people who touch our lives in some way and deserve a little thank you – like the postman, a teacher or the local delivery guy! But also the neighbour who doesn’t seem to get many visitors – a card and a tin of biscuits delivered by hand is the perfect excuse to stop by and have a little chat.
It’s a season full of love … so you don’t have to look far to find romance and that’s why I always love it when I can fit in a Christmas novel! Read More