Are you one of those people who drag your battered, tinsel-strewn Christmas tree out to the curb at the break of dawn on December 26? Celebrate Boxing Day by flinging all of your family heirloom decorations into the basement? Stuff the dilapidated gingerbread house into the garbage and breathe a huge sigh of relief?
Well, I am. As much as I love the holidays, I can't wait to start fresh for the New Year. There's nothing like a clean slate.
Now just imagine that you're a writer, and your write about...Santa Claus. And the North Pole. And elves and magik and romance (of course), but imagine that this seasonal topic obsesses your creative mind twelve months of the year. When the spring bulbs are in bloom, the sultry heat of summer beckons, and the crisp crunch of autumn ushers in apple-picking season, you are still writing about Christmas.
At the end of December 2008, I finally hit my limit. After finishing my first book, Sweet Inspiration, I was struggling to start book two of my five part series about the Klaus brothers (yes, those Klaus brothers). I hated my characters, the elves were taking over the story, and the manuscript was strewn with profanities (the elves tend to get a little bit rambunctious). I decided to try my hand at historical romance. An idea for a story was bobbling around in my head for quite a while and I figure I could give it a go. So I made peace with my decision to temporarily shelve the Klaus brothers. This decision was a reasonable, rational, market-savvy choice.
And then I took the kids for haircuts yesterday, and while I was waiting I picked up a travel magazine. Inside was an article about Greenland. A two page photograph of a snowy landscape caught my attention. This photo was incredible...it literally sucked me into the page. I could feel the bitter cold, hear the howl of the wind, suffer in the isolation, and marvel at the beauty of the sun glistening on the ice. And before I had a chance to analyze my thought process, I became Andi, intrepid newspaper journalist, searching for Sven Klaus and the truth about Klaus Enterprises, lost in a relentless snow storm in a landscape just as bleak and beautiful as the one I was viewing. I got that jolt of excitement when a story pops into your head, and you start brainstorming and can't stop. And I knew then that I wasn't yet done with the Klaus boys. Even if the decision isn't quite rational, marketable, and maybe a tad outside of the proverbial romance box. But I rationalized to myself, as I started to flesh out this new story, that maybe it's not so bad to have a little Christmas spirit 365 days a year. So, here I go again....