Why did I write “Riding for Christmas?”
Well, months back, my dear friend and one of the best writers I know, Ms. Pauline Baird Jones, asked if I would like to be a part of a set of holiday novellas. Naturally, I leapt at the idea: fun, writing, friendship, a genre new for me – sci fi.
Now I’ve written a lot of paranormal romance, paranormal thrillers, and mysteries edged with paranormal. But sci fi…well, what I discovered in writing this story, is the mysterious, the unexplainable, the miraculous, the just plain strange, the-why-is-this-happening – that all still applies. And hopefully my interstellar spin will hit all of those spots with an audience who appreciates things that are a little bit out of this world.
Pauline and I discussed having a common thread in our stories: the idea of a mysterious gift changing things at Christmastime. No problem there, I loved the idea of a present creating a “new present time.”
I often write light, humorous romances as well as more darkly serious thrillers, and I know that Pauline tends to give a wonderfully zany, fun touch to her stories. So there’s where “Riding for Christmas” kind of took me for a ride. I had intended to keep things lighter than the direction my characters led me. But I found that I couldn’t think of snow storms and night time and wide open spaces without seeing things a little spookier, a little more dangerous. Yes, don’t worry, there’s an HEA that translates probably even to alien life forms. But the journey there included a few darker places. You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink? True enough, and my hero does open the book on horseback. Where my “horse” led me was on a slightly eerie journey, but it is, I promise, an enjoyable one through a wintery wonderland.
Which leads me to another element Pauline and I agreed upon: setting. We decided on Wyoming, a location dear to her heart, and one which I absolutely enjoyed visiting, and have written about once before. A lot of what I write gets its feel from setting, and so I needed to remember Wyoming, and the beautiful mountains, the feel of sitting in the stands at the rodeo, the stars, the warm, dark night – except, oops, that was in July. Not Christmas, AKA winter, time. So that took a little imagining from my Southern California desk.
I worried about all that, the winter setting, the not-exactly-lighthearted approach, but now that I see the two novellas side by side, I find that another kind of Christmas miracle has happened – as I enjoyed the gift of writing alongside Pauline – the stories compliment each other. The setting rings true in both. I love reading them both as much as I enjoyed writing my contribution to the collection. Secretly I think this particular gift – well, not so secret, since I’m saying it here – that of sharing a book title with Pauline – changed everything – and made it all work.
Read us and see if I’m right!
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