Holiday Reading with Sue Moorcroft's Book

Why Write a Christmas Book? Author Sue Moorcroft Explains

Please join me in welcoming author Sue Moorcroft to the blog! She offers insights into writing a Christmas book and the origins of her latest novel The Christmas Promise in this holiday guest post. Take it away, Sue!

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Writing a Christmas book was a new experience for me. I’d written quite a few short stories for magazines set at or around Christmas but never anything longer. I’m not the world’s biggest Christmas fan.

I suppose there are three reasons I wrote The Christmas Promise. Here’s the chronology:

Waterstones had given me an opportunity to sign books in my local store. While I was handing out my bookmarks and chatting to prospective readers I was able to observe the table at the front of the store piled high with novels featuring Christmas. Those novels were just walking out of the store. A couple of people even came up to look at my books and said that if there had been a Christmas one they would have bought it because they make such good presents for friends or stocking fillers for relatives.

Shortly afterwards my then-publishers asked if I’d be interested in writing a Christmas novella.

I began to work on the idea that eventually turned into The Christmas Promise.

I thought it had enough meat to the story to make a novel rather than a novella. At that time I was talking to the wonderful person who became my agent, Juliet Pickering of Blake Friedmann.

She looked at the three ideas I had at that time (I’ve unaccountably forgotten one of these!) and said she’d feel most confident of selling the Christmas one. She agreed with me that in order for it to succeed as a novel I’d need a greater conflict for my heroine Ava than just not liking Christmas. As a postscript: it was the conflict I chose, being threatened with revenge porn, which has caused most comment in reviews and in the press.

So there are two very commercial reasons that I wrote a Christmas book. The last was that I always write about subjects I want to look at and this time it was that not everybody finds Christmas an unalloyed pleasure. Family conflicts can feel heightened by the festive season, those who are no longer with us are particularly missed, money woes multiply, stress levels rise at the necessity to produce grander-than-usual meals for greater-than-usual numbers of people, those who do not produce those meals feel got at by those who do, some people feel under pressure from those who’d like their company and others feel neglected.

So that’s how Ava begins the book not looking forward to Christmas, skint, her business failing, her parents in another country and her ex-boyfriend threatening her! Then, to drive the story forward, I gave her a promise that was easy to make but increasingly hard to keep.

Welcome to the blog, Sue Moorcroft

Sue Moorcroft is an Award Winning Writer

Did I get Christmassed-out? Yes, especially when I was asked to write a Christmas magazine serial at the same time. Would I write another Christmas book? Of course. Commercial success is hard to ignore but Christmas can provide extremes of emotion. What’s better to write about than that?

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Award-winning author Sue Moorcroft writes contemporary women’s fiction with occasionally unexpected themes. A past vice chair of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and editor of its two anthologies, Sue also writes short stories, serials, articles, writing ‘how to’ and is a creative writing tutor. She’s won a Readers’ Best Romantic Read Award and the Katie Fforde Bursary.

Sue Moorcroft’s latest book, The Christmas Promise (Avon Books UK, HarperCollins), has climbed the Kindle UK charts and the paperback goes on sale in the UK on December 1st.

You can also connect with Sue at her self-titled blog, Facebook author page, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, and LinkedIn.

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61 thoughts on “Why Write a Christmas Book? Author Sue Moorcroft Explains

  1. dancingpalmtrees

    Wonderful blog post as always. This is off the subject but I received your Poetry book over a week ago and though I have not had time to read through it the poems I did read are outstanding.
    Amazon.com sent me a £10 voucher for the Charles Tyrwhitt store in London. Guess they don’t realize that Brooklyn, NY is no where near London, England!
    LOL!

    Liked by 3 people

    Reply
    1. Christy B Post author

      Oh dear friend, thank you for getting the book and I’m honored you like the poems you’ve read so far! Haha how strange that the American Amazon site would forward you a UK gift certificate. Perhaps you could offer it as a giveaway on your blog if you can’t use it or give it to a friend if you know anyone in London 🙂 Happy Friday!

      Liked by 2 people

      Reply
  2. D. Wallace Peach

    Thanks for sharing Sue on your blog, Christy. Makes perfect sense that Christmas books would be popular this time of year. I was surprised that Sue said she wasn’t much of a Christmas fan and yet wrote the book and would write another. I suppose many stories can be set around the holiday. An interesting post!

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply
    1. suemoorcroft

      Thank you. I did shy away from writing a Christmas book for a while, which is why Ava begins the book by not really liking Christmas. I wanted to find out why that was and shine a light on why Christmas isn’t ‘the season of good cheer’ for everyone. It was also a commercial decision. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      Reply
    1. suemoorcroft

      That’s interesting! The downside is that Christmas books won’t sell well all over the world. Even countries that are largely Christian don’t necessarily make a big thing of it. I would have thought Germany was as Christmas-minded as the UK but they have titled it ‘Magical Winter Kisses’ (WinterZauberKüsse) as they felt ‘Christmas’ was too limiting. I have deals in Denmark and Italy so it will be interesting to see their titles, in due course.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  3. Sageleaf

    What fun! You know…I could maybe get into Christmas writing…I’m working on another novel inspired by fantasy and current events…
    In any case, what a wonderful post. I hope this book is wildly successful. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    Reply
  4. Clanmother

    A great post, as always. A wonderful outlook to writing. As for Christmas writing, Charles Dickens thought that the most important things should be discussed at this festive time. I happen to agree! Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Sue! I know that you will continue to experience great success!

    Liked by 3 people

    Reply
    1. suemoorcroft

      Thank you very much. When people ask me where I get my ideas from the answer is different for every book. I always want to be in a love affair along with the hero and heroine but, other than that … very open minded.

      Liked by 3 people

      Reply
  5. Annika Perry

    Christy, an interesting post and lovely to learn about Sue. Christmas books seem to be a recent phenomenon and it is fascinating to learn how Sue became involved and funnily enough her slightly ambivalent attitude to Christmad books themselves.

    Liked by 3 people

    Reply
    1. suemoorcroft

      Thanks for your comment, Annika. The original intention was commercially driven but, like all my books, I soon became interested in the issues that underpin the story. One thing I feel I learned from the writing is that every conflict has the potential to seem worse at Christmas.

      Liked by 2 people

      Reply
    2. Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, MCC, SCAC

      Not really such a new idea, Annika – unless you consider 60 years ago a “recent” phenomenon – and unless you are speaking specifically and exclusively about the adult market (which still is not all that common/popular). My Mom read us stories from a lot of little Christmas books well before I learned to read and happily took over that task for my younger siblings, and I’m a Boomer.

      Ludwig Bemelmans’ Madeline’s Christmas was first published in 1956 as a special book insert to McCalls Magazine and is still in print and doing well today. Ditto How the Grinch Stole Christmas, btw. – published in hard cover on Christmas Day ’56.

      Since A Charlie Brown Christmas is currently selling its 50th Anniversary edition, I might even say that those of us starting NOW are coming late to the party. 😉
      xx,
      mgh
      (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMore dot com)
      – ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder –
      “It takes a village to educate a world!”

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      Reply
    1. suemoorcroft

      I think you have the whole marketing plan right there! 🙂 HarperCollins gave the book its title. I quite wanted ‘Ava Bliss’s Christmas Kisses’ or ‘A Christmas Kiss for Ava Bliss’ but they were concerned that the cover would be all letters and little illustration, which is not what they were looking for. The success the book’s had so far convinces me that they really know their stuff. Interestingly (to me, anyway), my next book with them (May 2017) I gave the title ‘Just for the Holidays’ and they’re perfectly content with that.

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      Reply
      1. Carolee Croft

        Yes, it seems a little mystery can really work in your favor. I’ll keep that in mind for my future book titles. On the other hand, there’s Harlequin titles which sometimes just sound funny to me: Bedded by the Sheikh, or the Billionaire’s Pregnant Bride, but they seem to work too… I guess that’s more to do with the readers knowing what to expect. I’m glad the Christmas Promise is doing well! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        Reply
    1. suemoorcroft

      Thanks for your comment, Millie. In the UK, anyway, Christmas books are enjoying success. Another year may be another story but I’m hoping this one will come back every year! Fingers crossed. I hope your writing goes well.

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      Reply
  6. pennywrite

    Interesting background! Just begun reading my copy of The Christmas Promise, and already enjoying it very much. The seasonal theme is good of course, but I find Sue’s characters always grab your attention from the start whatever the setting!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

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