Writing Holiday Romance by Nancy Naigle


Writing Holiday Romance by Nancy Naigle

Please welcome back NANCY NAIGLE, who returns with a very seasonal post.


I love the holidays. Especially Christmas, and anyone who knows me knows that I’m a Hallmark Christmas movie fanatic. Yes, I’ve been watching holiday movies since October. Who else can raise their hand to this guilty pleasure??


I also devour Christmas novels. Those small almost square hardcovers are my favorite. I snag all the new ones that come out, and reread each and every one of them every single year. They tickle special memories, fill my heart with joy and hope, and put me in the mood to share and give. That’s what the season is really all about after all, right?  **Don’t tell anyone…but my very favorite one is about fruitcake. Yes. Fruitcake! Have you read it? There’s Something About Christmas by Debbie Macomber.


The funny thing is, as much as I love those books, it never occurred to me to write a Christmas novel of my own. That is, until I was asked to write one the summer of 2015. It was like winning Miss Congeniality! Unexpected and thrilling. I was so excited….but it was summer. I needed to pull together three pitches for a heartwarming Christmas novel. I found myself trying to conjure up snowflakes and carols while wearing shorts and putting on sunscreen. Easier said than done. But there’s only one thing better than writing a romance, and that’s adding a dash of Christmas to the mix. I was so ready for the challenge.


I started with a romantic conflict, and then started thinking about how’d I weave in the holidays like stripes on a candy cane. I revisited my most special Christmas pasts—the moments that have lasted through the years.  The special gifts, including the first piece of jewelry I ever received from a boy. A silver charm bracelet with a pair silver bells that actually jingled on it. The cookie swaps. Handmade ornaments. Pretty wrapping paper and wire ribbon bows. The silver Christmas tree with rotating light lamp…yes, I’m a child of the 60’s. My first live Christmas tree wasn’t until I was married. The year the dog ate the turkey…yes, that really happened. My grandfather dressed up as Santa.


I think we all tend to believe that our holiday traditions are unique to us, but I thought if I could be careful to add just enough specifics to convey the feelings, the excitement, the magic of those traditions, them my reader could fill in the blanks with their own details. That was my goal, because that’s when the real magic happens. When readers bring their own moments, baggage in some cases, to a story that transcends the story the author wrote into something special to the reader.


Sights, sounds, smells, even colors are so important to bring a holiday story to life.


In Christmas Joy, a busy executive, Joy Holbrook, takes an unplanned leave of absence to help her Aunt who has taken a fall. The timing couldn’t be worse, because Joy is up for the promotion of her dreams.  Add in a small town with traditions galore, the fact that her aunt has won the big holiday decoration contest every year, and an accountant that is trying to be way to helpful, a little girl with dreams of her own and it will be a miracle if the magic of Christmas can help open Joy’s heart to everlasting joy.



Take a moment and think about your most precious holiday memories ~ share one of them with us in the comments below…and include all of the senses that are tempted by that thought. Go!


GIVEAWAY: One of our commenters (U.S. only, please) will be chosen to receive a wooden CHRISTMAS JOY ornament. The winner will be announced at RU on Saturday. Dec. 3.

LAURA TRENTHAM joins us on Friday, December 2.




USA Today bestselling author NANCY NAIGLE whips up small-town love stories with a dash of suspense and a whole lot of heart. Now happily retired, she devotes her time to writing, antiquing, and the occasional spa day with friends. A native of Virginia Beach, she currently calls North Carolina home. Her latest novels include the Boot Creek Series (Life After Perfect and Every Yesterday), and Christmas Joy.







A heartwarming Christmas story about family, friendship and finding love in unexpected places.

Joy Holbrook might be all work and no play, but that changes when her Aunt Ruby takes a fall that lands her in a rehabilitation center before the holidays. Joy takes a leave of absence from her job as a market researcher to run the family farm, even though the timing may hinder her chance at garnering the promotion of her dreams.

Ben Andrews isn’t your average accountant. He also happens to be the handiest man in Crystal Falls. He’s helped his elderly neighbor, Ruby Johnson, decorate for the annual Christmas Home Tour―and win―the last several years. He’s not about to let some drop-in niece break their winning streak.

Ruby seems overly concerned about Joy being able to handle Molly. Under the impression she’s referring Molly the bunny that is one of the menagerie of animals, Joy’s not worried at all until the next morning when a little girl named Molly shows up. For the sake of her aunt, Joy is forced to partner with Ben while Ruby is on the mend to help with preparation for the Christmas tour and, in the process finds her career-focused heart dreaming of a family.

Will the magic of Christmas help her to open her heart and find her everlasting joy?ey-and-lap-bootcreek-banner

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2 Responses to “Writing Holiday Romance by Nancy Naigle”

  1. Consider my hand raised. I’ve been feasting on the Hallmark Channel like a glutton at a banquet. I LOVE the Christmas season.

    And I agree with you. It can be strange writing holiday stories in the summer. (Gotta love Pandora; I play Christmas carols all year long.) This was the first year I released a Christmas story, and writing it while sitting poolside was kind of surreal.

    Your point about memories, though, really resonated with me. We do think our traditions are special. Incorporating something that has a significance to us while still letting readers relate can be tricky. But when done correctly, it’s magical.

    Good luck with the Christmas Joy release!

  2. Thanks so much for this timely post, Nancy! Even reading about Christmas makes me want a cup of hot chocolate with marshmallows on top!

    We just put up our (fake) tree about a week ago, and – no coincidence – I was suddenly in the mood for a Christmas story. I didn’t have a copy of your book (don’t worry, I’m going to fix that!) so I picked up a Christmas mystery by Canadian author Vicki Delany, http://vickidelany.com/, WE WISH YOU A MURDEROUS CHRISTMAS.

    While I curl up with Christmas fiction, my daughter is more likely to watch Lifetime Christmas movies and the Hallmark channel. Even when she was a little kid she was hooked on those, especially Olivia Newton-John in A MOM FOR CHRISTMAS. She was seven years old when it came out and I think that’s still one of her favorites.

    Christmas can be pretty stressful, but I love the IDEA of Christmas. I’ve always loved Christmas fiction. My favorite is O.Henry’s “The Gift of the Magi” but I seem to have quite a few Christmas mysteries and romances on my keeper shelves.

    In fact, the only fiction I’ve had published was part of an anthology of Christmas-themed stories that my RWA chapter put together.