It was only when I started planning the HULF Talk Christmas Special that I realised just how much I have written about Christmas over the years and wondering just why that was. In this post, I’m exploring why I like writing about Christmas and highlighting my short stories and novels that relate to the festive season.
Tag: Lighting Up Time
Christmas Ginger – a New Christmas Story Free to Read Now (The First Ever Sophie Sayers Prequel!)
Today I’m pleased to share with you Christmas Ginger, a heartwarming festive short story that I’ve written for novelist Helen Hollick‘s Story Song series, in which during December a different story inspired by a song is published each day on her Discovering Diamonds blog.
Christmas Stories Past
The first story I wrote for Helen’s blog was Lighting Up Time, set at the winter solstice, and since published as an ebook, audio short, and a tiny paperback the perfect size for a stocking filler.
Last year my contribution was a short story called It Doesn’t Feel Like Christmas, set in the Hector’s House bookshop, featuring Sophie, Hector, Billy and other favourite characters from my Sophie Sayers Village Mysteries. You can read that one here – and see whether you can guess before the end which song inspired the story! (This one hasn’t made it into a book yet, but will be included in my planned Wendlebury Barrow Christmas Compendium in 2021.)
Christmas Story Present
For this year’s series, I decided to write a story I’d had in my head for a while: the return of Sophie’s late great-aunt, May Sayers, to live in the cottage that she’ll eventually leave to Sophie.
In this story we find May unexpectedly alone for Christmas, in a scenario that sadly so many people will face this festive season. Then an unexpected visit from her old friend Billy inspires the ever-resourceful May to use an old-fashioned trick to transform her lonely vigil into her most special Christmas ever.
Whether or not you’ve read any of the Sophie Sayers Village Mysteries yet, I hope you will enjoy this gentle Christmas tale.
Christmas Ginger has not yet been published anywhere else. so for now the only place you can read it is on the Discovering Diamonds website:
Christmas Stories Yet to Come
By Christmas 2021, I’m planning to publish The Wendlebury Barrow Christmas Compendium. One of my projects over this holiday season is to write another new story inspired by the poinsettia – which I’ve just discovered rather pleasingly is named after one Joel Poinsett. More of that to follow in my story next Christmas!
Also in the new year I’m planning to write a trilogy of short stories, May Sayers Comes Home, as well as a new novel in each of the Sophie Sayers and St Bride’s School series. I’m going to be busy!
For now, have a peaceful and restorative Christmas, and I’ll look forward to catching up with you here on my blog at the end of the year.
My Other Books with a Christmas Theme
(all available in paperback and ebook – click images for ebook store links)
A Heartwarming Tale for Dark Nights – at Half Price
I’ve just spotted that this little paperback of my short story Lighting Up Time has been reduced to about half price (£1.52) by Amazon’s UK store just now, so I thought I’d flag that up for you before they put the price back up to its usual £2.99. (Usual price applies in other Amazon stores.)
Set just before Christmas at the winter solstice, 21st December, it’s a timely read for these dark, wet, windy winter nights, telling the story of a young woman trying to come to terms with her fear of the dark as she babysits her nephew and niece in a remote country house.
With equal touches of spookiness and humour, it’s a touching, feel-good quick read that’s just right for this time of year.
The small format paperback is the size of a postcard, which makes it a great stocking-filler or Secret Santa gift, and just the right size to slip inside a Christmas card. It’s also available as an ebook for just 99p/99c.
What Readers Say:
“Lovely story that perfectly captures that big sister/little sister thing, and Aunt Sophie is a lovely gentle presence throughout – I especially like the way you use scent (perfume, flowers) to evoke her.” – Lucienne Boyce, historical novelist
“You had me scared of the dark with you!” Melanie Spiller
“Lovely story and a great, feel-good ending .” – Christina Courtenay, romantic novelist
“Debbie Young packs so much into her short and poignant stories.” – Tom Evans
I don’t know how long Amazon will be running this special offer, so if you fancy it, best snap it up while you can!
What Sparks Stories?
Sharing my guest post on the author Jacci Gooding’s blog, where we’ve both talked about the inspirations for our writing
Last week, I was delighted to receive an invitation to appear as a guest on Jacci Gooding’s author blog. She asked me to write on any subject of my choice, but when I read her recent post about what inspires her stories, I decided to respond in kind.
Fact Inspiring Fiction
Jacci’s post, running under the heading “You Couldn’t Make It Up”, demonstrates her classic authorly knack of spotting writing prompts all around her. Overheard snippets of conversation cry out for a back-story to be written, and friends’ anecdotes tempt an author to take poetic licence and develop them into a full-blown story. (Read Jacci’s post here.)
In my guest post, I share the observations that led to some of the stories in my Christmas collection, Stocking Fillers, in my flash fiction collection Quick Change, and my most topical story of the moment, “Lighting Up Time”, which is set at the winter solstice (21st December in the northern hemisphere). Read about what sparks my stories on Jacci’s blog here.
But It Is Fiction, Isn’t It?
Many fiction authors are horrified when readers jump to the conclusion that their work is autobiographical, or when they claim to have spotted themselves as a character in a story, despite the legal disclaimers that appear in every work of fiction that any resemblance to reality is purely coincidental. My Canadian author friend Francis Guenette writes amusingly about that dilemma on the ALLi blog (of which I’m Commissioning Editor) in this post: It’s Fiction, People!
Can any fiction author ever really write a story that hasn’t been sparked by real life in some shape or form? I’m not sure – nor am I convinced that such a story would be worth reading – and what I’ve read of both Jacci’s and Francis’s work is very definitely worth reading!
For more information about my fiction, check out my fiction section.
Talking about inspiration for our stories with @JacciGooding on her blog: http://authordebbieyoung.com/2014/12/17/sparks/ #amwriting #ww
OVER TO YOU
If you’re an author, what sets your imagination alight? And as a reader, does it matter to you whether fiction has its basis in fact? Please join the conversation!