Beth, my heroine, has returned to her childhood home – the Hotel Everdene – after a bad breakup. Her confidence is badly shaken & she’s struggling to know what to do next in life. When her mother is stranded in a blizzard, Beth is left in charge of the fully booked hotel, feeling completely out of her depth. But one thing Beth isn’t, is a quitter and, with a bit of help from Nick, a gorgeous guest, she does her best to make sure Christmas doesn’t end in catastrophe!
What’s your typical writing day like? Do you need coffee? Silence? Where do you like to work?
It varies through the week. On a Monday & Tuesday, when my 3yo is in nursery, I usually get back from the school & nursery run by 9.30. Then I run around tidying up the mess from breakfast, make a start in some housework & settle down to write at my desk at around 10.30-11.00. I have a fantastic pull down desk in my bedroom which my partner put in as a surprise for me when I was away at the RNA conference in July & I love it so much. I always have music playing, the house is so quiet without the kids in it, and I probably spend too much time creating special playlists for each project. The rest of the week when I have my 3yo home, writing takes place in the evenings on the sofa with my headphones on!
What’s your route to publication been like?
It feels like it has been very long. I started writing my first novel over a decade ago & I did query it but in hindsight I had no clue what I was doing! Writing became sporadic over the last eight years as we started a family & I became a stay-at-home mum. Some people might think that gives you lots of time to write but I find it so hard to concentrate on writing with my kids around me.
Then I joined the RNA at the beginning of 2019 & really got serious about finishing my manuscript, sending it for the NWS critique & submitting it. Orion announced their new digital first imprint called Dash at the RNA Conference & I sent it along. Overall, I probably submitted A Mistletoe Miracle to twenty agents & publishers, and entered half a dozen competitions. So, lots of no’s but you only need one yes!
What would be on a playlist for this novel?
As I mentioned earlier I have an extensive playlist for this novel on Spotify (which I’m going to make available very soon). Also, Beth is a music tutor so music is very important to her & lots of songs feature in the story. Three Little Birds by Bob Marley, Come Away with Me by Norah Jones & Words Are Dead by Agnes Obel all play a significant part in her journey.
What’s your favourite word?
Probably ‘chocolate’ for obvious reasons!
This is such a hard one too! I think the Ghost of Christmas Present (The Muppet Christmas Carol version) because he encapsulates that wonderful festive feeling of generosity & fun. I doubt he’d complain if my sprouts were soggy.
Which author has inspired you the most and why?
This is such a hard question. Unsurprisingly, I was a real bookworm from a young age & loved Roald Dahl for his imagination & wit. As an adult, I am a massive fan of Tessa Dare who writes romantic fiction with so much heart and humour too. I think both really show how you can explore emotional themes and entwine humour in a very genuine way. In real life we often use humour to help us deal with difficulties and who doesn’t like to laugh?
What are you currently working on?
I’m currently revising my very first manuscript. It’s a contemporary romance & I’ve learnt so much about the craft of writing since I wrote it all those years ago. I’m hoping to keep the core theme of it, which is very close to my heart, whilst making it structurally a novel that actually works!
Care about your story. It seems obvious but it’s so easy to second guess yourself because what you’re writing may not be ‘on trend’. There’s no point worrying about that – it changes all the time & who knows, your novel might be what kicks off the new trend? Ultimately, if it is well written & your passion shows through it, there will be someone out there who it speaks to. Also, you are going to work on it *a lot*, so you better love it!
Do you have advice to someone suffering from writer’s block?
Give yourself a break. I think blocks can come for all kinds of reasons, so there’s no single fix but I try to give myself a little time away so I can let my subconscious work, fill up my creative well with some reading, films or time outdoors. Sometimes writing in a different format can help me too. Weirdly, a notebook seems more private to me than writing on my laptop, so I feel freer to explore new ideas. I don’t have to write them up & include them in the ‘real manuscript’ if they don’t work.
What do you believe is the most common mistake new writers make?
Being in a rush. Writing, revising & editing all take a long time, but they are necessary. It’s hard to know when it’s really ready but this is where critique partners, beta-readers & schemes like the NWS can really help. You will get there so try not to put too much pressure on yourself or worry about what everyone else is achieving. One guarantee about readers is they always want more books!
A devoted bookworm and secret-story-scribbler since she was 6 years old, Emma Jackson joined the Romantic Novelists’ Association on their New Writers’ Scheme at the beginning of 2019, determined to focus on her writing.
She has been overwhelmed by the encouragement given by the published authors and fellow NWS members who are part of the RNA and highly recommends joining to any romance writers looking for support and friendly guidance (there are some bursaries available).
When she’s not running around after her two daughters and trying to complete her current work-in-progress, Emma loves to read, bake, catch up on binge-watching TV programmes with her partner and plan lots of craft projects that will inevitably end up unfinished.
A MISTLETOE MIRACLE is her debut novel, published by Orion Dash.
You can also visit her website at www.esjackson.co.uk
At the Everdene Hotel, snowflakes, romance and mayhem are in the air…
A cosy hotel in a sleepy, snow-covered village should be the perfect setting for a Christmas to remember… But for Beth, returning to her childhood home after a disastrous break-up looks more like a festive fiasco.
With her mum stranded in a blizzard and most of the hotel staff off sick, Beth is forced to take the reins, impress a mystery hotel reviewer, and somehow find a way to work with Nick, the very grumpy – and very gorgeous – pilot who is staying for the holidays.
Between mince pie emergencies, deadly decorations, and two dozen disgruntled guests, Beth might just find a miracle under the mistletoe this Christmas…
Heartwarming and hilarious, this is the perfect festive romance to curl up with this winter. Perfect for fans of Heidi Swain and Sue Moorcroft.
Click to view A Mistletoe Miracle on Amazon UK.