What first sparked your interest in writing Wrapped Up in Christmas?
For some time I have been wanting to spread my wings as a writer and push myself outside my comfort zone, to write a story that moved people, and brought my writing to another level. My agent suggested I write a proposal for Hallmark. When I sat down to write the proposal, I asked myself what Hallmark meant to me, and I started writing the proposal for Wrapped Up in Love–which was the original title, as the original version centered around July 4th rather than Christmas. I was asked to revise to a Christmas story and make a few tweaks to the proposal, and Hallmark Publishing bought it. Now, I can’t imagine the book as anything other than a Christmas story.
How long did it take you to write the story?
I’m honestly not sure of the exact timeframe for the first draft. I’d guess around 3 months. I was on deadline with another publisher, so I had to write.
Who is your favorite character & why?
There are a lot of characters in the book I love for various reasons. The answer that popped into my head is Harry, who is my hero’s dog. But I adore Bodie and Sarah, and I’d feel remiss if I didn’t mention the Butterflies. Writing Harry and letting his personality come through without dialogue stretched me as a writer. Stretching outside one’s comfort zone makes one grow and that’s a good thing. I adore Bodie because he is a wounded warrior with a big heart, a real life hero who loves his country and fellowman. He’s the kind of hero you know would come to your rescue no matter what. Sarah is sweet and loves her hometown and community. I love that about her, probably because I feel the same way about the small town in Tennessee where I live. And, those pesky Butterflies….those ladies were so much fun to write because I had to ask myself, now what would they do next that borders on outrageous without going too far over the top. I’d catch myself giggling at times writing the scenes with them on the page because I could so vividly see them in my mind. Hmmm, that was more than a single character, but I honestly love them all equally.
Annie: I am totally excited that you said the hero’s dog first. Each character sounds amazingly special, but I have a special place in my heart for dogs.
When did you realize you were a novelist?
When I was in the first grade. No kidding. On my tablet paper, I wrote a story about a witch and was hooked. I’d write every chance I got up until I went away to college. Somehow, I quit writing for pleasure during that time, got my degree, a husband, some beautiful children, and it wasn’t until 9/11 happened that, same as many others, I found myself looking at life differently. For me that meant asking myself why I wasn’t pursuing my dream of writing. It was my dream and yet I was putting zero effort into making it a reality. I started writing again. Writing is such a wonderful outlet for me that, looking back, I can’t believe I allowed myself to stop for so long. Whether or not I ever sold another book, I’d still write. Writing soothes a need in me that nothing else touches. My hope is that my writing soothes a need in my readers that only a good book can accomplish.
What’s been the most exciting part of Wrapped Up in Christmas’s release?
Everything about writing for Hallmark has been exciting. How my hometown has shared in my joy of this book warms my heart in so many ways. Friends and family have just embraced me with their joy. It’s been amazing, but my answer as to what’s been the most exciting has to be having been a guest on the Hallmark Channel’s Home & Family talk show on November 8th and making a snowflake ornament with Cameron Mathison. He was so unbelievably kind. I’d love to write a book that he someday starred in the movie. Did I mention that I’m a dreamer? LOL. Still, this entire experience has been dreamy, so I know dreams come true. I’m just going to keep dreaming.
Annie: WOW! I love that show, and Cameron Mathison! That is so amazing!
What’s your favorite part of being an author?
Getting to write stories that raise awareness of causes I believe in such as the Quilts of Valor Foundation. In Wrapped Up in Christmas, Sarah has donated a quilt to the Quilts of Valor Foundation. That quilt made its way to a wounded warrior named Bodie Lewis. Quilts of Valor is a real organization that really does wrap up veterans and active servicemen and women in quilts. That my book has brought attention to their mission makes my heart happy because I 100% believe in what they are doing.
Annie: This is an amazing organization! Here is the link for everyone to check out! https://www.qovf.org
What are your hobbies?
I love to sew and quilt. I won’t say that I have a whole lot of perfectly straight quarter inch seams, but I try. 🙂 I am in the process of making a quilt for each of my children, make quilts for baby shower gifts, and have recently finished my second Quilts of Valor quilt to be donated. I hope to make many more to be donated in the future as well as continuing to write stories that draw attention to the wonderful work this organization does.
Annie: Thank you so much for this outstanding interview behind the scenes of both you and your book! It’s so wonderful to get to know you better!