Tell us a bit about you and your background.
Although I was born in England, I have lived in New Zealand for more than thirty years. I developed an interest in writing romance and founded Romance Writers of New Zealand, which has now been going for more than 21 years.
Do you start a new story with the plot or characters first?
I usually begin with a plot and build the characters into it. However, on one occasion I had a secondary character who I felt deserved her own book, so I built a plot around her. That book turned out to be one of my personal favorites.
Is your writing style planned or freestyle?
When creating a book, I prefer not to plot in advance. I’ll never write a detailed outline. I tried it once but it was as though the story had already been written, and I never finished it. What I prefer to do is think about the plot for a few days, let it play around in my head, then write a bullet list of things that I want to happen in the scene. Nothing much, just a word or two. That way I don’t forget anything, and if necessary, it’s very easy to adjust the story as I write.
What was your biggest surprise in the editing/revision process?
I’m not so keen on revision. I’m doing that right now with a story, and it’s a real pain because half the story has had to change. However, I love editing. I enjoy taking a raw, unedited story, expanding on it and making it better by using different phrases, words, etc.
Have you traveled to any locations that appear in your books?
Yes, I’ve been to Egypt, Greece and the United States.
Can you share a tip about what you do when you get stuck in creating a story?
If I’m still stuck after a week, I call my friend and we have a brainstorming session. It’s a funny thing because after I’ve written down all possible scenarios, when I get home the ideal answer just pops into my head. A sign the little gray cells are still activated, I suppose.
Do you write in a genre other than the one of this release?
Yes, I’ve written a time travel novel and am working on an historical trilogy set in ancient Egypt. I’ve also tackled a few erotica.
What do you hope readers gain from your stories?
I hope readers will enjoy this heart warming story of courage at the holidays, and share a tear or two. Other than that, I hope they find them entertaining.
Devon Alexander intends to hide away this Christmas. Forget the terrible memories of the last holiday. She couldn’t bear to relive the past. Until she finds a Christmas angel looking for a new mommy.
Chase Kennedy’s little daughter has run away from home and he’s frantic with worry. When he gets a call saying his daughter has been found, he goes to collect her and meets the most beautiful woman he’s ever met.
Can little Sara bring a touch of magic to both their lives?
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“I just wanted you to know so you’re sure you’re not releasing Sara into the care of an ogre whose daughter runs away from him every chance she gets.”
She laughed. Such a pretty laugh that went straight to his gut. And his nether regions. Holy cow! It had been a long time since that happened.
“I’d hardly think that, Mr. — Chase.”
Better think about going. “Good. Well, thanks for the coffee, and thanks for taking such good care of Sara. We’d better get out of your hair now. Let you get ready.”
”Get ready for what?”
He looked around the festive-free room. Although it was warm and tastefully furnished, the fact that there was no sign it was Christmas intrigued him. Come to think of it, there were only a couple of what he took to be family photographs on the dresser. “I see no sign of any decorations, so I assumed you’re going away for the holidays.”
“I’m not going anywhere. I’m staying right here, quietly hibernating ‘til it’s all over. I’ve got a pile of good books to keep me busy for days.”
He frowned. Hell’s teeth. Even his single friends had a card or two. “Not a fan of Christmas, huh?”
She shifted her feet. “You could say that.”
This was puzzling. “What do you do, Devon?”
“I’m in advertising.”
He winced playfully. “Ah, that would explain it. You guys have probably been preparing for months so that when the time actually rolls around you’re sick of the sight of it.”
Devon sighed. That wasn’t the reason, but it would suffice. She didn’t want to go into her past to a perfect stranger. Or delve into her guilt.
He got up and walked to the armchair where Sara was soundly sleeping, and bent to kiss her forehead. “Sara. Sweetheart,” he said quietly. “Time we were leaving.”
“Come on, Pumpkin. Time to let Devon have her life back.”
Life? What life?
Sara mumbled and slowly opened her eyes. “Daddy!” Instantly awake, she threw her arms excitedly around his neck and hugged him, a big grin spread across her face.
“Come on, sweetheart. Let’s go and leave Devon in peace.”
In peace. Did she deserve peace? These two had brought a little magic into her life and now she was loath to let it go. She wanted to cling to it. But why? She didn’t even know them.
“But, Daddy. She’s my new mommy.”
If only. She’d have liked kids. A daughter especially. Devon blinked furiously. Her teeth caught her bottom lip and she looked away.
“No, she isn’t, Pumpkin. You must have been dreaming.” He looked up at Devon. “Sorry about that,” he said awkwardly, and rubbed the back of his neck.
Her gaze on Sara, Devon managed to disguise her watery eyes. “No need to apologize. She’s just a little confused.”
“But, Daddy. She needs us.”
He smiled into his daughter’s face. “Really? And why’s that?”
Sara made a bad job of trying to whisper in his ear. “‘Cause she hasn’t got any Christmas.”
“My daughter. The consummate diplomat.” He got down on his knees. “Come on, put your coat on. It’s cold out there.” There was a brief pause while Sara slipped one arm into one sleeve, then the other. He buttoned it up, then glanced at Devon and shook his head. His voice dropped to a whisper to match his little daughter’s. “Maybe she doesn’t want any. Scarf.” He held it out to her and waited while Sara wound it around her neck.
“She can share ours. We’ve got heaps.”
When he answered, amusement sounded in his voice. “She might not want to.”
Devon grabbed up her coffee mug and took a drink. It was cold. She knew he was doing his best to be diplomatic, but best laid plans.
“Not everyone likes Christmas as much as we do,” he said with a patient smile.
“Why?” His inquisitive daughter seemed determined to get the best of the argument.
And the way the two of them were looking into each other’s eyes so earnestly, tugged at her heartstrings. She busied herself tidying the occasional table.
“Well…because…” He looked up suddenly. “Help me out here, Devon.”
“It might be a very sad time for them. Makes them remember sad things.” The words were out before she could stop them. Help. She hadn’t meant to blurt that out. Likewise, neither could she stop a tear escaping.
Chase caught her gesture just as she swiped a tear from her cheek. From the look in his eyes, it was as though he knew she was hiding her anguish. “That’s enough questions for one day. Let’s go.”
He eased to his feet. “Listen to me, sweetheart. Tomorrow is Christmas Eve and Daddy has only one day left to write to Santa so he can bring your present in time. You’re only getting one this year, remember? So be sure you know what you really want.”
A big grin spread across her face. “Devon!”
Chase laughed. “You can’t give people as presents.”
He pulled a face. “Questions. Always unanswerable questions. Because it’s not a very nice thing to do.”
“Just this once, Daddy. Pleeeease.”
Devon swallowed at the closeness of these two. At the little girl’s words, realizing she had a lump in her throat the size of Texas when she saw her eyes gaze pleadingly into her father’s.
Embarrassment was written all over his face when he stood up. “Once again, I can only apologize.”
She hid a brief smile behind her hand. “No apology needed. That was a very generous thing she said. I’m honored.”
“She’s like that. I’m very proud of her. And now, we’d better get out of here before she tries to twist me round her little finger, like always.”
A Touch of Magic is also included in Christmas Tidings, an anthology of four holiday stories by four authors.
Other titles include:
A Viking for Christmas by Cynthia Breeding
Santa’s Own Angel by Annette Louise
The Christmas Shop by Cynthia Owens
Amazon for $1.99