Saturday, December 1, 2018

Christmas on My Heart: A Picture Perfect Christmas by Candee Fick

What Inspired Me to Write A Picture Perfect Christmas
A personal essay by Candee Fick

I recently took my first plunge into independent publishing as a novelist with the release of A Picture Perfect Christmas, the fourth book in The Wardrobe series. It seems like such a simple thing, but it wasn't. Here's the rest of the story...

Focus On Love, the second book in the series, released in February and reached well over 100 reviews within the first week. However, one common theme in many of those reviews—in addition to direct emails and responses on social media—was that readers couldn't wait to read what happened next in order to find out if and how Liz reunited with her parents.

For the first time, many readers were left disappointed by one of my stories. Ouch.

But in writing Focus On Love, my intention had been to contrast religion's list of rules with a true relationship based on love and I'd used the "villain" of my heroine's father to underscore that conflict. I'd tried to drop enough breadcrumbs to leave open the possibility of a future reconciliation but still kept the immediate focus of the story on Liz's internal journey to find security in God even when life didn't turn out like she'd hoped. A few readers appreciated that message...but most wanted more.

Even worse? I'd already written Book 3 of the series (Sing a New Song featuring a secondary character, Gloria) and there wasn't a natural way to weave an additional storyline into that plot without it feeling forced or obviously tacked-on. So, if I was to give readers what they wanted, they'd have to wait for Book 4 and who knew when that book would get published.

But speaking of waiting, since the first books of the series are with a small press, readers already had to wait for over a year between books. Which was long enough for readers to lose interest in the overall storyline and even forget about me in the process. Trying to maintain marketing momentum over those gaps was difficult at best and didn't bode well for building a career as an author.

Disappointed readers and a long publication gap had me praying for a solution. Then, along came inspiration in the form of a writing group chat about Christmas stories and how they should include seasonal elements, love, a Scrooge character, and a miracle.

Hmm. I already had a Scrooge character in the form of Liz's dad... And my lovebirds would need a miracle to get him to their wedding... And I'd had my own fairytale Christmas wedding to inspire the descriptions. What if I wrote a Christmas story to wrap up all those loose ends and what if I published it this year to plug that gap before Book 3 released next May?

However, just because I had a great idea, didn't mean the logistics would work. One of the first things I did was sketch out a production schedule with personal deadlines to meet. But I also needed to check with my publisher to make sure they were open to the idea of me publishing a book that would cross-promote with the titles I had under contract with them. I also wanted their input on how to number the series. Why? Because chronologically in story world time, next May's release was Book 3 and A Picture Perfect Christmas would occur almost six months later...making it Book 4 even though it would be out before Sing a New Song was even up for pre-order.

Thankfully, my publisher was more than happy with my idea and with their green light approval, I dove into the whole process of seeing a new book from the nugget of an idea to publication in under six months.

What inspired me to write this story? One part was readers asking for more. One part was overall marketing frustrations. And a whole bunch of God-inspiration that led me to find the solution with enough time on the calendar to get it done right.

And the result is A Picture Perfect Christmas.

Book Blurb for A Picture Perfect Christmas:

From disowned to daughter to “I do?"

Freelance photographers Liz Foster and Ryan Callahan are finally making plans for their future. And what better time to get married than during the festive holiday season that brought them together? If only Liz’s parents weren’t standing in the way of a picture-perfect wedding.

Spurred on by the ghosts of Christmases past, Dan Foster has already written Liz out of his will, so even attending the wedding—let alone walking his daughter down the aisle—is out of the question. However, this is the season for miracles and Ryan will do anything to make his bride smile. 

What will it take to bring this family back together in time for the wedding?

If you like Christmas weddings, family reunions, and happily-ever-afters, then you’ll love this next chapter in The Wardrobe series by Candee Fick.

Author Bio:
Candee Fick is a romance editor for a small Christian press and a multi-published award-winning author. 

She is the wife of a high school football coach and the mother of three children, including a daughter with a rare genetic syndrome. 

When not busy editing or writing, she can be found cheering on the home team at sporting events, exploring the great Colorado outdoors, indulging in dark chocolate, and savoring happily-ever-after endings through a good book.

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1 comment:

  1. What a great story-behind-the-story, Candee! I've read several of your books and enjoyed them all and I'm excited to read this one. Who doesn't love a Christmas wedding? Thanks for being here!


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