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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Let's Talk Writing Christmas Books with Cheryl St. John

Thought you might find it interesting as to how someone start with their writing ideas. As Cheryl has written several Christmas themed books, I decided to ask her how she gets started. So here is what she does...

How do you get started?
Sometimes I have a fat binder full of research and notes and story ideas, even for a novella-length project, but for this story I had very few pages of notes, a couple of character photos, pictures of old churches, November and December 1880 calendar pages, a brainstormed list of 25 things that could happen, and my seven page synopsis. That’s it. I didn’t even finish my character grids, which I do for every story. Well, every story except this one.

Every story process is different, and once I learned to go with the creative flow of the development process, I accepted that each story will develop in its own unique way. For Christmas in Red Willow, I started with two lists of character traits and ran with them.












Concentrates deeply











Chloe Hanley lives right next door to the house Owen Reardon helped his mother select. On Sundays she watches her neighbor lady’s children and grandchildren play on the side lawn. Chloe’s only family, her beloved grandfather, the parson, has been gone for years. The church he loved so much is in ruins and the town council, led by Owen’s older brother who is also a former beau of Chloe’s, give Chloe a short deadline in which to fix up the church or it will be torn down.

Chloe asks Owen for his help. Not only has he always been fascinated by her, he has his own reasons for wanting to see the church building saved. It all boils down to a race to the finish line as they work to complete the repairs by Christmas.

Why do you write Christmas stories?
I love writing Christmas stories. My readers expect an emotional feel-good romance from me, and it’s easy to do with a Christmas story.

My favorite part of Christmas, besides getting the family together, is decorating and enjoying the Christmas trees. I love Christmas trees so much that I’ve been running The Annual Great Christmas Tree Tour on my blog for the past five years! It’s become a popular event with readers, writers, and even editors.

How about a short synopsis of your books?

Small town Christmas—Three big proposals!

Christmas in Red Willow by Cheryl St. John

Chloe Hanley must save the town church. But only if she can convince reclusive carpenter Owen Reardon to help repair the broken heart of the community and open his own up again— in time for Christmas!

The Sheriff's Housekeeper Bride by Jenna Kernan

Running from her past and a crime she didn't commit, Eliza Flannery bumps into her future—all rugged six-foot sheriff of him! Single father Trent Foerster mistakes her for his housekeeper, but there's no mistaking his desire for a mistletoe kiss from this mysterious miss….

Wearing the Rancher's Ring by Charlene Sands

Cooper Garnett is shot and left for dead near Double J Ranch when widow Rachel Bodine comes to his aid. Could his unexpected arrival be the best Christmas gift ever— a second-chance family for Rachel and her little son?

Here's the info from her latest book...Stowaway Angel

Charlie McGraw never should have bought the angel book for his precocious daughter. Because then Meredith wouldn't be convinced that getting a new mommy was as simple as having an "angel" sprinkle him with her "miracle dust." And she never would have believed the beautiful blond-haired woman who drove a truck called the "Silver Angel" was some treetop angel come to life.

Starla Richards was no angel. But try telling that to a five-year-old who was so starved for a mother's love that she'd stowed away on Starla's rig. Or convincing herself that miracles just didn't happen to ordinary people when Starla found herself snowbound with a handsome, caring widower and his adorable daughter….

Lastly, here's a link to buying that book


  1. It's always fun to see my covers posted. :-)
    Thanks for the interview!

  2. Thanks for giving us some insight into your writing!

  3. What a great interview! Love the holiday stories and the magical feel. Thank you both for this interview


  4. I love Christmas stories, and yours are always a welcome part of my holiday reading.