Margaret Brownley, welcome to my Christmas series of Writers on Reading. I’ve been looking forward to these interviews like—well, excuse the cliché—but a kid at Christmas! So with your recent Christmas story, The Nutcracker Bride having released in September what is your favorite part about a Christmas-themed story?
Thank you for letting me visit and talk about my favorite time of year. During the hustle-bustle of the Christmas season, I like to relax with a good story that takes me back to more simple times. For that reason I read (and write) historicals. Living in California, the only snow I can enjoy is in books! So let it snow, let it snow, let it snow…
Hah! How fun! What do you look for when selecting a Christmassy novel or novella to cozy up with this month?
It has to be a romance. The true meaning of Christmas must be the driving force that brings the couple together and helps them grow in faith and love. I love stories that lead to change, growth, and new beginnings.
I don’t know about you, but many of us associate this season with traditional baking. I don’t think
Funny you should ask. The heroine in The Nutcracker Bride is a baker. Her German grandmother taught her to cook, so her specialty is German Zimt Makronen Cookies. My story is part of the 12 Brides of Christmas collection and each author provided a recipe to go with the story.
Oooh, talk about books to make your mouth water! That sounds just delicious! Is there an element of these books that you’d feel cheated if it wasn’t there? Or something special you like to add to your Christmas stories?
The story has to have a happy ending, and if that happy ending culminates on Christmas Eve or day, that makes it all the more special. I like to add something of historical significance to all my stories. In The Nutcracker Bride, the heroine’s grandfather is from Germany and makes nutcrackers. I can’t tell you how many readers have written to tell me that after reading my story they went out and purchased a wooden nutcracker. I love that!
Wow, that’s fun. As far back as you remember, what was the first Christmas-related fiction story you read or had read to you? Is there a Christmas book you like to share with your children or grandchildren? Do you have any other special Christmas reading memories?
The old standby has always been The Night Before Christmas. My husband read this
Laughing. That’s very cute. What is on your Christmas fiction to-read list this year? And what is your ideal Christmas reading experience?
Someone just gave me the The Christmas Box by Richard Paul Evans. So that’s next on my reading list.
My ideal Christmas reading experience would be reading a Christmas story in December. Let me explain: I’ve been lucky to work with so many terrific authors on a series of collections including A Pioneer Christmas, A Log Cabin Christmas, and The Twelve Brides of Christmas. The galleys generally come in the late spring or early summer, so I can often be found reading Christmas stories at odd times of the year. (The hardest part is writing a Christmas story in the summer.)
Yes, that must be hard! But it’s awfully fun to picture you reading Christmas stories all year. Over the years, has any Christmas novel or novella really stuck with you that you’d like to share with our readers?
The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry is my favorite Christmas story. After all these years, it still makes me cry. The couple in the story have little money, yet they managed to give each other a gift from the heart.
Special. Thank you for sharing your Christmas reading memories, Margaret. Folks, you can continue to connect with Margaret—and find out more about her books—at the links below.
Margaret is a New York Times bestselling author and past Romance Writers of America RITA finalist with more than 30 novels to her credit. Not bad for someone who flunked 8th grade English. Just don't ask her to diagram a sentence. www.margaret-brownley.com