~ INTERVIEW WITH OLIVIA MILES ~
What inspired you to set MISTLETOE ON MAIN STREET at Christmastime and not another holiday?
Christmas romances are my favorite (to read and write!) and I developed the story around the holiday. The holidays are a time of gathering, and it made sense for the heroine, Grace, to drag herself back to Briar Creek at her sister’s insistence to share a family Christmas. As this marks the first Christmas the Madison family spends without the patriarch, emotions are high, and the holiday backdrop underscores the issues each character is facing: Grace is at a crossroads, wondering what her future holds; Luke is reminded of his wife’s death while he wrestles with lingering feelings for Grace; Grace’s mother feels her husband’s absence more than ever; and Jane senses the unraveling of her own marriage as she tries to give her daughter one last magical family Christmas. Despite all the obstacles, Christmas is above all things a time of hope, and the happy endings the characters find is made all the more magical by the spirit of the holidays.
What’s one thing you hope readers will walk away with after reading MOMS?
This is a book about second chances for Grace and Luke as well as Grace’s family bookshop. I’d like to think that readers could find a sense of hope that despite life’s setbacks, there is often some good to be found if you look hard enough.
Did you model Briar Creek after any towns you know of or have lived in?
Briar Creek was inspired by Woodstock, Vermont. I grew up in New England (Connecticut, specifically) and Woodstock was one of the more charming towns that stayed with me long after I moved away. I can still remember seeing it at dusk, with the snow sparkling under the glow of the lampposts. It was so peaceful and quaint and pretty. I wanted to capture that feeling and hold onto it, and by writing this series, I’ve been able to do just that.
From Luke and Grace’s POV, what is their favorite holiday tradition?
Luke and Grace were childhood sweethearts, and their memories run deep. I imagine they still engage in a lot of the holiday activities they enjoyed when they were younger, like sledding or snowball fights. As they’ve grown, moved apart, and come back together, they’ve leaned to appreciate some of the simple things in life, and I can picture them having a quiet ritual like opening one special present on Christmas Eve, or perhaps adding a new ornament to the tree each year.
Do you and your family have a favorite holiday tradition?
I have a five-year-old daughter, and so Christmas is a big deal in our house for pretty much the entire month of December. I’ve gotten caught up in hiding that elf, though on the nights I wake up in a panic at 3am and realize I forgot to move it, I sort of wish we’d gone with something else. 🙂 This year we’re doing a Santa breakfast, and a Polar Express Train, and we’re ice skating with Santa… We try and go all in, because they only believe for so long…We like to play jokes on each other, though, so I have a feeling that the elf will stay with us long after my daughter stops thinking he is real.
What would be the best holiday song(s) that would complement reading MOMS and why?
“I’ll Be Home for Christmas” is the first one to come to mind since Grace is finally coming home, specifically for Christmas. The sound is a bit nostalgic, and I think this fits the quiet, peaceful mood of Briar Creek in some of the earlier scenes in the book. Ultimately, this is a reunion story, and there is only one thing – or person – that can turn Grace’s holiday around, and that is Luke Hastings. “All I Want For Christmas is You” is therefore my top pick.
What can you tell us about your next book?
The second book in the Briar Creek series was a lot of fun to write. As some readers may notice in MISTLETOE, there is quite a bit of tension between Grace’s middle sister, Anna, and Luke’s cousin, Mark. In A MATCH MADE ON MAIN STREET I was able to reveal their past by throwing them together in the one place they have in common: the kitchen. I don’t want to give too much away, but I will say there are plenty of sparks left between these two, and that when the silence they’ve both clung to for years finally breaks, they have a *lot* to say to each other…
Sleigh bells, snow, and second chances . . .
Briar Creek’s quaint shop windows, cozy homes nestled in snow, and neighborly residents are what Christmas dreams are made of–for everyone except Grace Madison. She left her hometown years ago to pursue a writing career. But when her father’s death leaves his bookstore empty, Grace must return to face why she fled Vermont in the first place: Luke Hastings, who still heats her up like a shot of smoky whiskey on a cold winter’s night.
Grace is back, and Luke is worried. How much has she changed as a bestselling author in the big city? What memories will she stir up? And was the choice he made five years ago the biggest mistake of his life?
Now, with their past, present, and future rocking around the Christmas tree, it’s time for Grace and Luke to face the music . . . and the mistletoe.
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