Late winter/early spring is a treasure trove of holiday possibilities. We’ve just come off of the Valentine’s Day rush…a mecca for holiday romances. Tomorrow is St. Patrick’s Day. Not normally known for it’s themed romances, there are still possibilities if you allow your imagination to channel some of the more romantic Irish writers. Then, of course, we’re coming up on a few family-oriented/faith-based holidays. Again, not known for their over-abundance of romances, they can still fuel the imagination. Not every romance needs to be centered around the big three: Valentine’s Day, Halloween and Christmas/New Years.
What does the reader find entertaining in a holiday romance? I asked a few non-writer readers why they were drawn to the holiday romance and here are a few of their comments:
- “I love stories set around the winter holidays (Thanksgiving, Christmas) because, for the time it takes me to read the story, I can escape from the craziness of the season.”
- “I’m a sucker for holiday stories, particularly Valentine’s Day. I always enjoy a happily-ever-after, however the holiday stories are usually light without all the drama of a non-holiday story. It’s nice to just read about the romance without a lot of sub-plot.”
- “What’s not to like? You know you’re going to get your happy ending and if there’s some holiday cheer thrown in for good measure, that’s a plus.”
What does the author get out of writing a holiday-themed romance? Again, I asked around, and here’s what I found out:
- “Your main trope is already there. You have a starting/focal point for your story.”
- “Traditions for the holiday give you sub-plots, especially those involving families.”
- “There’s usually less research, less angst to worry about.”
- “A group of holiday-themed romances scream ‘box set’.”
Personally, I’ve published a few holiday-themed romances and I can attest to a couple of benefits, particularly the built-in trope. Of course any romance worth it’s salt has at least three tropes, so it’s not ready-made. There’s also the family factor. If you love writing stories with children, or over-bearing mothers, or lost loves, the holiday romance lends itself to these supporting characters.
Most publishers put out specific submission calls for their holiday-themed campaigns and the lead time varies depending on the holiday itself. The writer should be prepared to write about holiday trees in June, skeletons in December, and roses and candy in May. Writing a snowball fight in mid-summer does tend to cool things off a bit!
If, as a writer, you’ve never tried creating a holiday romance, you should give it a whirl just once. While they don’t write themselves, they do tend to flow more smoothly than a non-holiday story. They’re also a great place to conjure up old family memories.
As a reader, if you’ve never read a holiday-themed romance, you should give them a quick peek. Some are nostalgic, but most are pure escapist fun.
Until next time, writers keep writing and readers keep reading…you are why we do what we do! And, everyone, stay happy, stay healthy, stay well read.