Who Would You Like To Be Snowed In With This Christmas?
Who would you like to be trapped with this Christmas? Our authors tell us why the Snowed In Romance is so perfect and you can vote for your dream lover in this month's PHS Poll!
I’m so excited to be here today at Pink Heart to talk about why I’m partial to snowed-in stories full of romance. Let me count the ways!
I grew up in and currently live in the North East. And while winters could be harsh and long, there was always something magical about that first snowfall. Not to mention, the first major snowstorm of the season. As a child, I would look forward to an unscheduled day off from school. As an adult, I can’t wait to sit down in front of a warm toasty fire with an emotional heart-tugging read. Which, come to think of it, is pretty much how I spent those childhood snow days!
In fact, as I write this there’s a gentle swirl of light flakes outside my window. Just watching that, I realize how much I’m looking forward to the next real snowfall when I can bundle up in front of the fireplace and immerse myself in a completely different world.
Some of my favorite novels are holiday stories, especially those where the characters find themselves secluded in the middle of a major storm with nowhere to go. They’ve been drawn to each other since the first page and now they have no choice but to face it. It’s as if the world outside no longer exists, nothing stirring but wind and snow. How can they not be tempted to finally let their guards down and give in to their attraction?
So, I had to include a scene in my own Christmas story where the hero and heroine are stuck inside in front of a roaring fire while a blustery storm rages outside. Once the power goes out, they get a little too cozy while trying to keep warm. Then the romantic ambience of it all has one thing leading to another!
There’s nothing like a wintry storm to kick up a bit of romance.
And the reason why I love snowed in romances is fairly simple...
Five years ago, Kate Hardy, Aimee Carson, Amy Andrews and I were chatting via email about writing a series of short stories together set at Christmas. We wanted to write stories that were loosely linked by a theme…
First we came up with the idea of setting one story on Christmas Eve, one on Christmas Day, one on New Year’s Eve and one on New Year’s Day… So far so totally awesome, but it was only after Amy A popped in and said I love the song Baby, It’s Cold Outside, let’s make that our tagline – then we discovered how much we all loved the Snowed In theme for a Christmas story.
Because come on? What could be better than being snowed in somewhere – anywhere – with a totally hot guy?
So we invented a massive white out that had engulfed America’s Eastern seaboard and that’s all we needed as a link between the stories. I immediately jumped in and nabbed Christmas Day for my story, because I had visions of combining my two favourite fantasies – being snowed in with a totally hot guy, in a department store on Fifth Avenue. After all, what is a girl to do when she is forced to raid every department of the shop to survive the night by said totally hot guy?
And Tis the Season to Get Lucky was born featuring hunky bad boy photo-journalist Ryder Sinclair and practical, efficient far-too-good girl marketing executive Kate Braithwaite. And if all that isn’t enough to make you love this scenario, I have Ryder to help me with his views on the subject, as he relates them to my heroine during the most exciting night of her life:
“Katherine, we’re stranded in the middle of a major weather event here. Forget appropriate. The only benefit to a situation like this is that appropriate no longer applies.”
I rest my case!
Perhaps it’s got something to do with the place I grew up –and the writers who formed my delight in the alpha hero and powerful romances, but I’ve always been addicted to the wintry setting and snowy backdrop of a couple, trapped in one place by the weather and unable to escape. I grew up in West Yorkshire UK, in a big old house on the side of a steep hill in the Pennines, overlooking a deep valley. Every year when winter came, if the weather turned bad, we would be snowed in at some point, and trapped in the house, looking out on to the whirling whiteness outside. A little further along the valley was Haworth, the home of the Bronte sisters and I could always imagine them snowed into their vicarage home, gathered round the fire, writing, reading or telling stories.
There’s something about that feeling of being enclosed, trapped, unable to escape that sets the imagination racing – and if your companion (imaginary unfortunately) happens to be a tall dark, powerful stranger, someone you can’t escape from – physically or emotionally then the icy setting becomes the perfect example of what Liz Fielding describes as the ‘crucible’- that forces them to deal with the emotions and attractions between them, that throws the hero and heroine together, confined by a place, or a situation from which they cannot walk away. Their crucible; the place where their feelings are put to the test making it grow stronger with every moment that passes. No one else can come into the setting either. So there is no chance to dilute the intensity of that clash of feelings - and the sexual tension it builds with every heartbeat.
I’ve always loved to play with the contrast between the icy coldness of the setting and the heat of desire and passion that is coming to the boil between my hero and heroine. That enforced closeness, the intimate prison of their shelter, the way they have to depend on each other – because there is no one else. And it works so much more powerfully if one of them is ‘out of their depth’ – out of their normal environment – so that they are off balance physically as well as emotionally.
This worked so well in my most recent ‘snowed in’ story – in A Question of Honour – where the sheikh Karim al Khalifa finds himself trapped in a tiny cottage on the Yorkshire moors (there’s my personal memories coming back again!) with Clementina – completely the wrong person for him to be attracted to or even to consider as a woman, because she is promised to someone else and he has been sent to find her and bring her back for her arranged marriage. Add in the darkness of the night, made all the more impenetrable by the fact that the electricity has failed, a roaring log fire . . . I know how successful that scene was because I’ve had so many emails from readers about the erotic effect of a game of snakes and ladders!
My first ever novel – The Chalk Line – was set in winter but it wasn’t until the second title – Game of Hazard – came out that I felt I’d really found my voice, the type of hero I wanted to create – and the sort of intense relationship I wanted to write about. That was the first book of mine to go into paperback, to be published in America so I always see it as the real start of my writing career. Since then there has been Fiancée by Mistake, The Christmas Baby’s Gift and then, of course A Question of Honour. I told you I was addicted to this wintry scenario - it’s so much fun to write!
It’s funny how I love to write and read snowed in romances, but I absolutely hate winter. I know, I’m Canadian, I should be used to it by now, but I don’t like having to walk in knee deep snow or walk on ice. And I hate the bitter, bitter cold.
I prefer autumn, because I’m not too warm and not too cold. It’s just right.
Okay, so I don’t totally hate winter. I like snow when I don’t have anywhere to go. When me and my loved ones can snuggle down, enjoy something hot to drink and watch movies.
I also love snow at Christmas. I have fond memories of snow on Christmas Eve and running outside with my grandmother to make snow angels. Everything was silent. There were no cars on the street. The street lamps gave off this warm, yellow kind of glow and the only sound was our laughter and rush of snow falling heavily from a dark, cloud covered sky.
And of course, I do like romantic notion of really not being able to go anywhere and just snuggle up by a fire with that special someone. So that’s why I really like writing and reading these type of romances. My first real snowed in romance was Craving Her Ex-Army Doc, but it was more of an avalanche than a real snow fall.
My December release, Navy Doc on Her Christmas List may not have a warm crackling fire, but there is something brewing in a packed ER between Ella Lockwood and Zac Davenport, a fiery, unrequited passion that’s been percolating a long time and being snowed in and forced to work together just stokes the fire even more.
Snowed In romances forces the characters together. There really is no escape and they have to face what they might be hiding. It’s just them, together and a really nasty storm (or avalanche in some cases) outside.
So that’s why I loved Snowed In romances. Plus, it’s much nicer to write about them rather than actually wake up and deal with the white stuff that fell over night. In reality, after a whopper of a blizzard, shovelling out afterwards can be a real big pain!
I adore the fantasy of being snowbound with the person you find attractive even though they’re totally unattainable. Whether it be a commoner snowed in with a royal, a fugitive snowed in with law enforcement or a plain-Jane/Joe snowed in with a movie star, the allure increases when their proximity is forced. Sprinkle in some prior conflict and they become each other’s forbidden fruit.
In A Snowbound Cowboy Christmas, my hero—Dylan Slade—despises the heroine. Emma blew into town a few weeks before Christmas trying to take his beloved ranch from him. Despite his financial troubles, he refuses to sell to Emma. Doing so would leave his employees jobless. But ranch or not, the fact she’s carrying another man’s baby destroys any hint of an attraction he may feel for her. He’ll never give his heart to another man’s child. He’d already made that mistake…twice…and he still bears the scars of losing those children. When a snowstorm and medical complication leave Emma snowbound on his ranch, his feelings toward her and her unborn child begin to change, regardless of the deafening warning bells sounding in his brain.
Emma has her own agenda. She needs to convince Dylan to sell his ranch to her commercial acquisitions firm so she can secure a promotion before her baby is born. The Chicago native has no intention of staying in northwestern Montana. When her body and the weather betray her, she’s stuck with Dylan through the holidays. But as impossible and frightening as her situation is, the two are forced to call a temporary truce for the sake of the child.
Dylan and Emma’s presence in each other’s lives not only threatens their own livelihood but the future of those around them. They shouldn’t like each other, let alone fall in love. But when her pregnancy and the snow put Emma’s life on pause, they learn to appreciate the surrounding beauty…including each other. Falling in love means one of them will lose everything they’ve worked so hard for. And if it wasn’t for all the fluffy white stuff falling from the sky, they never would have noticed it.
I find snow absolutely enchanting. The way it covers everything in a cozy white blanket of warmth even though it’s frigid to the touch. Barren trees become glistening sculptures transforming a dreary landscape into an icy fantasyland. Usually, when it snows we ignore mother nature's elegant artistry and focus solely on its inconveniences. When a couple is snowbound in a romance novel, those inconveniences become magical once-in-a-lifetime opportunities turning a traditional romance into a crystalline fairytale.
Why do I love a snowed in romance?
Since I live in Auckland, New Zealand, the idea of being snowed in is quite foreign to me so in many ways, writing about it is like writing about a completely different world. You can make your own rules in a world like that, especially when your hero is as wealthy and well-stocked as Piers Luckman is in The Christmas Baby Bonus. A snowed in romance gives my characters a chance to really explore themselves, especially when it comes to resourcefulness in power out situations and it can teach them what they’re capable of as well as forcing them to face some truths about themselves that they manage to escape on a standard day-to-day basis.
For me, it’s the idea that you can be cocooned in a space where you have no choice but to work things out. For a couple, like Faye and Piers, Faye has to conquer some long held fears about the festive season, while Piers is forced to step up and take responsibility. In The Christmas Baby Bonus, it’s not a matter of survival, per se, because the lodge, while isolated, is well stocked and has an alternate power supply (I’m really not into roughing it and feel that neither should my characters :P), although Faye would tell you it was life and death as far as she was concerned.
For a person who loathes the festive season as much as she does, being stuck in a lodge with a boss who adores all things Christmas is probably her own personal hell, but when she discovers an abandoned baby in the converted stables her discomfort becomes huge because she’s forced to face past trauma and loss; especially, when she’d rather be at home in sunny Santa Monica where she can hide in her perfectly climate-controlled apartment and lose herself in her annual tradition of binge-watching every Predator movie made, followed by every Alien DVD in her collection, followed by any other sci-fi horror flick that is as disassociated from Christmas as it is from reality.
While being snowed in can sometimes come across as clichéd, every story and situation has its differences and its challenges. I guess the forced proximity of a snowed in romance allows me, as the author, to really delve deep into my character motivations and make them face their greatest fears together, thereby bonding them in a way that they might not have done in a less stressful situation. That and log fires, red wine, hot soup and lots of excuses for sharing body warmth? What’s not to love?
Vote who you'd like to spend Christmas snowed in with, and tell us who you think we should have added to the #PinkHeartPoll in the comments.
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