Writing is often a lonely business. Even if you’re sitting with your laptop in the middle of a busy cafe, as many do, the process of getting your thoughts onto the page is definitely a one-person job. Even if you’re co-writing a book, collaborating with another writer as you go, you still spend hours alone with your characters and your keyboard. I knew all that. What I hadn’t realised until recently is that writing can be a seasonal business too – and I’m not quite on top of that part yet.
Take my novella series, set in the fictional Lakeside Hotel here in N.E. Switzerland. I wrote A Lake… and A Spa in Switzerland without really taking the time of year into consideration. Originally, I’d planned on doing two only, so when A Spa… brought a happy end to all, I was happy too. Then I thought, well, another would make a trilogy… and it would be nice to see how the Lakeside Hotel got started. So Trouble in Switzerland arrived, set in a lovely hot summer. I wrote it in late winter and spring, thinking fond thoughts of the better weather hopefully approaching.
Then the rot set in. ‘You can’t write a series like that and not have a Christmas book,’ everyone said. True… So, in early summer this year, I started to write Christmas in Switzerland. And we all know what summer was like. There I was, sweltering in my office room with all the windows open, wearing the minimum amount of clothes, iced tea to hand – writing about Christmas parties, mulled wine, snowman competitions… At one point I went out to get the post (we have outside boxes here in Switzerland) and thought, ‘Golly, it’s warm for the time of year.’ – and then remembered that real life was in July, not December.
Christmas in Switzerland will be out soon with the fabulous Fabrian Books. And summer is over, the hottest for decades. Now, we’ve dug out those fleeces, warm socks are on the horizon, and it won’t be long before gloves and woolly hats are fished out of the bottom drawer. And I’ve started another novella. My characters are bopping around in shorts and flipflops, planning a lovely sunshiny June. I’m doing something wrong here.
It isn’t really beginning to feel a lot like Christmas – yet. Seeing Christmassy pics in September seems like a bit too much of a good thing to me, but I’ll annoy you with this one, anyway. It’s the cover art for Christmas in Switzerland. Isn’t it lovely? James at Go On Write has done us proud!
And if anyone hasn’t read the novellas yet, A Lake in Switzerland is *Free* today (Sunday) only. Grab it while it’s hot. We’ll finish off with a non-Christmassy photo of the real lake in Switzerland – Lake Constance, glinting through the trees here as I type.