Award-winning author Fiona Harper chats to Single Titles about her mainstream debut Kiss Me Under the Mistletoe
Kiss Me Under the Mistletoe was born when two important elements of the story tangled themselves together in my head.
The first element was a character idea: I was intrigued by the idea of a WAG (short for Wives And Girlfriends), who got all of her identity and affirmation from being with a successful man. What would happen to that woman if she was suddenly alone again? Who would she be now the man she’d defined herself by was out of her life? I also liked the idea of having a rich heroine and an ordinary hero, because in romance novels it’s often the other way around.
The second element was the location. When I was a teenager my father owned a boat that he moored near Dittisham, up the River Dart, in Devon. If we ever took the boat out to sea, or went down river, just for a few seconds we’d catch a glimpse of a marvellous old white mansion on the hill, half hidden by trees. I used to wonder who lived there and what it was like inside. Years later I was very excited to discover the name of the house was Greenway and had once been owned by the famous crime writer Agatha Christie. And there, the idea for the story of a haunting old house on the riverside, once lived in by a famous woman, was born – although in my version, the former owner was a movie star and not a writer.
It was when I put Louise, my ex-WAG heroine, and the crumbling, lonely old mansion together that the story really seemed to come together.
This story was originally released as Christmas Wishes, Mistletoe Kisses back in 2008. However, earlier on this year my editor asked me if I would like to do a longer version for a Christmas 2012 release. (I think of it as the 12” to the 7”, showing my age!) I immediately jumped at the chance. The book had been well over the word count anyway, and I’d had an idea for a sub-plot that there was no way to squeeze in. Now I had the chance to write the book the way I’d always wanted to! It was like a dream come true. I loved going back and revisiting a pair of my favourite characters, and adding extra layers to the story and I hope you enjoy my millionaires meets the gardener story too!
Fiona Harper’s Kiss Me Under the Mistletoe is on sale now from all good bookshops and online retailers. If you want to find out more about Fiona and her books, visit her website at http://www.fionaharper.com