posted on November 9, 2016 by Barbara White Daille

Senses and Settings in a Holiday Story

swmw_500Whether you’re a reader or writer, I’m going to guess you enjoy getting comfortable in a story’s setting. I do, too. When I first came up with the idea for my new series, Snowflake Valley, I never realized how much fun writing it would be. The series kicks off with stories about the three oldest sisters in the Barnett family. Their hometown of Snowflake Valley, Nevada, caters to tourists and celebrates Christmas 365 days a year—and how much fun was that for the characters and for me!

Having books set during Christmas, New Year’s, and Valentine’s Day provides so much to work with as far as the elements of setting and ways to evoke the senses.

To really put me into whichever story I was writing, I would walk into my office every morning, sit down at the computer, and immerse myself in one of those holidays. Most days, I would play Christmas carols in the background with the volume turned up just enough to keep me in a holiday mood. And of course—as I’m sure you already know—the songs would play in my head even after I powered down the computer.

For both the Christmas and New Year’s books, my desk would be covered with visuals—holiday cards and photos and small ornaments pulled from the boxes that hold our Christmas stash. The sense of scent came from lighted candles placed around the room (and not set anywhere near the cards, of course). Cinnamon-sugar or holly were my favorite candles. Sometimes, I’d bake a batch or three of cookies. Either way, our entire house would be filled with both the sounds and the scents of the holiday season.

When it came to the Valentine’s story, my collection of cards from my husband gave me lots of inspiration. But there was much more. As anyone who knows me will tell you, I LOVE chocolate. Enough said on which of the five senses I overdosed on with that   book, right? 😉

That brings me back full circle to book one of the series, Snowbound with Mr. Wrong. The heroine, Lyssa, manages Snowflake Valley’s holiday gift shop. The shop, like the entire town, is filled with Christmas goodies all year long. The story opens with Lyssa thinking to herself: The elf suit definitely hadn’t felt this tight a year ago.

Okay, I’ll be honest. Once I really got into working on these stories, my clothes started getting a little tighter, too. 🙂  But that’s fine with me, because I had the pleasure of evoking many senses and recalling many holiday memories. And now I’ve written the books, I have the pleasure of sharing them with you. I hope they bring you the same pleasure they brought me!

Feel free to leave a question or comment or to share a favorite holiday memory of your own below.

Snowbound with Mr. Wrong
by Barbara White Daille

Worst. Day. Ever. After Lyssa Barnett’s sister tricks her into reprising her role at Snowflake Valley’s annual children’s party, she doesn’t think anything can be worse than squeezing into her too-small elf costume. Then tall, dark, and way too handsome Nick Tavlock shows up to play Santa…and an unexpected storm leaves them snowbound in the isolated lodge.

The last thing Nick wants is to spend a cozy Christmas Eve with a trio of kids and the woman who dumped him. But as much as Lyssa frustrates him, he can’t stop thinking about her. And soon, he’s fighting very un-Santa-like thoughts of kissing a certain sexy Miss Elf under the mistletoe. As Nick starts to fall for Lyssa all over again, he knows it will take nothing short of a miracle to have Lyssa in his arms on Christmas Day.

Barbara White Daille

Barbara White Daille

Barbara White Daille is an award-winning author whose short contemporary romances have received Top Picks and glowing reviews from both print and online publications. Her writing has been compared to that of authors such as Deborah Smith and Catherine Anderson, among others. Her books focus on small-town settings, where the heroes and heroines' lives are filled with family and friends, lots of nosy neighbors, and often a matchmaker---or three. Barbara has been a writer since before she could spell all the words needed to tell her stories. She "self-published" her first short story in fourth grade and wrote her first novel (a mystery with a romance included!) in eighth grade. Writing is Barbara's passion, and reading is her favorite pastime. She hopes her stories bring readers just as much pleasure and that her books find homes on those readers' keeper shelves. She and her husband live in the hot and sunny Southwest, where they don't mind the lizards in the front yard but could do without the scorpions in the bathroom.

One thought on “Senses and Settings in a Holiday Story”

  1. Thanks for sharing the post today.

    Readers, as I say above, feel free to join in….

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