Where do Christmas stories come from? Barbara Ankrum explains!

I’m often asked, as a writer, where my stories come from. That’s always a hard question for me, because usually, I honestly don’t know. Sometimes they pop into my head from a scene and sometimes from something that happens to me in real life. Sometimes, I just have no idea.

My newest Christmas book for Tule, A LITTLE CHRISTMAS MAGIC, on the other hand, was not really a mystery to me. I knew the heroine, Holly McGuire. And I knew what she wanted. A child.

That goal was a familiar one to me. I have two of my own and three grandchildren now, but I remember feeling as Holly did that children would be an essential part of my life. And if I couldn’t have them for some reason, I had no idea who I would be. But I know I was lucky. Having children is not easy for everyone and I knew many of my readers would relate to her. And what better time than Christmas to think about the gift of children? So that’s where the story began.

But where it went surprised even me.

Holly and Trey were a perfect match because I knew Trey, the enigmatic P.I. from my Canadays of Montana series, had a secret and that secret was his love for his best friend’s wife. Now that she was a widow, there was only one thing that stood in the way of making her his at last: Holly. She had vowed never to fall in love with another military/ex-military man like her husband. Then again, she had her own secret about Trey, as well. That’s sort of how the story came to me. Just like that.

But I will share with you a story that inspired a crucial scene in this book so maybe you’ll understand better when you read it.

My own mother died many years ago, just after my own two children were born, and way too soon. I’ve missed her every Christmas (which she loved to celebrate) and every day, really, since I lost her, but especially when big things happen that I want to share with her. Weddings, college graduations, book sales…

It happened that an old high school friend of mine contacted me a few years ago and told me he had been having dreams about my mother and father, whom he had known. I know this sounds very woo-woo, but he wanted to let me know my mom had some messages for me. As we were talking, I lamented to my friend how sorry I was that she had never met my grandkids and that she would have loved them. He said, “You should know that she told me she kissed all of your grandchildren into the world.”


Now, whether you believe in such things or not, isn’t really important. I don’t mind if you don’t. But the very idea of it gave me so much comfort I chose to believe it and remember that for years. And because Christmas is such a magical time, I knew I had to include this little memory into my story. It’s quite personal. But I share it with you because I felt like it was a gift that might just find its’s way to the right person who might need a little comfort at Christmastime.

Holly and my hero, Trey are two of my favorites, and I hope you’ll enjoy their second chance love story. And if you recall the days when we believed almost anything was possible at Christmas, then maybe A LITTLE CHRISTMAS MAGIC will give you goosies, too. And maybe a smile. Happy Reading!

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