“Then comes Winter with bluster and snow, that brings to our cheeks the ruddy glow…”
~ Gertrude Tooley Buckingham
If you long for a toasty snuggle on a cold winter’s night, this compilation of original short stories inspired by the magic of the holiday season—and more than a nod to Jane Austen—is fancied as a sublime wintertime treat. Featuring short stories by four Meryton Press authors and seven up-and-coming winners of their Holiday Romance contest, Then Comes Winter offers a mix of contemporary and Regency musings.
I’m very happy to welcome one of the contributors, Maureen Lee Lenker, to Skipping Midnight today. After the interview, follow the Rafflecopter link to win a free copy of Then Comes Winter!
Laura: Why did you decide to enter the Holiday Romance contest? What were you hoping to get out of it?
Maureen: Well, I love to write, but often find my time to do so limited, so I really enjoy writing short stories as a way to get some completed ideas out into the world. I figure it’s good practice both writing and working with publishers and editors to work on short stories, so that if I ever do have time to write a novel, I know my way a bit already.
I entered the Holiday Romance contest because I’d already entered the summer anthology contest with Meryton Press and narrowly missed getting selected. I received really helpful, wonderful feedback on my writing, so I thought that I might have a decent shot at getting in and at any rate, I would get more great feedback just like I did last time. I’d been published once before, in a holiday anthology last year entitled “Christmas Nookies,” and I loved that experience so I was eager to try again. I am obsessed with Christmas and with romance, so it feels very natural (and fun!) to write about both of those things at once.
Previously, I’ve only ever been published in e-book form, so I was hoping to get selected for the thrill of being able to see my work in a tangible book. I can’t believe this dream came true! And on top of that, I’ve been able to work with a top-notch editor who really made my work better and had the opportunity to meet more folks in the romance and Austen-esque community who are either other writers in the anthology or supporters of it.
What is your story about?
My story is set in the Regency era. It’s about a young lady, Anne Riley, who eagerly awaits the arrival of her cousins and an accompanying mysterious and charming gentleman, Monsieur de Brun, who has recently fled France. Set against the backdrop of Christmas-time, Anne, her cousins, Monsieur de Brun, and her neighbor, James Turnbull, endeavor to put on a production of “Twelfth Night” for the holidays. Issues of love, friendship, and loyalty arise amidst the flutter of the holidays and rehearsing Shakespeare’s iconic comedy.
What inspired you to write it? How do you find your ideas?
This story was inspired by several things–first, by my own love of Christmas, Christmas trees, and snowy, beautiful British landscapes and gardens. I loved the idea of placing a story in that setting because to me, it is one of the most romantic, idyllic places and times of year. I’m a hopeless romantic and Christmas-time is my absolute favorite time of year, so it’s easy to be inspired by the things I love. Continue reading