I recently took part in a discussion about Christmas books where some readers thought they shouldn’t be read before December as it isn’t Christmas season. I don’t agree – I don’t avoid settings in a country because I haven’t visited them, books with murders because I’m not a murderer or books with male protagonists because I’m not a man so why would I avoid reading books about Christmas simply because it isn’t the season? As Maxine Morrey’s latest novel is The Christmas Project, I invited Maxine onto Linda’s Book Bag to tell me her opinions of reading out of season and you can see what she thinks below.
The Christmas Project was published on 14th November 2016 and is available for purchase in e-book here.
The Christmas Project
Christmas in the city has never been more magical!
Professional organiser Kate Stone has never – NEVER – been tempted to hit a client over the head with a snow shovel, but Michael O’Farrell is the most obnoxious – and heart-stoppingly gorgeous – man she has ever met. If he weren’t her best friend’s brother, she would not have waited on his doorstep in the freezing cold for five minutes, let alone an hour.
Kate knows, however, that her job isn’t just about tidying up, sometimes she needs to be part therapist too, and Michael clearly needs her help to declutter his heart as well as his home.
But with the festive season just around the corner there isn’t much time to get Michael’s house ready for the O’Farrell family celebrations, but everyone knows that at Christmas anything can happen…
Out of Season
A Guest Post by Maxine Morrey
Like it or not, Christmas is coming, and with it a whole host of books that feature the festive season. Christmas in publishing tends to start making itself known around September and this seems to cause a mix of reactions; on one side of the fence there are those who literally cannot wait to dive into the literary equivalent of the biggest tub of Cadbury’s Roses you ever did see, and on the other are the readers who can’t even entertain the idea of reading a ‘Christmas’ book outside a certain time period, say – the month of December.
Both of these views are, of course, absolutely valid. Reading is a pursuit that is supposed to bring joy and relaxation and there are no rules. It’s totally up to you – that’s the great thing about it. But, as both my books with Carina/HQ have been set around Christmas, I’ve been asked to put forward the case for reading festive fiction at any time.
When it comes to it, the main reason we read a book is for the story. We want to be pulled in and connect with the characters, feel what they’re feeling, and see – in our mind’s eye – what they’re seeing, even if it is a fully bedecked Christmas tree whilst we’re sat in the garden on a warm summer’s eve.
What’s good to remember is that, for many books that fall into this category, Christmas itself might literally only be a few pages so it’s not like you’re always being hit over the head with roast turkey and all the trimmings. It’s just a backdrop. A wintery backdrop, I grant you. But it’s the people in front of that backdrop that we get wrapped up in – pun fully intended – not the decoration.
Having said that, there are some books that are full on glitter cannons of Christmassy goodness and if you are someone who’s currently reluctant to step into the festive world before the first of December, these could at first glance, seem a little overwhelming when you’re just making your first tentative steps into this new and exciting reading way of life. And if that’s the case, do not worry! Just build up to these and surround yourself with their loveliness once you’ve got the tree up and are closer to full Christmas immersion. Alternatively, you could do the equivalent of cannonballing into a freezing cold swimming pool and just launch yourself in with one of these from the start!
The fact is, we don’t tend to avoid ‘summer’ books in the winter, or books set in a country other than the one we’re reading it in, and we still enjoy them. It’s also a fact that there are a whole bunch of wonderful ‘Christmas’ books published every year and it’s pretty much impossible to devour as many as one would like to if the reading period is a relatively short one, not to mention that it’s a period that often has plenty of other time demands upon it.
So this year, be brave and dive in early! You won’t regret it!
About Maxine Morrey
Maxine has wanted to be a writer for as long as she can remember and wrote her first (very short) book for school when she was ten. Coming in first, she won a handful of book tokens – perfect for a bookworm!
As years went by, she continued to write, but ‘normal’ work often got in the way. She has written articles on a variety of subjects, as well as a book on Brighton for a Local History publisher. However, novels are what she loves writing the most. After self publishing her first novel when a contract fell through, thanks to the recession, she continued to look for opportunities.
In August 2015, she won Harper Collins/Carina UK’s ‘Write Christmas’ competition with her romantic comedy, Winter’s Fairytale.
Maxine lives on the south coast of England, and when not wrangling with words, can be found tackling her To Be Read pile, sewing, listening to podcasts, and walking.