If ever asked what my favorite ‘type’ of romance is, without a doubt, my answer would be holiday romances. Maybe that’s because the first romances I read as I journeyed into the genre were holiday romances, but as I get older, I fall more in love with the holiday season and holiday romances have played a huge part in that. I live in South Texas and I remember our first Christmas after moving here. It was 86 degrees outside. Every year after that one hasn’t been much different so I have to put in some effort to get into the holiday spirit, and finding my way into holiday romances have been the biggest help with this.
I discovered author Jenny Hale when I became a fan of Hallmark holiday romances. I was new to the movies and had no idea that a lot of them were based off actual romance novels. Jenny’s name came across the screen as I settled in to watch Coming Home For Christmas one Saturday night and I immediately knew, I needed to get my hands on whatever books she’d authored. This October we will be getting another book to film adaptation of one of Jenny’s novels, Christmas Wishes and Mistletoe Kisses and I for one, can’t wait. So, I was very happy and grateful when she agreed to do a Q&A with me. Without further ado friends, here is my Q&A with Jenny Hale!
Bree: Jenny, thank you so much for agreeing to chat with me. I am so excited. My first and favorite question to ask is about you as a reader. How did you come to reading romance and do you remember any of the first romance titles you read?
Jenny Hale: I’ve always preferred happy endings, so romance is a good fit for me. As a young girl, I was a Sweet Valley High reader, but as for straight romance, my very first one was Five Days in Paris by Danielle Steel. I still have a copy of it.
Bree: Shout out to the friend of yours who sowed the seed, which led to you writing your first novel! We now have an amazing backlist of some of the best summer romances I’ve read and Must-Read holiday romances! Your first novel was Coming Home For Christmas. When the idea for the novel came to you, did it come already set during the holidays, or did that idea come to you later as you continued developing the story?
Jenny Hale: Thank you! As I wrote Coming Home for Christmas, the story unfolded at Christmas, but that wasn’t the focus for me in early drafts. Once it was contracted, in editing, I upped the Christmas flair, and it became a Christmas novel.
Bree: Seeing Coming Home For Christmas on the Hallmark channel was my introduction to you. I, like so many women around the world, am a faithful Hallmark holiday romance movie watcher and those movies are honestly what encouraged me to pick up my first romance novel just a few days shy of my 30th birthday. I watched the film and loved it so much. I then ordered the book, devoured it and have been a huge fan ever since. I think it’s amazing that your first novel has been adapted into a film. Do you remember how that whole process happened? How it felt to know this huge network wanted to adapt not only a book of yours, but your first book?
Jenny Hale: As every author probably does, starting out, when you have that first book that you just don’t know if people will like, and you’re putting it out there, you don’t feel quite like an author just yet. I’d only written a few books at that point, and I remember thinking, when Hallmark came on board, “My book? *wrinkles nose in confusion* You want mine?” With every success that comes along, I get more comfortable in the role of “author,” but Hallmark was one of those successes that propelled me forward, for sure.
Bree: Congratulations on now having Christmas Wishes and Mistletoe Kisses coming out this year! I saw a sneak peek and I am so excited. Jill Wagner is amazing, the house the film is set in is absolutely stunning and I am counting down the days until its release. With your books being adapted into film, what’s most important to you in that process? Do you get to be part of the process in any way?
Jenny Hale: I’m not territorial at all in terms of process, because TV is an entirely different medium, so I actually enjoy seeing the experts work their magic. I delight in learning of the changes they make to fit their own audience. It’s a creative process as much as writing the book is, so for me, the expression of that creativity is the fun part. As for my involvement in the process, production companies all work differently, and each one is unique in what they share with the author. Sometimes I have conversations with the script writer about the screenplay, sometimes the actors read the books, sometimes I get to see the final script—it all just depends.
Bree: I really enjoy the beautiful, get-outside-inspiring photos you post on Instagram, especially because they are throughout Tennessee, which is such a beautiful state, with so much history. Have any of the locations you’ve posted or adventured to, been an inspiration for your writing? What has been the most random place a story idea has come to you?
Jenny Hale: Glad you like them! And oh yes, so many of them have been an inspiration for my writing. The town of Leiper’s Fork is a big one—that town was the setting for my novel It Started With Christmas. Story ideas always seem to come to me randomly. The shower is a big one. I’ll be chanting lines the whole time so I don’t forget them by the time I finally get to my desk. I could be at a baseball game, an ice cream shop… Anywhere, really.
Bree: What does a typical day of writing look like for you, and what is a must have in your writing space when you sit down to work?
Jenny Hale: With my primary publisher in London, I wake up around noon their time, so I usually make a cup of coffee and dive in to my emails first thing. Then, after I take the kids to school, I will try to write 1,000-1,500 words a day. (If I’m editing, it’s 4,000 words a day.) Once the writing is done, I will work on social media, interviews, business paperwork, website odds and ends, reading professional books and review copies, etc. My workday usually ends when the kids get home from school, but once they go to bed, I’ll sometimes get a few more words on my work-in-progress. Must haves: coffee. Lots of coffee. And water. Also, weirdly enough, while I can write pretty much anywhere, if I’m in a busy place, outside of my home, I can write like the wind. You know those people who have to sleep with some sort of noise like a fan? Being around people has that same calming effect for me and I can really focus.
Bree: What is the last book that you couldn’t put down and want more people to read?
Jenny Hale: Starry Night by Debbie Macomber and the last non-romantic one that really got me was The Path Made Clear by Oprah Winfrey. I devoured it. If I were to quote all the things in that book that I found meaningful to me, I’d be in violation of copyright.
Bree: What is one misconception about romance you’d like to put to rest?
Jenny Hale: I think sometimes because it can be a “light read,” it seems like romance is easy to write, but it’s a very careful dance between making it magical while also creating scenes and characters that feel real and relatable.
Bree: Okay, 3 very random rapid-fire questions: What is the last song you couldn’t get out of your head?
Jenny Hale: “The Feels” by Maren Morris
Bree: What is a movie you will never get tired of watching?
Jenny Hale: Good Will Hunting
Bree: Who is an author you would completely fangirl over if you had the chance to meet?
Jenny Hale: Debbie Macomber
Bree: Lastly, I know you’re a mom to two boys. My youngest two are boys and they keep me very busy. What do you do for yourself when you have some alone Mom time?
Jenny Hale: I get a nice long mani-pedi, and I love shopping at those little boutiques that sell all the natural soaps and lotions… I could spend hours in those. Then I head to a bookstore.
Okay, before signing off here, I totally recommend Starry Night by Debbie Macomber. Carrie and Finn’s romance is a must read!
The holidays will be here before we know it. Do yourself a favor and grab one of Jenny’s titles. They are deeply romantic and she has such a special way of writing in the perfect cozy, holiday vibes I need. And be on the lookout for the release of Christmas Wishes and Mistletoe Kisses which is scheduled to premiere on October 26th. I know where I’ll be. On the couch, glass of wine in hand rooting for Jenny as another gem of hers is brought to life.
About the Author:
enny Hale is a USA Today bestselling author of romantic contemporary fiction. Her novels Coming Home for Christmas and Christmas Wishes and Mistletoe Kisses are Hallmark Channel original movies. Her stories are chock-full of feel-good romance and overflowing with warm settings, great friends, and family.
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Christmas Wishes and Mistletoe Kisses by Jenny Hale, out now!
An uplifting, beautiful story about never letting go of your dreams, the special magic of a family Christmas… and the rush of falling in love under the mistletoe.
Single mother Abbey Fuller loves her family more than anything, and doesn’t regret for a moment having had to put her dreams of being an interior designer on hold. But with her son, Max, growing up, when a friend recommends her for a small design job she jumps at the chance. How hard can it be?
Nick Sinclair needs his house decorated in time for his family’s festive visit – and money is no object. What he doesn’t need is to be distracted from his multi-million dollar business – even if it is Christmas.
When Abbey pulls up to the huge Sinclair mansion, she has a feeling she might be out of her depth. And when she meets the gorgeous, brooding Nicholas Sinclair, she knows that she’s in real trouble…
With the snow falling all around, can Abbey take the chance to make her dreams of being a designer come true? And can she help Nick to finally enjoy the magic of Christmas?