When people said I’d gone down the Christmas rabbit hole after writing Netflix’s first original Christmas movie, A Christmas Prince, they weren’t wrong. After A Christmas Prince quickly became one of the Netflix’s most watched movies ever, I went on to write four more holiday movies and four Christmas romance novels in two years. This earned me my nickname in the press “Christmas Karen.”
My latest novel, Christmas Ever After, is a Mamma Mia meets The Bachelorette style love story where romance author Riley Reynolds is caught off guard during a live TV interview when she’s asked how she can write about romance when she still hasn’t found “the one” herself. Scrambling for an answer, Riley quickly says she had a great love in her past that inspired her novels. Little does she know that this one offhanded remark will turn her world upside down. Three of her ex-boyfriends see the interview, and each, believing she’s talking about him, shows up for her Christmas Camp book event, determined to rewrite his happily-ever-after with her!
Christmas Ever After, debuting September 29, 2020, is a story that’s close to my heart. But this novel almost didn’t happen.
For this latest novel, Christmas Ever After, I had offers from some of the top publishing companies in the world for multi-book deals. Hollywood was also calling about the potential movie. Then COVID-19 turned all of our worlds upside down.
I was abruptly faced with making the biggest decision in my publishing career. Everyone who was offering to publish Christmas Ever After now wanted to wait and publish it in 2021, instead of this year, like originally planned.
It made perfect business sense. We were in the middle of a global pandemic, bookstores weren’t open, and even getting books to people in the mail was proving challenging.
But deep down, it didn’t feel right to me. I had made a commitment to my readers that I would have Christmas Ever After out this year. With the pandemic, I was hearing from so many people who were telling me how much they were counting on my next Christmas book and movies to come out to help lift their spirits and bring some much-needed hope and joy.
I had to listen to my heart and that meant I had to pivot and pivot fast.
When I worked as a TV correspondent, I was embedded with combat troops in Bosnia and Afghanistan. The time I spent in war zones taught me to always think three steps ahead and to be ready for anything. I learned I am not a person that freezes with fear. I’m the opposite. I use fear to fuel me forward.
So, while I thought I knew the publishing path I was on to make sure Christmas Ever After came out this year, I took on the unimaginably daunting task of starting my own publishing company, HawkTale Publishing, in the middle of a pandemic, while self-isolating and also battling a life-threatening family health issue, and on deadline to finish my next Christmas movie.
People thought I was nuts. I already had my movie production company and my Travel Therapy TV company, and we were all battling COVID 19. What was I thinking?
I was thinking that this was something I had to do even if I didn’t know much about the publishing world. I knew I was a fast learner and an excellent researcher. This is how I taught myself to write novels and movies, so why couldn’t I teach myself how to be a publisher…in three months?
Okay, so now that I’m writing this, I see why some people thought I was crazy. I’m not going to lie, this has been a struggle every single day. Like so many people, I’m trying to adjust to this new normal none of us asked for or wanted.
A lot of folks also warned me that now that I wasn’t with a big publishing company, I’d never get my books reviewed. I grateful to say that hasn’t been the case, and Christmas Ever After was selected for a review by Publishers Weekly, a huge honor!
“A wonderfully festive setting…The cast is charming and the atmosphere’s enchanting.” —Publishers Weekly
What also helps empower me is the belief that I can give back with Christmas Ever After. The book will come out this year for readers. I also plan to donate a percentage of the proceeds from each book sold to help struggling libraries and independent bookstores.
I was inspired to give back to libraries because they’ve always been so important to my family. My 103-year-old grandma Patricia Crane, read a library book every day and spent years volunteering as a book binder at her local library.
For my debut novel, Christmas Camp, and next novel Finding Christmas, one of the true highlights was when I learned that libraries had selected both novels for a hardcover special edition, and now libraries across the countries are sharing my stories with readers. To honor and carry on this tradition, Christmas Ever After is also coming out in a hardcover special edition for libraries.
Christmas Ever After is about the choices we make in love and in life to find where we’re truly meant to be. As I continue my journey, trying to live up to the legacy of being ‘Christmas Karen,’ I hope my story can help inspire others to go after their dreams and find ways to give back, because right now we all need each other more than ever.
To my readers and movie viewers. I send a heartfelt thank you because I couldn’t have made this journey without you. I want every single person who wrote and reached out, asking for this story, to know you were heard and that you made a difference at a very critical crossroads in my life. Christmas Ever After is for you. Thank you for helping me pay it forward for the libraries and independent bookstores we love so much.
If you’re looking for inspiration to write your first or next book or movie, I’ve also just launched a new show called Christmas Karen: Behind the Story where I interview the writers, directors, actors and producers, who make the beloved Christmas movies and write the novels that are adapted into movies. During the show we give you an exclusive sneak peek into the world of Christmas movie making and continue to give back as my guests share their personal stories, tips and advice to help uplift us all!
About the Author:
Karen Schaler is a three-time Emmy Award–winning storyteller, screenwriter, author, journalist, and national TV host. Karen has written original Christmas movies for Netflix, Hallmark, and Lifetime, including the Netflix sensation A Christmas Prince, Hallmark’s Christmas Camp and four books, Christmas Ever After, Finding Christmas, Christmas Camp, and Christmas Camp Wedding, earning her the nickname “Christmas Karen” in the press. Karen has also created a real-life Christmas Camp experience for grown-ups, and a new show Christmas Karen: Behind the Story. For special book giveaways, discounts, and behind-the-scenes sneak peeks sign up for Karen’s newsletter at www.karenschaler.com
Connect with Karen:
Facebook: www.facebook.com/karenschalerofficial | @karenschalerofficial
Twitter www.twitter.com/karenschaler | @karenschaler
Instagram: www.instagram.com/traveltherapy | @traveltherapy
Christmas Ever After | https://amzn.to/38xb7cE
Christmas Camp | https://amzn.to/2IZ6Kf8
Finding Christmas | https://amzn.to/2UcR9fv
Christmas Camp Wedding | https://amzn.to/2UWMD5t