With more than 200 books under her belt, beloved author Melody Carlson’s annual Christmas novellas become more popular each year. Her novels range from dealing with serious issues like schizophrenia to lighter topics like house-flipping. Her 2020 Christmas novel, A Christmas Swap (Revell), has two families trade homes for a holiday vacation. In this interview, Melody shares a little about the story, how she chose the vacation home swap topic, and why she set her Romance in Colorado.
When did you write your first Christmas romance novel?
It was about twenty years ago! The book is Angels in the Snow and came about after a chat with a beloved editor. We both thought a Christmas novella was a good idea, and at that time no one seemed to be doing them. Now they’re all over. But I still enjoy doing one Christmas novella each year. I think I must be on my twentieth by now.
Melody, please give us a peek into A Christmas Swap, and why did you choose Breckenridge, Colorado as the location for the story?
Two very different families trade two very different homes during the Christmas holidays. Emma Daley goes with her friend’s family to snow country in Colorado, while West Prescott is supposed to head down to sunny Arizona with his family. But West gets distracted by sweet, pretty Emma and decides to stick around and play caretaker to his own lovely mountain home instead.
We drove through this charming ski town several years ago, and I thought it was a lovely setting for a Christmas book! And I can only set so many stories in my home state of Oregon.
The characters in The Christmas Swap decide to do a “vacation trade” and switch homes temporarily. How did you come up with the creative plot for your book?
We live in a popular tourist area and have considered doing a vacation home swap before. The lure of a completely different locale (Maui, anyone?) is tempting. But being a writer, I have an overly active imagination and wonder about all the things that could go wrong. And when you’re so far from home, how do you cope? So I decided to create a situation where the main character is not terribly excited about being away from his own home during Christmas . . . and then see what happens!
West Prescott entangles himself in a game of pretend identity. What does he learn from this?
While it allowed him to get to know the girl he admired without revealing he was a semi-famous person, it eventually backfired on him. He learned the hard way that undoing unintentional deceit isn’t always easy.
What do you hope readers take away from this story?
As usual with a Christmas story, I want readers to simply enjoy it. I also hope they’ll be uplifted and encouraged to take on their own Christmas activities with the kind of warmth and enthusiasm that Emma displays to those around her.
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