Writing Inspiration: Why “Saving the Winchester Inn” Always Gives Me the Feels
If there’s one thing you should know about me, it’s that I absolutely love Christmas. When the clock strikes midnight on November 1st, I go into full Christmas mode. I wait all year for it.
Intense? A little. But it’s my happy place. The music and décor. The smell of fresh pine trees, mulled wine, and baked cookies. The feel-good movies. The festive books. There’s always a lesson learned. A happy ending. A feeling of peace in the soft glow of twinkle lights.
So, of course I’d write a Christmas romance. And I’m sure it will be one of many.
With Saving the Winchester Inn’s first book birthday coming up next month, I figured it was a great time to reflect on how the story came to be. As a writer, it’s always so fun to look back on what random and wacky thing sparks an idea for a book.
How the Plot was Born
Funny enough, the idea came from a conversation with my husband. One day while walking the dog, we talked about the typical Christmas tropes (yes, I make him watch all the Christmas romances, but he’s a sucker for rom coms anyway).
Honestly, it started as a joke inspired by the Hallmark Christmas movie drinking game we play with our friends every year. We went with the typical clichés, trying to one up each other each time. Little did I know, it would be the basis for a book idea.
The reason they’re clichés is because people can count on them. They work. It’s comforting to know things will turn out okay when all is said and done. Ain’t nothing wrong with that.
The joy about Christmas romances is that it can be a bright spot after a hard year or it can remind you of all the little things that bring you joy that you sometimes forget in the busyness of life. It’s about tradition. It’s about making memories. It’s about remembering the magic found in the tiny, simple things. It’s about community, family, friends, and love.
Does it have to be perfect? No. That’s the beauty of it. It’s the realization that even if our best intentions fall short, there’s still a lot of good to be had if we just appreciate what life has to offer.
If I was going to spend time writing a book, why wouldn’t I want to do it in my happy place?
Inspiration for the Book
The town it takes place in doesn’t actually exist. Instead, it was inspired by some of my favorite towns. I took all the parts I love the most and created a perfect little town for this story to take place.
For Lia, I knew I wanted someone who was strong and ambitious, but I didn’t want her to completely give up everything for a guy. I wanted her to make decisions based on what was right for her, whether or not Logan was endgame.
Little did I know, I was pulling from my own experience. She was torn between her life in Boston and her home in NC. I wrote this book mostly while on the road for work...as in my job in Boston and my home in SC. At the time, I didn’t realize I was working out some of my own feelings of being pulled in two directions too. Thankfully, things worked out for both me and Lia.
For Logan, I wanted a guy who was steady and deep. My lead women are usually tenacious and independent, so I want their love interest to be a complement to that. Logan was the perfect yin to her yang. His way of being was how Lia came to discover what truly mattered to her.
As for the quirky characters, they’re all based on my friends and our dogs. Although their personalities are a bit exaggerated, I can’t deny how ridiculous we all are. It keeps life interesting, that’s for sure. It was a lot of fun to see this book published and let them live on the pages of my book. It also inspired me to write my friends into other books (yes, Cait, you will get your series...eventually).
What I Want Readers to Take Away from It
It’s okay to let go. Sometimes people get so fixated on a plan or goal, or are shamed into what they feel they “should” be doing, that they don’t take the time to step back every so often and reassess.
They should ask if this still feels right. Does it still align with their values? Is it what they thought it would be going into it? Is it bringing them inspiration or draining them?
So often, we stick with the same path because it’s too hard or scary to consider going a different way. But the challenge of starting over or pivoting is worth it if you’re doing something that feels right. That makes you feel at peace and complete.
It’s also a good reminder that you can change your mind and go back. Circumstances change, and life can’t be so black and white. So final. It’s something I often fail to remember myself, and this book tries its best to beat it into my stubborn little brain :)
This is something Lia grappled with most of the book. As she dealt with those tough decisions, I hope it helped or inspired readers going through this same experience (like I was while writing this book) to take a step back and figure out what’s true to them.
It’s never too late, and you’re never in too deep to change. You only get one life. Make sure it’s a good one.
What to Expect
Oh boy, all the favorites. Small town setting. Big city woman coming back home. Wacky but loving townspeople. A cutie patootie dog. Christmas events. Family and town traditions. All the feels.
Most importantly, you can expect a happily ever after.
The holiday season is the time of year when I feel like I can finally breathe. After a busy year of going a million miles a minute, this season forces me to slow down. It’s a reminder that I made it. I did all I could this year, and it’s time to rest and enjoy.
I hope you feel the same this holiday season and give yourself the time to sit back, take it all in, and do the things that bring you joy. (Like maybe reading a book?)
If Saving the Winchester Inn sounds like your kinda book, grab it from your favorite retailer in print or on eBook.
Happy holidays, y’all!
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