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Monday, November 22, 2010

Monday Spotlight: Melissa McClone

The Story Behind The Story

When I typed THE END on the manuscript that would become RESCUED BY THE MAGIC OF CHRISTMAS, a November '08 Harlequin Romance, it was a bittersweet moment. I loved how the story turned out, but I was sad to say goodbye to the world I created.

I knew one of the reasons. The Mount Hood setting felt like a second home to me. Not surprising since I live an hour and a half away and ski with my family there. Government Camp, Oregon, as well as a couple other ski towns I've visited, inspired the fictional town of Hood Hamlet.

Another reason was the characters. I'd created a community of people I really liked. The members of my fictional Oregon Mountain Search and Rescue (OMSAR) intrigued me. Take a look at this article featuring a few members of Portland Mountain Rescue and you'll see why!

As I wrote other stories, I kept thinking about Hood Hamlet and one character, rescue team leader Sean Hughes. He kept coming back to me, again and again. I knew I wanted to tell his story so I submitted an idea set in late summer/early fall to my editor. She gave me the go-ahead.  Yay!

When I had a quarter of the manuscript written, my editor asked if I could set the story at Chrismastime. I said yes then quickly realized that meant starting over from page one. I also decided to open the book on Thanksgiving Day, incorporating the holidays and snow into the plot from the very beginning. I quickly knew this was the story I was supposed to tell and so happy the timeframe got moved.

After finishing Sean's story, my editor gave me another reason to revisit Hood Hamlet. This summer, I was asked to write an eHarlequin on-line read to lead up to the release of CHRISTMAS MAGIC ON THE MOUNTAIN. I took a line about one of Sean's employees from that book and wrote Snow-Kissed Reunion.

Cocoa Marsh had resigned herself to giving up her dreams. She might never be a competitive snowboarder again, but at least her job as a designer for Hughes Snowboards gave her the opportunity to ride whenever she wanted. And as for that pesky hope of a happily ever after…well, the love she'd felt five years ago for snowboarding superstar Rex Billings hadn't been real, anyway. He'd proven that when he'd left and never spoken to her again.

Until now, that is. Because Rex Billings was back, and looking more devastating than ever. Not that she was going to let herself fall for his charm and knee-weakening smile again. Even if he seemed more grounded, more committed, more…like a dream that might actually come true.  The story gives a nice peek at Hood Hamlet as well as my hero, Sean Hughes. You can read the eight chapters here at eHarlequin.

CHRISTMAS MAGIC ON THE MOUNTAIN does share the same setting and some characters (as well as a similar looking cover!) from RESCUED BY THE MAGIC OF CHRISTMAS, but don't think you have to read both or SNOW-KISSED REUNION. All of the stories stand-alone, but for readers who might want to return to Hood Hamlet they are there for you to read!


Maureen said...

It is a little sad when a series I'm reading ends.
mce1011 AT aol DOT com

Maria Zannini said...

Let's hear it for editors with vision.

Congrats, Melissa.

Melissa McClone said...

Maureen - Reading that last book in a series is always bittersweet for me.

Maria - Thanks!

cheryl c said...

I love to read series books, but I do feel a little sad when I say good-bye to a place and characters that I have come to like.
castings at mindspring dot com

Dru said...

When a series ends, it's like you're moving away and you don't want to leave.

chey said...

I feel like I'm losing people I know when a series ends.

Brandy said...

It feels like losing a friend when a series ends. I'm glad you had a chance to revisit!

Melissa McClone said...

Thanks all for stopping by today. I know that when a beloved series ends, the one good thing is I can go back and reread the books to revisit the people and places I'd become attached to. I've done that with Nora Roberts' Silhouette series over and over again!