Please give a warm welcome to Olivia Miles this morning! She’s here to chat about ’Twas the Week Before Christmas, and she brought a signed copy for one of you to win!
[Manga Maniac Cafe] Describe yourself in 140 characters or less.
[Olivia Miles] I’m determined more than disciplined, a bit more introverted than extroverted, and a personality test I once took for a job determined my predominant trait was empathy.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about ‘Twas the Week Before Christmas?
[Olivia Miles] ‘TWAS THE WEEK BEFORE CHRISTMAS is the first book I sold, after winning Harlequin Special Edition’s Happy Holidays Contest with the first chapter, and it’s also the first of my books set in the fictional town of Maple Woods, Connecticut. This book takes place (as you may have guessed from the title) over the course of the week leading up to Christmas. Holly Tate is the proprietor of The White Barn Inn, formerly her grandmother’s home, and she has hopes of finally buying the property when its 99-year-lease expires on Christmas Day–that is until Max Hamilton comes to town with plans of his own. This is a story about two lonely hearts who manage to find love under the most unexpected circumstances, at the most magical time of the year.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?
[Olivia Miles] I always knew I wanted to write a book set in a New England inn as I’ve always had a fascination with old, historic mansions. When I was little, I had dreams of someday running a B&B. (I think more than anything I liked the idea of decorating the rooms.) When Harlequin announced they were running the Happy Holidays contest, I knew the inn would be the perfect backdrop for a Christmas story. I pictured the garland and lights and quirky characters bustling about. The story really started with the concept of the inn, and from there, I thought of Max, the handsome guest, and what purpose he would have to be there, and what conflict he might bring with him…
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three words best describe Holly?
[Olivia Miles] Nurturing, creative, and hopeful.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] If Max had a theme song, what would it be?
[Olivia Miles] This one is easy. “I Am a Rock” by Simon & Garfunkel.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name one thing Holly is never without.
[Olivia Miles] She’s never without a key to The White Barn Inn, even though she never bothers to lock the door…
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things will you never find in Max’s bathroom?
[Olivia Miles] Cologne, certainly anything belonging to a woman or a girlfriend, and probably hair gel. Max isn’t very fussy.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is Holly’s greatest regret?
[Olivia Miles] Holly chose to pursue a relationship in Boston instead of moving back to Maple Woods when she still had a chance to be near family in the remaining year of her grandmother’s life. The relationship failed, and she’s had to live with the consequences of prioritizing the wrong person. She’s never forgiven herself for this, and it’s one of the reasons why the inn, her grandmother’s former home, means so much to her.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you enjoy most about holiday themed stories?
[Olivia Miles] I love the setting of holiday-themed stories! I can’t get enough of the snow, garland, lights, and just the general feeling of anticipation in the air. There’s something warm and cozy about a holiday backdrop that just makes every romance a touch more special.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are your greatest creative influences?
[Olivia Miles] For this particular project, I would have to say I was most influenced by my love for made-for-television Christmas movies. I watch them by the dozen each year, and I start looking forward to them by the fall. My fondness for these movies absolutely inspired me to create my own holiday romance.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things do you need in order to write?
[Olivia Miles] My outline, my laptop, and a quiet space (no music).
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is the last book that you read that knocked your socks off?
[Olivia Miles] I’ve read so many books that have impressed me, and I do read across many genres. Within the romance genre, I’d have to say the last book that blew me away was A Lady Awakened by Cecilia Grant. The writing was superb and I loved her feisty heroine.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you had to pick one book that turned you on to reading, which would it be?
[Olivia Miles] Oh, wow. I’ve been reading for so long, I couldn’t even say. I was hooked with One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish, and soon after the Amelia Bedelia series.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?
[Olivia Miles] When I’m not writing, I love to read, obviously. I also love watching movies and television (I admit it!) Basically, I enjoy a good story. I like to cook, though lately I haven’t had as much time in the kitchen as I would like. I have two little dogs who keep me active, and a four-year-old who keeps me very busy.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?
[Olivia Miles] I love hearing from readers! You can find me on my website at www.OliviaMilesBooks.com, on Twitter @MsOliviaMiles and on Facebook at facebook.com/authorOliviaMiles. I’m also on Goodreads, the Special Edition Authors blog, and my own group blog, The Hot Pink Typewriter.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!
About the book:
A romantic inn. . .a white Christmas. . .hot cocoa by a roaring fire. . .it all adds up to a perfect holiday romance from Special Edition debut author Olivia Miles!
As I look around the inn, I see garland and mistletoe, colored lights and ornaments–everything I have always professed to despise. You were right to wonder why I would choose to visit The White Barn Inn. You were right about a lot of things.
Since I met you, though, everything has changed. I’ve changed. And that’s why I can’t go on any longer without telling you the whole story. I don’t know if you will ever be able to forgive me. But they say Christmas is a time for miracles. And you do believe in them, don’t you? The question is, can you still believe in me?
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