Debbie Macomber is a many-times-over New York Times bestselling author known for her compelling and multifaceted contemporary romances and her annual Christmas novels. Her holiday offering this year, Twelve Days of Christmas, is our Top Pick in Romance for December. We asked Macomber a few questions about the idyllic town in Washington where she lives, her favorite holiday traditions and more.
Describe your latest novel in one sentence.
Twelve Days of Christmas is a story about a woman’s experiment of killing someone with kindness and learning that she is the one who is affected most.
How long have you been writing your annual Christmas romances, and what sparked the idea?
I believe I started writing a Christmas story as early as the mid-1990s. In other words, a long time.
As for what sparked the idea for Twelve Days of Christmas . . . It came about from an incident I had while Christmas shopping. A woman stole my parking spot just as I was about to park. I didn’t exactly have Christian thoughts at the time, and wished I’d handled the situation differently.
When we meet Cain, he’s quite the rude Scrooge. Were there any challenges to writing such an initially unlikable hero?
My heroine’s dislike of Cain is initially sparked by another incident that happened to me. Wayne and I lived in a condo and someone took our newspaper. Again, the Christian side of me was absent that day. It was interesting to explore why someone might lift another person’s newspaper and why they would be grumpy in the morning, aside from not being a morning person.
Christmas doesn’t mean much to Cain, but to me, it means a great deal. I find it valuable to write characters that aren’t like me because they help me to understand another person’s point of view or motivation.
What turned out to be your favorite trait of Cain’s?
I needed something that would show his tender side, and that became apparent in the way he cared for his grandfather. No one is all good or all bad. There needs to be a balance.
Tell us about your two businesses in Port Orchard, Washington, a place that has inspired many of your romance novels.
The Grey House Café has recently been renovated with new carpeting, tables and chairs, and a fresh coat of paint inside and out. They also carry my books and many are autographed, plus we’re fortunate to have a Hallmark store within that features gift and tea items. The café still serves the same great menu with a few new items to stimulate the appetite.
My yarn store, A Good Yarn Shop, closed in November after eight wonderful years of friendship and community. I hope to encourage knitters and crocheters to continue with community and a sense of giving by contributing to Knit One, Bless Two or World Vision’s Knit for Kids.
What’s your favorite holiday tradition?
Oh my, that’s difficult to answer because I enjoy them all. I look forward to baking cookies with the grandkids, shopping with them for other children who are less fortunate, family Bingo. I love our family buffet feast on Christmas Day, lighting the candles on the Advent wreath and hosting Christmas Teas for my author, knitting and swimming friends. Christmas Eve church service is so meaningful to me. All those add up to a beautiful holiday season.
What’s next for you?
My husband and I are taking an extended cruise in which I plan to empty my mind and gather new ideas for more books to come. Publishing wise, my next book is titled If Not For You, which is a story of healing and hope.
(Author photo by Deborah Feingold.)