Best-selling and critically acclaimed historical romance authors Celeste Bradley, Eva Devon, Elizabeth Essex and Heather Snow heat up this Christmas with four never-before-released novellas guaranteed to make your holiday season merry and bright.
Today they give us a behind-the-scenes look at what inspired their new Christmas anthology, Dashing All the Way.
“Welcome, and thank you for joining us at AAR today. We’re happy to be here to share how our anthology came to be. Last Christmas I had a blessed break in my writing schedule, and actually got to enjoy all the things I love about the holiday season—decorating the house and tree, and baking cookies and pies while singing along to Christmas carols!
And right there in the middle of a chorus of “Jingle Bells,” I thought ‘I should write a Christmas novella while I’m in the Christmas spirit, rather than waiting until next July! And I should call it “Dashing All the Way,” because then I can write a dashing sort of hero, just the way I like.’
I was pretty excited about the idea, but as “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” echoed though the house, another thought struck: What would be better than one Christmas novella? Why four, of course! And each author could take Dasher, Dancer, Prancer or Vixen as inspiration. Now, I just had to find the right people to join me…”
“Just after the holidays, I wrote Elizabeth that I wanted to do a project together, and she suggested the anthology. When I heard the amazing concept of stories inspired by the reindeer names, my hand shot up. ‘I dibs Vixen!’ Many years ago, I had the idea of the Vixens of Vauxhall, a trio of jewel-thief sisters, daughters of Jackham, a member of my Liar’s Club series who had come to a bad end, and here was my chance to write about them!”
“Celeste was in! Now I just needed to find two more amazing authors. I immediately thought of Heather, as we’d talked of working together many times over the years. Perhaps this would be the right book at the right time.”
“The moment Elizabeth called me with the idea, I knew it was fabulous. I also knew that the final author we needed to have with us was Eva Devon, who writes dashing heroes like no other. We got Eva on the line, who loved it just as much as the rest of us did, and Dashing All the Way was officially in the works!”
“I was thrilled to be involved in such a fun set of novellas, and couldn’t wait to get started on the theme of ‘Dasher’.
And who is more dashing than a rake, I ask you? No one! Anthony Basingstoke was the perfect hero for a holiday novella because while he never had any trouble with the ladies, it was going to take a Christmas miracle for him to find true love. You see, after witnessing his parents’ marriage devolve into pain and anger, Anthony vowed never to be swept away by passion. Only a very special woman could change his heart, someone very different than the ladies he was accustomed to. Clearly we needed a wallflower! Lady Evangeline Pennyworth charged onto the page, demanding he teach her how to be desirable so that she can catch a proper husband and leave the unkindness of her family behind. Anthony finds he is taken by this brave young innocent, and must decide if he will let the past rule his future or if he can choose love. I hope you enjoy the merry dance I led them on!”
Dasher = “A Rake For Christmas” by Eva Devon
“As Eva was writing away on ‘Dasher’, I turned my brain to ‘Dancer.’ I had that image of the reindeer up on the rooftop, and immediately, a thief leapt across the gap between those imaginary rooftops, and my Dancer, Toby McTavish was born. But who would fall in love with an accomplished jewel thief? Who would be able to hold her own against such a formidable, self-possessed man? Not an ingenue, surely. And there she was, Caledonia Bowmont, my first widow. And since we were in the Christmas theme, why not a Merry Widow, at that? I have to say I adored writing an experienced heroine, who is old enough and confident enough to know her own mind, and savvy enough to go out and get it. And what she gets is Tobias McTavish, and even better, true love!”
Dancer = “Up On the Rooftops” by Elizabeth Essex
“When we first brain-stormed our theme, we considered changing ‘Prancer’ to something more dashing-like. After all, no one wants to see their big strong hero prancing around London like a dandiprat, do they? We decided upon ‘Debonair’, so that is the initial inspiration I ran with.
Of course, me being me, it wasn’t a debonair hero that first came to mind, but a strong heroine in disguise, taking her brother’s place in the War Department in order to solve his murder. I love to write smart, science-loving heroines, so making Claire a gifted linguist and code-breaker was quite exciting to me! But who would be her hero, and how would he uncover her ruse? Immediately, I saw the scene—the man who had broken her heart six years ago would be appointed her new spymaster, and of course, he’d see right through her fine gentleman’s togs to the woman within. I got to give Lord Andrew Sedgewick quite a Christmas gift, too—a second chance to win back the love of the one woman he’d never been able to forget. Oh, and I even found a way to work in ‘Prancer’, but you’ll have to read the story to find out how… ;)”
Prancer = “The Very Debonair Lady Claire” by Heather Snow
“As I said, I called dibs on ‘Vixen’ early on! Not only did I get to finally bring the story of the Vixens to life, in Amie Jackham I found the perfect match to one of my favorite characters, Elliot from One Night with a Spy. (Royal Four #3)! Crown spy Lord Elliot Hughes is using a string of jewel thefts of the rich and reprehensible to dig around in a few strongboxes under the cover of the notorious Vixen. Miss Amethyst Jackham is doing the same, trying to feed her sisters and keep their destitute household going for just a little longer. The Jackham sisters worry about the law, but they are far more terrified of being discovered by the Liar’s Club! A spy and a thief collide in front of an open strongbox during a Christmas ball…”
Vixen = “A Liar Under the Mistletoe” by Celeste Bradley
We hope you’ve enjoyed learning how Dashing All the Way came to be! The limited time anthology is on sale now.
As our inspiration came from a couple of Christmas carols, we’d love to hear your favorite holiday tune and what memories or feelings it evokes when you hear it! Comment below. One lucky reader be entered to win a book of your choice from each of the four of us! Happiest of holidays!