Winner of 2013 Mistletoe Christmas Romance from Bookstore Without Borders/Storyfinds
Last Christmas, Erin came home to be with her dying mother. This Christmas will be a year, and Erin still can’t move on. Fortunately, everything in her life is about to change. A behemoth dog named Klaus and Reason-the-handsome-realtor enter the picture, and together they turn Erin’s life upside down…in a good way.
Reason offers to help Erin sell her mother’s house, an effort that turns into a circus of fiascos. Just when it seems her luck can’t get any worse, Erin finds herself falling in love with Reason, the man of chaos himself. But he’s more than he seems, and now Erin is immersed in the clandestine world of the Santa Society, a centuries old secret organization that protects the truth behind Christmas.
“What a satisfying romance! It had everything: adventure/excitement, holiday magic, hope, a reminder about the true meaning of Christmas. I will probably want to read this every year.”
“Five stars for this enchanting story. I loved the references to Christ and the true example of giving.”
“This book is excellent! It’s not only an inspiring romance, but it brings the reader back to the magical days of childhood and simply believing magic exists.”
CIR: What gave you the inspiration for this book?
McCORD: My kids and I took a five day road trip across the U.S. in the middle of December. The whole thing filled me with this experience of God, that divine connection between everything. We grow up and we struggle to believe the things we can’t see. But the proof is all around. Seeing the beauty of our great country, the many different faces of it, the vastness…and yet it’s still a tiny speck in the universe. That’s proof right there. So I was probably somewhere in the middle of Nebraska or Wyoming when the seed of this story first developed. As I said, it was just me and four kids–a little crazy, but the best memory of my life. We sang along to Christmas songs and it brought me back to the innocence of childhood belief—beauty—wonder. We all need some of that back, I think. I felt the urge to write a new Santa story, one that would capture those feelings in the context of a romance.
CIR: What was the writing process like for you?
McCORD: The writing process for this novel was like a roller coaster ride. I completed the first draft in exactly 21 days during November 2012. I got up every morning and wrote as many words as I could without stopping. I hadn’t outlined it. I’d brainstormed it with my writer’s group and had developed a basic idea of where I was heading from the beginning to middle. So really, I was winging a lot of it by the seat of my pants. I’m glad I wrote it that way because it let me be IN the story, just like when I’m reading a book and dying to know what’s about to happen. So it was a blast and when it was done, I was sad it was over.
CIR: Who is your target audience?
McCORD: The Santa Society is appropriate for anyone, from young teens to adults. I think the people who like it most are the ones who cherish the reason for the season, but who also miss the fun and sweetness of believing Santa Claus. Many people today choose not to let their kids believe in Santa Claus because they don’t want to break their children’s heart or to damage their child’s ability to fully believe in God. If both things have been taught to them by their parents, and one is untrue, what about the other? So I wrote this for anyone. I wanted it to deal with all that and bring in something new. The Santa Society brings Santa back and makes a place for him. Plus he’s really romantic and handsome, too, so women adore him.
CIR: Tell us about your main character.
McCORD: Erin Sinclair is a modern day, female Scrooge who has a spectacular fate ahead of her. She’s a single, childless, adult orphan. That’s about as alone as it gets. She’s moved back to her home town of Christmasville, where Christmas is a year round way of life, and she’s grieving the loss of her mother and, in some ways, her identity too.
CIR: What is the theme of The Santa Society?
McCORD: The theme centers on a number of things, like not being too quick to judge a situation or a person, but remaining strong and steady in who you are, what you want, and what you believe. It’s about the power of faith and how, like children, we should earnestly believe with trust and conviction in those things we cannot see. It’s also about the mysterious, lost origins of archetypes, myths and legends. I think truth is a living, everlasting thing that moves through the centuries. Pieces of it are embedded all over the place in our folklore, myths, and sometimes even fairy tales. Some scholars think certain stories on the Bible are metaphorical folk tales that aren’t meant to be literal. So it totally thrills me when archaeological evidence arrives to support the literal, historical fact of something that previously seemed too strange, obscure, or over the top to be literal. The Santa Society brings those kinds of epiphany-like discoveries into play.