Today I’ve got a special treat for you. An interview with author and reviewer Nikki Lynn Barrett about her brand new Christmas release The Secret Santa Wishing Well.
Welcome to the Journal, Nikki! Tell us a little bit about your new release.
Hi Jenna! Thanks for having me here today! I have to say that first and foremost. About my new release? Well, The Secret Santa Wishing Well is my debut book. It’s a contemporary Christmas novel and it’s been dubbed as “The perfect read about the true meaning of Christmas” My characters really took this story and ran with it. I made a different twist on a secret santa type story. Originally, I wanted it to be a secret santa story where the couple is matched somehow as secret santa’s and how one really wanted to do something amazing for the other. But Ben, my heroine’s son, really took over the story (In a nice way) and it changed. Because of Ben’s wish, Jacob and Cheyenne meet because Ben wants his wish to come true so bad, his mom takes him back to the mall a second time. And from there, the story unfolds. This was one of the easiest books to write. I wish all my characters would cooperate as well as these did.
So, what was your inspiration for this story?
I love Christmas reads, so as an author I felt it my duty to create my own. I’ve always loved Secret Santa’s and wondered, what would happen if a couple got together because of a Secret Santa match? Though I put my own spin on it and Behold! The Secret Santa Wishing Well was born. This story really wrote itself….Okay, not literally, but you know what I mean. I wanted a Christmas read to be through a child’s eyes, and how he made a grown up wish, it would affect his family. I think we all need a little Christmas magic and some true love, don’t you?
Absolutely! That’s part of the magic of Christmas!
Now, I am a fanatic about my character names. Are the character names special in any way?
Well, the characters themselves are special, but the names? They just came to me. The only one that really had more of a meaning is Ben. I’m not sure why, but I’ve always loved that name. I thought, why not create a child with that name? Ben fits. Everyone that’s read the story so far just adores Ben.
Ben seems like an old soul name, you know what I mean? Comforting, somehow. I totally understand.
What was your process for writing this book? Is this different or the same as other books you’ve written?
I wrote it while my son went to preschool. I had been blocked for so long, trying to write. The first week my son was gone, I bounced around between a few stories. Then, the Secret Santa Wishing Well called to me. I came up with the title, started writing, and it just flowed from there. It’s different because the words never came so easily before. It felt great to complete a book, and have it polished up and done within a few months. Great accomplishment for me.
With the success of this one, do you have plans for other Christmas stories?
You know, I was thinking last night about it. My beta reader said she really enjoyed my secondary character, Robin. I thought of writing her a story, and I debated on creating hers as a Christmas story so that way I could also continue with Cheyenne and Jacob, and maybe write their wedding. As for other Christmas stories? Probably. My mind is always racing with ideas, and I love Christmas, so you never know..
*Smile* I think we may very well see a new one for Christmas 2013!
Okay, now for some standard questions. Who is your favorite romance hero or heroine and why? What qualities do they possess that make them memorable?
I know that they had a sad ending, but Romeo and Juliet. They went through hell and back to be together, despite everything stacked against them, they followed their heart. I just wish, in a true romance fashion, that they had their HEA…..
Just like Rose and Jack in Titanic…brilliant love story, tragic ending. *sigh*
And who was the first romance author and book you read?
I read a little bit or romance growing up, but back then I was more likely to read thrillers, and horror. The book that got me really into romance was actually a Harlequin Superromance. My Sister, Myself by Tara Taylor Quinn. Romance, mystery, and a great story had me hooked! Never looked back! Well, I still read mystery thrillers, and horror, but my heart is in romance.
Who has been the greatest influence on your writing?
Luanne Rice, Stephanie Bond, and Wendy Corsi Staub. A perfect mix of emotion, comedy, and thrills. 🙂
If you could have one wish granted just for you (not world peace, LOL), what would you wish for?
I wish for my son to grow and learn, and start talking. He’s speech delayed, but the happiest 3-year-old you’ll ever meet. They’ve been hinting at autism, which I disagree with, but regardless, my wish is for him to succeed and be the best he can be.
That’s every mother’s wish, I think. I pray yours comes true, Nikki.
So, what is the most exciting/daredevil thing you’ve ever done?
Storm chasing. It’s Arizona, but still 🙂
As in tornadoes? Yikes! That is daredevil material!
Now for the Lightning Round:
What is your favorite amusement park ride?
When I was younger, I used to love the Superslide. Lol. Now, I’d have to go with the Tilt-a-Whirl 😀
Tea or coffee?
Tea, all the way. Hot or cold, I don’t care. Lately, my favorite has been blueberry chai tea, from QuikTrip. Yum!
French manicure or color (and if color, what color)?
Color. Depends on my mood. I love a variety.
Beach or mountains?
Oh, beach. Totally beach.
Chocolate or vanilla?
I’m impartial, lol.
Boxers, briefs or commando?
Blond, brunette or redhead? (preferred men’s hair color)
Brunette. Husband’s hair color and I love it. Especially since he has these hazel eyes that are really brought out because his hair is a dark brunette.
Would you rather skydive or scuba dive?
Scuba dive. I love the water. I don’t like heights, lol.
That is so my exact answer!
Would you rather vacation in Hawaii, Vegas or London?
Hawaii! Can you imagine all the great pictures I’d get on my camera? I’ve been to Vegas, and it was a blast, but I would NOT turn down a trip to Hawaii!
What’s the one thing you would never do?
I would never eat a bug. Ewwww! Anyone that does that…..ugh. Really? kik
I’m with you there!
Whew! That was a blast! Thank you so much, Nikki, for answering all these 20 questions and being on the Journal today.
Blurb for The Secret Santa Wishing Well:
The magic of Christmas has been lost to Jacob Winston. At the suggestion of his ill sister, Jacob takes a job as a Secret Santa at the mall, hoping to restore his Christmas spirit. Even that doesn’t seem to work, until a special little boy ambles up to make a very special wish…
Cheyenne Jensen is struggling to raise her two kids without the help of her ex-husband who refuses to acknowledge his daughter’s existence and doesn’t provide for the son he does. This Christmas is shaping up to be as heartbreaking as the last, until her son Ben’s kind actions lead a stranger to them.
Ah, but it’s Christmas time and the magic has begun.
When Jacob and Cheyenne meet, neither can deny their immediate attraction to one another. As situations arise that require they spend more time together, their feelings grow stronger and stronger.
With Christmas fast approaching, the pair learn what matters most in life. Now, if only they could ditch the ghost of Christmases past. Maybe this holiday will bring some wishes come true- for everyone after all.
Excerpt from The Secret Santa Wishing Well:
It didn’t take long for her to come back. Jacob moved to the living room,
standing and waiting. When he saw her coming, he closed the gap between them. Before he could think twice, he touched her shoulder gently, wanting to thank her for the evening.
But instead of talking, he leaned in and kissed her. Just a light kiss. Gentle. Friendly.
Until she responded. She had her arms around him, pulling him for another kiss. Deeper. Sweeter. She tasted so sweet. Her need made him swell. He could do this all night. Jacob pressed her against the wall, their kisses deepening with urgency. He ran his fingers through her fine hair. Hers wrapped around. his neck, rubbing lightly.
Jacob pulled back abruptly. “Cheyenne,” he ground out. “We have to stop.” Before I lose it. He didn’t want to stop. He never expected her to reciprocate like this. Wow. Maybe it wasn’t one-sided after all. Jacob sighed.
That halted everything. She pulled away, looking at him with wide, beautiful eyes. “I’m sorry. I pushed. You must think I’m a fool. I thought, when you kissed me…” Cheyenne attempted to move out of Jacob’s embrace. Oh, damn. She thought he didn’t want her. He did, oh, how he did.
“No, no. Honey, that’s not it at all. Kissing you was magical. Amazing. But we just met. I don’t want to take things too far. But I would love to see you again.” He pushed back loose strands of her hair that hung over her face when she’d moved. She looked so vulnerable. Was she going to cry? Oh hell, he wouldn’t be able to handle it if she did. The last thing he wanted was for her to be upset with him.
“I’d like that, too. It was a wonderful, amazing day, and I have you to thank for it.” She nearly whispered the words, choking up on the last part. “God, I’m a mess. I’m sorry. There’s been so much going on, and my signals are going crazy at the moment.”
Yours aren’t the only one, Jacob thought. He pulled his cell phone from his pocket, typing in her name in the contacts and handing it to her. “Can I have your number?”
She laughed. “Of course.” Her fingers brushed his as she took the phone from him, tapping in her number. She handed it back to him. Electric shocks of awareness zipped through him. His gaze lingered on her, knowing he needed to get the hell out of here before he lost it completely.
And here are the links so you can make The Secret Santa Wishing Well part of your Christmas magic this season!
Find Nikki here: