Lesfic Book Club: Holme for the Holidays

Our latest Lesfic Book Club featured Miranda MacLeod, who joined us to talk about her novel, Holme for the Holidays, as well as food, llamas, and travel! If you weren’t able to make it, check out the transcript below.

A couple of notes on the transcript:

  1. If you want to join us live, we discuss lesfic novels every month at http://tinyurl.com/lesficlove (sign up or follow me on Twitter to find out what we’re reading next).
  2. Some chat participants requested that their names be obscured, so below you’ll see the author’s name in bold, while everyone else has been anonymized as Reader 1, Reader 2, etc.

Miranda MacLeod
Hello! I’m here and I have a fresh cup of tea.

Reader 1
I’ve got Diet Pepsi, not quite as literary or cozy as a nice cup of tea
Reader 3, what are you drinking?

Reader 2
Snap with the diet pepsi… Mine might have some rum in it tho

Reader 3
At the moment I am drinking coffee.

Reader 1
Miranda, I was wondering with the location of your book – are you a Paige or a Fiona?

Miranda MacLeod
I live in Massachusetts, so I’m more of a Paige, at least for location.
When I was thinking about writing a Christmas romance, I had the opportunity to visit the UK and I decided I wanted to set the story there and do research for it on the trip. I literally chose the village of Holme so I could call it “Holme for the Holidays.”

Reader 4
Cute

Reader 1
I did see that in the author’s note, about your trip. Didn’t realize the title came first though

Miranda MacLeod
Yes! I pulled up a list of places in the UK and started skimming through them hoping for an idea, and when I got to that one, I knew I had to use it.

Reader 1
Alright let’s kick this off – who’s got questions for Miranda/about the book/comments/weird tangents/etc?

Reader 4
Loved the book. Laughed out loud for minutes a few times. What would it take to make this a movie?

Miranda MacLeod
Hollywood connections. Anyone know anybody?

Reader 4
We’ll work on that.

Reader 1
I would love to see Paige’s first encounter with the llama on screen. That’s made for cinema.

Miranda MacLeod
I am a huge sucker for romcoms, so when I write, I do tend to picture the scenes as a movie.

Reader 5
I really loved the llamas as title heads.

Reader 2
When it comes to writing a holiday book do you find it difficult to get in the festive zone when it’s not necessarily being written/edited etc during the holiday season?

Miranda MacLeod
Confession: I finished the book close enough to the holidays that it “was” the holiday season.

Reader 6
My favorite parts was the window/ladder/vicar scene and how you tied it into other scenes interactions. Was that intentional to weave throughout.

Miranda MacLeod
Reader 6, yes, I tried to have certain things repeat throughout.

Reader 7
@Miranda MacLeod I’m attending a work Xmas party but would like to say thank you for such an awesome experience through this one

Reader 8
I have to say that as a former church organist who met her wife when we each lived in different countries… your book felt almost like it was meant for me

Miranda MacLeod
I have a good friend who is a church organist and when I got an up close look at all those pedals, I knew I had to do something with them.

Reader 3
What was the hardest part of the book to research?

Miranda MacLeod
@Reader 3 I had to look up a lot of little details about the locations, which was time consuming.
I often use make believe locations for that reason

Reader 1
How much time did you get to spend in Holme?

Miranda MacLeod
I was only in the village for a day, although I stayed in Harrogate for three days, I think.

Reader 3
What part of the book did you enjoy writing the most? Was there a particular scene you really enjoyed writing?

Miranda MacLeod
My favorites to write were the ones that were actually already brought up, the window/vicar scene and the organ. I love putting my characters in as awkward and embarrassing of positions as possible.
I also really enjoyed adding in the detail in the church, when Paige confronts Alice’s cousin, that the witness who “heard everything” didn’t speak English. That made me laugh.

Reader 2
You seemed to have definitely found the setting/plot first, did you already have character ideas in mind or did anyone you met while on your UK trip give you inspiration?

Miranda MacLeod
I didn’t have anything in mind when I went there except the setting. The biggest inspiration was actually the llama. When I was staying at a hotel in Harrogate, there was a brochure for a farm where you could walk llamas. They would match you up with the one that best fit your personality. I was so disappointed not to have time to go that I had to add Dolly.
And it turns out that “guard llamas” are actually a thing.

Reader 1
Haha I would love to be matched with a llama by personality – awesome.

Reader 2
**plans trip to llama farm in Harrogate**

Reader 1
Seriously.
Was it always in the plans to make Fiona and Paige wait for their happy ever after?

Miranda MacLeod
One of the things I struggled with because of the short time frame was not wanting to rush the story to an unrealistic happily ever after when you realize they’ve only known each other for a handful of weeks. So how I was going to do it I wasn’t sure, but I knew I’d need to stretch out the story timeline. When I got toward the end, I thought the characters needed some time to grow in their own personal lives and careers before they could really be together forever.

Reader 1
I think you ended up with a perfect solution

Miranda MacLeod
Thank you!

Reader 1
I loved how Daniel and Brittany did the exact opposite though

Miranda MacLeod
I know! I had to have someone be impulsive. Plus, I thought maybe readers would be tricked for a minute into thinking Paige and Fiona would do the same.

Reader 5
@Miranda MacLeod I really liked how you showed the differences in the food choices for the holidays.

Reader 1
Aubergine – that word threw my American sensibilities for a loop for a minute

Miranda MacLeod
@Reader 5 First, I love food. Plus, between different menus and different names for the same foods, there was a lot to include. I had fun making my list.

Reader 1
Was there anything you ate on your trip that was surprisingly different?

Miranda MacLeod
I was surprised by the types of poultry on the menu at restaurants. Not just chicken, but game hens and wood pigeon. I mean, wood pigeon??? But, it tasted nice, Also, mushy peas were a surprise. I don’t understand why you would do that to peas.

Reader 2
Hahaha as a Brit this is a funny convo to watch

Reader 1
@Reader 2 lol feel free to chime in on how weird American foods are

Miranda MacLeod
I love all British desserts, though. Every single sweet thing.

Reader 4
When you mention no graham crackers in Australia I immediately thought of digestives. I bet they would make a great smore

Miranda MacLeod
That was the suggestion people had in online forums. There were whole conversations about how to make s’mores when abroad.

Reader 1
This book gave me a serious craving for mince pies. Good thing it’s the holidays and they’re readily available!

Miranda MacLeod
Christmas pudding. I love Christmas pudding.
And chocolate digestives.

Reader 4
Book club = food club

Miranda MacLeod
If you think Holme for the Holidays had a lot of food, Letters to Cupid just about killed me. So much food.

Reader 4
So were there things you already knew a lot about that you didn’t have to research @Miranda MacLeod ? Secretly a sheep breeder?

Miranda MacLeod
No, I pretty much went for all unknowns in this one.

Reader 1
Anyone else have like a long hmmmmm moment when Fiona refused to tell Paige where she was keeping the ring?
Or is that just my overactive imagination because I had multiple theories

Reader 2
Lol yes!! @Reader 1 I reacted the same.

Reader 4
Haha i read it multiple times to see if there was a bigger hintView newer replies

Miranda MacLeod
What were the theories, @Reader 1?

Reader 1
The one that I settled on at last ended up being that she tied it in her bikini strings. All the others were NSFW
Do you know the answer, or is that something Fiona’s taking to the grave?

Reader 4
At first i misread it as a nipple piercing

Reader 1
Ooh, that one hadn’t occurred to me – points for creativity
Professor Farnsworth on Futurama taught me a long time ago that the buttocks are nature’s pocket, so there’s another possibility…

Miranda MacLeod
I actually don’t know the answer, but the idea was to get readers to come up with some NSFW ideas

Reader 1
Mission accomplished, Miranda!

Reader 4
I ultimately settled on cleavage

Miranda MacLeod
Cleavage is a good choice

Reader 1
What are you working on right now, Miranda, if I may ask?

Miranda MacLeod
I took a break from writing for several weeks as all the end of the year and holiday stuff was closing in, but I’m going to be finishing up another Americans Abroad, London Holiday, early in the new year.
It’s a modern, lesfic retelling of Roman Holiday.
It’s one of my favorite movies, and it gave me an excuse to revisit London again this summer when I attended ELLCon in Bristol.
I’m always looking for excuses to travel, clearly.

Reader 2
I love London, it’s in my top 3 favourite places ever. I used to go there a lot as I studied performing arts for 5+ years and musicals = life, but with a little one now it’s a bit tougher.

Miranda MacLeod
@Reader 2 I agree. London is one of the best places I’ve ever visited.

Reader 3
Okay, I finally thought of a question that could safely be categorized as a definitely me question. If Dolly and Maxine were to be re-imagined as Godzilla like monsters in a Japanese movie who would ultimately win the battle between the two?

Miranda MacLeod
@Reader 3 That’s hilarious! I’m voting for Dolly.

Reader 1
Thank you so much for chatting with us, Miranda!

Miranda MacLeod
Thank you everyone for inviting me and for reading Holme for the Holidays! I hope you enjoyed it and it put you in the Christmas spirit.

Reader 4
Looking forward to reading or listening to more

Reader 3
It was a good read. Thank you for writing it.

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