Rules? What rules? When I was first plotting UNLEASHED, I was living in the suburbs of our nation’s capital and dreaming of a life out in the Blue Ridge Mountains. I had just returned from a hiking jaunt in those ancient, rolling hills and thought, well, if I can’t live there, my characters certainly can! That’s one of the best things about this job; living vicariously through my characters. Occupations that interest me, locations I’ve dreamed of seeing, conflicts to get sorted out…I get to dabble in any and all of them. Pretty nifty!
And so, the town of Hamilton, nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, was born. This story would be included in the TO ALL A GOOD NIGHT anthology of Christmas themed stories and I was excited for the opportunity. As I began to fully plot the story, however, it became clear I wanted a whole lot more than a short novella’s worth of time in this town. A mystery idea kept prodding me, prodding me, but there was no way to give it the full treatment it would need in a short length story such as this. I thought about pulling the story idea back and thinking on it as a full length book idea, but I was writing full length books for Bantam at the time and this Christmas story was for Kensington. I didn’t see any place to squeeze in a single title for them at that time, and I really wanted to write the story.
I happened to mention my conflicted thoughts on this to my editor, laughingly saying that they needed to let me write three novellas so I could capture the whole story. Credit to my editor at that time, the late, great Kate Duffy, who just shrugged and said, well, maybe you’ll need to write another Christmas novella for next year’s anthology.
Oh, really? Picture me rubbing my hands together in glee. Only…wait. Then my readers would have to wait a year to get the next installment. Kate assured me that as long as the stories each stood alone, having a tiny plot thread that carried forward would be okay. Plus, the first anthology was coming out in trade size paperback. So, when the second story arrived the following fall, it would coincide with the first anthology re-appearing in mass market size. Readers could snag both stories at the same time.
Still…writing a serialized story—stand-alone stories though they were—with a new hero and heroine in each story…dare I?
And the Hamilton Christmas series was born. There went on to be three stories total in the series, spread out over three consecutive holiday anthologies, each set in the same town, with the ongoing story thread being viewed through the eyes of each new hero-heroine in each outing. It was exciting to try something so out of the box, and the readers loved it!
Fast forward to last year, when my publisher, Kensington (whom I have since written many, many single titles and novellas for) announced that they were going to extract those three Hamilton Christmas novellas, give them their own pretty new covers, and release them to a brand new batch of readers, who would be able to get their hands on the full trilogy this fall.
Even more thrilling and fun, as these stories find new life, this is now my daily view as I write. Yes! I do now live in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. In fact, I’m currently writing a best-selling series set in the fictional mountain town of Blue Hollow Falls and I’ve never been happier in my life.
So it all comes full circle in a way, and I’m thrilled that my tiny mountain town of Hamilton will get new life—and it’s first ever appearance in digital form, to boot!
Read on to see the pretty new covers and a little bit about each story. UNLEASHED and LOCK, STOCK & JINGLE BELLS are on sale as of today! The final story, NAUGHTY BUT NICE, will arrive on October 30th. (Of this year. Seriously, I would never make you wait that long again.)
I hope you enjoy my trilogy with a twist!
A raging winter storm and a holiday spent pet-sitting
reveals there’s more than one kind of animal in the house .
When Emma Lafferty is hired by a billionaire CEO to watch
his pets over the holidays, she expects to enjoy a quiet
Christmas in opulent surroundings. What she doesn’t expect
is to spend the week trapped in the mansion with Trevor
Hamilton, the CEO’s sexy great-nephew—and heir—whose motives
are as shady as his desire is crystal clear . . .
The best holiday gifts aren’t always under the tree . . .
Holly hates the yuletide season more than ever since she
received her very early inheritance: her mother’s Christmas
novelty store. Now she has to put her life on hold to deal
with the shop, while her parents settle into their busy
sunny Florida retirement. But Holly’s childhood pal, Sean,
is determined to warm her up—to Christmas and to him. When
they uncover a diary concealing secrets involving both their
families, this could be the Christmas that changes their
lives forever . . .
ʼTis the season for sweet surprises . . .
Businessman Griffin’s never believed in luck . . . until
sassy-sweet small-town baker Melody turns his world around.
Except there’s a catch: There’s no way he’ll be able to
build his empire and hold on to her. This new love could
destroy all his dreams—or make this Christmas better than he
ever imagined possible . . .
About Donna Kauffman
USA Today bestselling author of the Bachelors of Blueberry Cove series, Donna Kauffman has been gratified to see her books get rave reviews in venues ranging from Kirkus Reviews and Library Journal to Entertainment Weekly and Cosmopolitan.
She lives in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains in western Virginia, where she is presently applying her crafty DIY skills to decorating her new mountainside abode. Well, when she isn’t busy trying to keep the bears from hanging out in her flower and vegetable garden all day and night!
With her new Brides of Blueberry Cove series, Donna’s been having a blast applying those same restoration and design skills to doing some fictional wedding planning. Of course, if that means haunting all those lovely antique shops and flea markets that are so plentiful in her new neck of the woods, well, it’s a sacrifice she’s willing to make. When she’s not finding ways to take her love of all things rustic and vintage and give them a fabulous seaside, coastal Maine wedding party twist, she loves to hear from readers!