Books and babies have a lot in common.
Many strong emotions surround the impending arrival of a baby. Hope. Excitement. Very hard labour. Panic! Tears. And, finally, sweet, sweet relief. And more tears.
It’s the same with how a book comes into the world. The process of bringing it forth can be messy and tough. There are moments when you question your life choices, and wonder whether you’re going to make it. When it finally comes out, you know that nobody quite loves it the way you do, but you hope and pray it’ll find its place in the world.
I’ve just published my thirteenth book, and the emotions are very similar to when I released my first. It’s my ninth novel. In between, I’ve also published four novellas.
After the Frost is the final novel in my Norway-based series. I’m still on a post-partum high, relieved that it’s out in the world.
The series features five friends in their mid-to-late forties. Long past the first blush of youth, they’re still single for a variety of reasons. One by one, they find forever love.
In After the Frost the heroine Reidun is truly “on the shelf,” the only single one left among the group of friends whose love stories unfold in the previous four books.
I’ve had four children, and my husband and I are the kind of parents who like to know as much as we can before our babies are born. We always find out whether we’re having a boy or a girl, and we pick first and middle names as soon as we’ve had that scan.
I have the same tendencies in my writing process. I create a detailed outline so that I know as much as I can about where the story is going before I write my first draft.
But just like the words “girl” and “boy” tell you nothing about what the actual baby is going to be like, my stories often turn out very different from my original outline.
Plotlines get changed or dropped, new characters show up whom I never intended on including. Other characters fade into the background, or are dropped entirely. And even though I plan each of my stories in detail, I’m always surprised when I hold my “book baby” in my arms and trace features I did not expect to see.
In life, do you like to find things out ahead of time, or do you prefer a surprise?
Here’s some information about my brand new book baby.
He’s a widower who has lost the perfect wife. So, why is he drawn to a woman who’s not the marrying kind?
Steinar is adjusting to life as a single dad of seven-year-old twins. He hoped that moving back to his home country would bring healing to his little family, but settling into their new home in a small Norwegian town is proving harder than he thought. His children struggle with the language and miss their life in England. Getting involved in the community might be the answer, and he’s happy to volunteer in the town’s Christmas festival.
Reidun bucks traditional roles and never thought of herself as wife material, nor the mothering type. But now that she’s the only single woman left in her friend group, she’s spending a lot more time alone than she’d like. She needs a new project to keep herself busy, and planning her small town’s first ever Christmas festival sounds perfect.
Amid the twinkling lights and festive preparations, Reidun doesn’t expect the single dad and his feisty twins to find the soft spot in her heart. They’re used to the perfect homemaking wife and mom, and she’s anything but.
This Christmas, they’re all about to learn that sometimes God’s perfect gifts come in the most unlikely packaging.
After the Frost is Book 5 in Milla Holt’s Seasons of Faith Christian romance series. Five friends were in the same wedding in a small Norwegian town over twenty years ago. Four bridesmaids, one bride. Now, two decades on, each woman learns that God’s timing is perfect as they find forever love later in life.