Writing in the Christmas Spirit with Elisabeth Fairchild

Posted by December 20th, 2013

The Christmas SpiritWith the holidays approaching, we’re steeped in the Christmas spirit–the smell of pine trees wafting through the chill air, people buzzing about, doing last-minute holiday shopping, and gorgeous holiday displays and decorations. 

How do you convey the wonder of the holiday through fiction? We invited author Elisabeth Fairchild to talk to us about writing in the Christmas spirit and her regency novel by the same name.


How do you define the Christmas spirit?

For me, the heart and soul of Christmas is in humanity’s finest expression of light, warmth and joyful giving in the heart of a dark, cold, season of endings. The Christmas spirit warms even the loneliest of souls given we open our hearts to a sense of wonder and celebration, choosing to interact positively with the world around us.

I usually set out to have a memorable Christmas. Often, the best of plans go awry. Writing any book is, for me, a search for heroic and historical truths. In THE CHRISTMAS SPIRIT, I focused on the Yuletide season’s potential for hope, magical moments and joy in a reality I think we can all relate to–where the best of plans for “the best Christmas ever” are turned upside down.

I’ve had a Christmas or two turned upside down, and in many ways those less than perfect holidays tend to refocus everyone’s attention on what is truly important in life, in giving, and in faith. For my character Lord Copeland and his least anticipated guest, the Christmas Season is a time when lives and souls are unexpectedly at stake. What starts out as a light-hearted holiday gathering–a search for the ghostly Christmas spirit that haunts a snowbound country house–proves a test of spiritual conviction and strength of character.

Does this mean THE CHRISTMAS SPIRIT is a paranormal Regency? Well, I set out to write a very traditional English Christmas story set in the Regency era, and one of the most traditional of English tales is the Christmas ghost story, so THE CHRISTMAS SPIRIT is all of the above.

I love rooting my writing in real history, settings and events–which means I searched for real ghosts. The country house setting for THE CHRISTMAS SPIRIT, Broomhill Hall, is inspired by Bramshill. Known as the most haunted country house in Hampshire, a royal family held an exorcism at Bramshill to rid the place of the rambling “White Lady” who haunted their Fleur De Lys room. A grey lady is to be seen in their conservatory and a green man near the pond. A child’s spirit may take your hand if you are lucky enough to visit the angels in the Cope family chapel. Best of all, I learned the legend of the Mistletoe Bough–perfect fodder for a romantic Christmas ghost story in the grand old English tradition. Here was a houseful spirits who might remind us of the highest stakes possible in searching for the true Christmas Spirit, plus mistletoe.

Most writers add elements of their own lives to their works. I’m no exception. Having spent a year in Denmark working in a haunted castle, I felt compelled to add the Danish tradition of woven hearts to a story that dealt so much with broken ones.

May your Christmas, upside down, or right side up, broken-hearted, or cherished, be blessed with heartfelt expressions of love, warmth and comfort in the face of the year’s cold, wintry end–and may your heart and soul be lifted and filled with the joyful promise of life everlasting.


Elisabeth_FairchildAbout the Elisabeth Fairchild:

Donna Gimarc, aka: Elisabeth Fairchild is the critically acclaimed, theme driven author of seventeen Jane Austen era romances, historical novels and novellas awarded the Golden Quill, the HOLT Medallion, the Bookseller’s Best, a Waldenbooks Bestseller of the Year, and a Career Achievement Award in Regency romance. To learn more about her and her work, visit her website.

With one foot firmly fixed in the past, and the other dancing in the otherworldly, Elisabeth avidly explores cathedrals, castles and country houses, and considers herself a historical mentalist with old soul insight, a phenomenal floor-to-ceiling research library, two brilliant, mind-reading, magical Border collies and a wild, one-eyed black cat.

More from the Book Country BlogYou might also like: Mary Kay Andrews: Christmas Came Early . . . Way Early.



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11 thoughts on “Writing in the Christmas Spirit with Elisabeth Fairchild

  1. Sabine Starr

    Elizabeth Fairchild always touches our hearts with her wonderful books. I particularly enjoyed reading about her inspiration for The Christmas Spirit. What a bright light for the holidays.

    1. Donna Gimarc

      Thanks Sabine. I hope you are planning a wonderful Christmas full of your own Western brand of Christmas spirit. I’ve read your Gone Bad series and love the fast-paced Wild Wild West approach to your story telling.

  2. Kathleen Baldwin

    Hello Elisabeth!
    I LOVED your book, theChristmas Spirit. So moving! I cried. I’ve read it twice and it is still a delight. Just hearing you talk about it makes me want to go read it again.
    Thank you for writing it.
    BTW: I also enjoyed your other Christmas book,Sugarplum Surprises.

    1. Elisabeth Fairchild

      Hi Kathleen, So glad to hear you are a reader after my own heart, who experienced the same emotions I did in writing The Christmas Spirit. Glad to hear you enjoyed Sugarplum Surprises as well. My best wishes for a wonderful Christmas.

  3. Gretchen Craig

    Your novel Sugarplum Surprises is one of my all time favorite romances, Elisabeth. I haven’t read all of them yet, but am making my way through them. Thanks for a chance to read something about your own life and about how you put your themes into your work. Fascinating look into an author’s mind!

    1. Elisabeth Fairchild

      Hi Gretchen, I am so glad you love Sugarplum Surprises. I rather unexpectedly wrote that book during a Christmas snowstorm much like the one we have experienced this year. Usually a Christmas book ends up being written at any time other than Christmas, so it was a rare treat, with Christmas music, hot chocolate and the silent beauty of the snow to fill me with inspiration.


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