I was curious about how much I would remember, rereading My Christmas Number One, because I read over this book many, many times in the querying and publication process. I’ve read it more times than any of my other books. But it has now been a full two years since I last read it, so certain things did strike me afresh.
I wrote My Christmas Number One in 2019, when my daughter was finally old enough for the morning play group in my area. I wrote it over a period of about four months, from January to April, initially with an American publisher in mind, who had put out a call for in-progress Christmas books and requested the full manuscript of this one when I finished.
Although that didn’t work out, it certainly motivated me to continue with this story, which combined a lot of my passions, mainly Latin music and Christmas music. For me, Christmas is all about the music, but my experience of Christmas music is less Michael Buble and more traditional church choir, as you might notice from the character of Cara. Anyone who’s sung from a copy of 100 Carols for Choirs, arranged by John Rutter, you’ll know what Christmas is for me! One day I’ll write a book about a choir, but I’m not sure the world is ready for it, yet!
The first chapter is interesting, because it remained relatively unchanged from the first draft, except the email exchange later in the chapter, which was added after the book was contracted. The introduction of Javi is still one of my favourite passages of all time, of any book I’ve written. He just grew on the page and that was how he wanted to be introduced.
He stumbled backwards at the end, the guitar sliding on his bare chest…
So, what parts stuck out to me rereading this time?
- Tropical party hits (still love that)
- ‘Nostalgia’! I wrote the first draft and then wove the song in afterwards!
- Wow, I got away with using ‘Google’ as a verb! My current proofreader would not let that one through LOL.
- ‘He was getting old’. Haha.
- Wow, I managed a chapter ending on a cliffhanger in chapter 1! I didn’t realise I’d learned that by then.
- Ah, Cara’s intrusive thoughts and imposter syndrome… Still gets me in the gut.
Their first meeting is REALLY awkward.
God help him if his eyes strayed anywhere below her chin.
Their relationship is such a delicate balance at the beginning. Although I wrote this in third person POV, it’s close third, meaning we are still in the head of one or the other character each scene and Cara and Javi at this stage are narrating the story very unreliably. They connected in the song, without intending to, but they haven’t accepted the connection, yet. Cara is jealous of the women from his past, but she can’t admit that to herself. She also already feels that his public persona and his private personality are very different, but it’s easier for her to believe he’s as shallow as he wanted people to think.
And Javi? He’s keeping her at a distance on purpose, provoking her and trying to convince her that there’s no depth to him. If he’s open with her, that pesky connection might get out of hand…..
If he was the eternal boy-child his ex-wife accused him of being, then Cara with her twenty-something-going-on-fifty was going to spend a lot of their time together with that pinched expression on her face.
Read the next part of the readlong here.