Friday, 24 January 2020

Friday Fiction Feature: Bluebell's Christmas Magic

Marie Laval joins us today to talk about her delightful novel, Bluebell’s Christmas Magic 

Thank you so much Lorraine for welcoming me on your blog to talk about Bluebell’s Christmas Magic which was released by Choc Lit on November 19th.  

I am very excited about Bluebell for two reasons. Firstly, it is my first ever Christmas romance, and secondly, it very nearly never happened… Indeed, only a few weeks before I completed the manuscript, I became so completely stuck I couldn’t see my way out of the plots and sub-plots and almost gave the whole thing up.

That’s the problem about embarking on a story with only a vague idea for the plot and letting your imagination take control. What is funny is that I always know exactly what the last scene is going to be, but I have no idea how to get there. There are many times when I wish I could plan more. In fact, every time I embark on a new story I am determined to do more planning, but every time I dive straight into it!

I first got the idea for Bluebell’s Christmas Magic during a family holiday in Coniston. It was summertime, and the weather and the scenery were absolutely glorious. And I thought… Why not set a story here - or rather in a fictional village very much inspired by Coniston? I started scribbling a few notes about possible characters and locations, and took plenty of photos.

I got the character of the hero straight away - he was going to be a grumpy French ex-serviceman who had been injured in combat and had come to a remote house in the Lakes to forget all about Christmas - but it took me a lot longer to work out what my heroine would be like… Until one day when I spotted an advert for a cleaning company… and that was it! I suddenly ‘got’ Cassie’s character. My heroine would be a cleaning lady and the rest just flowed from there.

Cassie Bell isn’t just a cleaning lady, even if her slogan is ‘Don’t let dust and grime get to you, call Bluebell to the rescue!’ She also tries to be a ‘good mood fairy’ and gives jokes to cheer her customers up. This means that I had to find jokes to write into the story too! I had a lot of fun going through Christmas cracker jokes, and asking my children to make some up for me. Of course, I couldn’t resist inventing a few jokes myself… but they weren’t always very successful and I was often the one laughing!

A bit of a twist for your readers now, Lorraine… Cassie wasn’t going to be called Cassie at all. Until the last line edits, she was called Clara Bell, but my editor told me that she wasn’t keen on the name because it was the name of an American clown! I therefore had to come up with a new name very quickly. You can realise the panic I was in. As a writer, picking the right name for your main characters is absolutely essential. It takes time, the name has to sound right, to suit the character’s personality and appearance, and be compatible with the names of the other protagonists too. Anyway, I was lucky. After playing around with a few ideas, I found Cassie and it fitted my heroine perfectly.

Here is the twist… My editor mentioning a clown gave me an idea for my next heroine!  

A gorgeous new Christmas story from the author of bestselling novel Little Pink Taxi

A flick of a feather duster and a sprinkle of Christmas magic …

Cassie Bell is used to mess. Her cleaning business, Bluebell Cleaning, is well known in the Cumbrian village of Red Moss. However, now it’s almost Christmas and Cassie has a slightly messier situation to deal with than she’s used to. She’s been hired to help Stefan Lambert, an injured army helicopter pilot who’s staying at the local Belthorn Manor whilst he recovers. Stefan resents Cassie’s interference and is definitely not looking for Christmas cheer. But Cassie prides herself on sparkling surfaces – so, can she bring some festive sparkle to Stefan’s life too?

Bluebell’s Christmas Magic is available in ebook and audio book here

About the author:
Originally from Lyon in France, Marie now lives in Lancashire with her family. She works full-time as a modern languages teacher and in her spare time she loves writing romance and dreaming about romantic heroes. She writes both historical and contemporary romance and best-selling Little Pink Taxi was her debut romantic comedy novel with Choc Lit. She belongs to Authors on the Edge and writes short stories for the best selling Miss Moonshine’s anthologies. She is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association and the Society of Authors. Her native France, as well as her passion for history and research, very much influences her writing, and all her novels have what she likes to call ‘a French twist’!

Please feel free to contact Marie on Facebook ( or Twitter (

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