Cole Buskin is a country music star tackling his first acting gig, a television Christmas romance. And Cole wants his high school celebrity crush—Amanda—to co-star with him.
When these two stars cross, the attraction doesn't stop just because the director yells, "Cut!"
After I published my first novel, a very serious high school drama (Thirteen Reasons Why), people asked if there was another genre I wanted to write someday. I always answered, "Yes, a Christmas romance." They thought I was joking. When I later published a teen romance set on a Christmas tree lot (What Light), they finally realized I had been sincere.
Writing that book, I did two things to keep me wrapped in the Christmas spirit no matter the season, and because we don't have true seasons where I live in California. First, I lit scented candles (evergreen tree or gingerbread cookie). Second, I played non-stop country Christmas tunes (Alan Jackson's Let it be Christmas and Lady Antebellum's On This Winter's Night albums were great companions).
As someone who seeks Christmas love stories regardless of the medium, I eagerly await the flurry of them on television each winter. While writing What Light to some great holiday songs, immersed in a story of love taking root, the idea for a Christmas movie-within-a-movie starring a country music singer took hold. I took a break from writing my book and wrote the following script.
After I finished writing and chose to publish it as a book, I considered novelizing the screenplay first. But to keep the concept of the movie-within-a-movie clear and fun, I decided...no!
Whatever season you read it in, I hope the story of Amanda and Cole makes it feel like the coziest Christmas in your heart.
Christmas in July includes the lyrics to "Under the Mistletoe," written specifically for this story by JoanMarie. The first official cover-version, by Trey Pearson, can be heard here: