Today, A.J. Morrow is on a visit to talk about her upcoming release, A Christmas Exchange which will be released tomorrow! Welcome, A.J.
Christmas is often a time of contradictions; the cold and dark of winter is contrasted against hot chocolate and lights, while we celebrate family and the spirit of giving as we indulge head first into consumerism. Personally, I think the dual message of the holiday is part of its beauty. Warm mulled wine tastes better when you’re cold, after all.
Part of what I wanted to explore in my newest story, A Christmas Exchange, was this idea of complimenting contradictions–I love the idea of two fundamentally very different people being made better because of each other. Paired with a Christmas setting and a fun, secret-santa set up, and the story of Rachel and Emily soon took shape!
While writing this novella, I did my best to get into the holiday spirit–from watching Christmas movies to baking gingerbread cookies, I did it all. Because of the pandemic, I was only able to do a few ‘outside’ activities, which made me certain that I would include plenty of scenes where the characters were having fun in the snow, at Christmas markets, or with their friends. We could all do with a bit of escapism at the moment, and Christmas really is all about the important people in your life.
Rachel works most days at a cafe in the middle of a small British town. Working alongside her, however, is Emily – the confident American who Rachel has been secretly in love with for months. Shy and often anxious, Rachel doesn’t know if she could ever act on her feelings, even as the rest of her coworkers raise their eyebrows in disbelief.
As the holiday season approaches, Rachel’s best friend, Ryan, suggests a secret santa among the workers of the cafe – and, while she’s certain the game is rigged, Rachel can’t help but be happy that she picks Emily’s name out of the bag. Even after the anxiety about what to get her kicks in.
Over the course of a few weeks, Rachel has to figure out a present while also not making it obvious who she got as her secret santa, and what follows is a series of awkward conversations, totally-subtle-flirting and more than one Christmas-themed outing. Will Rachel choose the right gift and come to terms with her feelings, or will she remain in the friend-zone forever?
A Christmas Exchange comes out on the 18th of December.