By Michelle Ule
Christmas may be 89 days away, but the publishers are busy releasing historical Christmas novella
I know. My stories are featuring in two of them.
But what makes novellas so popular at Christmas time?
The busyness of the season, perhaps--people don't have time to delve into a long novel when there are gifts to buy, trees to decorate, children to pacify and a host of church activities calling their names.
The novella collections I've written for (five) take about an hour to read--or, as I like to point out, about as long as it takes you to sip your way through a warm holiday beverage.
Some people like the variety of stories found in novella collections, just as they did in the 20th century when short story magazines were popular.
The collections generally revolve around a theme--sometimes loosely. My A Log Cabin Christmas Collection included nine stories that included romance, log cabins and Christmas.
Reading short stories or novellas aimed at the Christmas season have been a long-standing tradition, reaching back to Charles Dickens' 1843 The Christmas Carol. (Reading it aloud to audiences was one of Dickens' most successful "lectures." People wept every year!)
Many people are familiar with O. Henry's 1905 classic, The Gift of the Magi, with it's classic twist at the end.
And children run into the concept with The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, which has been a favorite of elementary school teachers for at least a decade.
2015 has a healthy crop of collections, ranging from the traditional A Pioneer Christmas Collection rerelease, to a longer three-author book called The Basket Brigade--three stories of women who worked during the Civil War to make sure soldiers headed home would get sympathy and something delicious to eat when the train stopped in Decatur, Illinois.
Last year, Barbour Publishing tried a different method of sharing novellas, with The 12 Brides of Christmas Collection. In 2014, one ebook was released each week during the twelve weeks leading up to December 25. Readers were invited to collect them all.
The stories were only 3/4 as long as the traditional novellas, and in 2015 have been collected into one book--an actual volume, rather than pixels. These stories take place across the prairielands of the United States and are, like the Twelve Days of Christmas song, hinged around a specific gift.
Cynthia Ruchti's first Christmas novella releases next week and is called An Endless Christmas.
A number of best-selling authors pen a Christmas tale each year. Debbie Macomber, for one, has been writing them since 1986. This years title? Dashing Through the Snow.
Anne Perry has been writing a Victorian-era Christmas story since 2003. This year's is called A Christmas Escape, and she wrote a pair of Victorian Christmas mysteries called Anne Perry's Merry Mysteries.
Goodreads has extensive lists of Christmas novellas, contemporary, historical, modern. It's a good place to start for ideas.
Interested in Christmas Cozy mysteries? Try this list.
It's hot out here in California as I type this on the first day of fall, and it's hard to imagine winter. But come December, Christmas novellas can help readers find a time away from the hustle and bustle, without having to travel, physically, very far from home.
Suggestions for 2015 Christmas novella reading. Click to Tweet
What attracts readers to Christmas novellas? Click to Tweet
What's your favorite Christmas novella?
The authors of The 12 Brides of Christmas are sponsoring a Goodreads Giveaway starting today. If you're interested in a 544 page book with twelve stories, click on the link!