SP: Hi Chelsea! So glad to have you here on the Spinning Pen! You have an incredibly exciting four book deal with a unique release model that frankly, we have not seen done before in the mainstream YA publishing world. People are saying it’s like Netflix but with books! We’d love to hear more about how this exciting model works!
CB: Thank you SO MUCH for having me! I am so excited to be a part of this new model within traditional publishing that, honestly, indie authors have been excelling at for years, the reason being that they understand that readers love to binge their favorite books just as much as people love to binge their favorite shows—we don’t want to wait to find out what happens next to our favorite characters. So I was thrilled to be able to write this 4-book series over the course of 1 year with the intention of all of the books being rapid-released leading up to Christmas. The other thing I love about this series is that, while each book centers on a different couple, the couples are all connected in some way, and they are also all connected to the small (fictional) town of Christmas, Virginia, so that the story of Book 1’s couple, for example, isn’t over at “The End” of Book 1—you’ll still get to see how they’re doing in the background of the other books, and that’s true of all of the couples.
So, without further ado, here are the books and short summaries of each one:
All I Want for Christmas is The Girl Next Door (Book 1, available now): Graham Wallace has been in love with the girl next door for a decade. Unfortunately, she’s been dating his best friend for the past two years. Out of sheer desperation, Graham makes a wish on a shooting star–all he wants for Christmas is Sarah Clarke.
When Graham wakes up the next morning, everything has changed, and he’s the one who’s been dating Sarah for the past two years, not his best friend. Graham assumes the wish would have only come true if he and Sarah were meant to be together, but as it becomes clear that he and Sarah bring out the worst in each other, not the best, and as he starts to fall for the new girl in town, Graham wonders if some wishes come true in order to show us what’s not meant to be.
All I Want for Christmas is The Girl In Charge (Book 2, available Nov. 10): Former child prodigy and recent juvenile delinquent Beckett Hawthorne has arrived in Christmas, Virginia to spend his community service hours working at his uncle’s Christmas tree farm, but when his high school’s production of A Pride and Prejudice Christmas suddenly needs a new Darcy, Beckett finds himself starring opposite Evelyn Waverley, who has a way of melting the permafrost around his heart and making him wish for things he never thought possible. Now if only his past would stop coming back to haunt him.
All I Want for Christmas is The Boy I Can’t Have (Book 3, available Dec. 1): Isla Riddle has been obsessed with True Love for as long as she can remember, which is why she loves working for her mother’s wedding planning business, but things get complicated when she falls for August Harker, the brother of their first high-society bride with a million-dollar budget. August seems to be falling for Isla too, but with a controlling father dictating his every move, can August find the courage to walk away from the path his father has chosen and finally choose something for himself?
All I Want for Christmas is The Girl Who Can’t Love (Book 4, available Dec. 22): College freshman Savannah Mason doesn’t believe in love. To her, love is just a series of biological impulses that can either be ignored or controlled. But the student in charge of the archaeological dig she’s been assigned to, Jordan Merrick, disagrees. He’s seen the real thing in a collection of love letters dating back to the Revolutionary War, letters between a patriot soldier and the girl he left behind. As he and Savannah set out to solve the mystery of what happened to the couple, Jordan becomes determined to prove her wrong—but will Savannah run away before her heart gets any more involved than it already has?
SP: Wow, the books all sound so exciting! What do you think of the model so far? What was it like writing four books knowing they would be released so quickly?
The model has been incredible! I really loved getting the opportunity to stay in this Christmas world for the past year, especially considering how dark and uncertain our own world has been. I had already written Book 1 (The Girl Next Door) before the deal, which is the book that got my editor interested in a series, so I was tasked with writing Books 2-4 between August 2020 an August 2021, a task which I could not have accomplished without the help of my husband and my mother-in-law holding down the fort at home on my writing days. I will be completely honest that Books 2 and 3 were a bit less stressful to write simply because I felt like I had all the time in the world with them, but I started writing Book 4 in early June with only 12 weeks to complete the first draft, and because my main character in that book, Savannah, is extra stubborn, the writing of the book became an extra stubborn process as well. There were many hair-pulling moments and even more desperate prayers sent up during the writing of Book 4, but I am so happy to say that it ended up being everything I wanted it to be and so much more (all glory to God—I can faithfully and firmly attest that nothing in this book, or in this series, was done in my own strength, but by His grace alone).
SP: The covers are AMAZING—cozy, and perfect for Christmas reads. Again, we have never heard of a Series Cover Reveal—how did the covers get set up so quickly?
CB: It seemed quick because they were all ready to be revealed at once (Book 1’s cover was revealed in early September, but Books 2-4 were all revealed on the same day in mid-October), but my editor and her team have worked on each book cover pretty much as soon as they received each draft from me. So Book 1’s cover they got to work on right away, followed by Book 2’s cover after I’d submitted Book 2 (around early January 2021, I think), and so on with the other books. They had the least amount of time to work on Book 4’s cover simply because of the nature of it being the last book, but it came out just as amazing as the other three! My favorite detail is that the font color of each book’s title is the same color as the background of the cover that came before it, so the title of Book 2 is in the same red as the background of Book 1, the title of Book 3 is the same color as the background of Book 2, and the title of Book 4 is the same background color as Book 3. I mean, who even thinks of something like that? Genius!
SP: Wise Wolf Books is pretty innovative and smart. They must know that people LOVE binging holiday stories both in book and film format. So how does marketing work with this model?
CB: Honestly, the biggest thing you can do to market a series like this is to have all of the information and preorder links (in the case of e-copies) available at the end of each book so that when a reader finishes Book 1, they can go ahead and preorder (or order, if it’s already out by the time they’ve read) Book 2, and so forth with each subsequent book (in the case of physical copies, each book has the summary of the next book in the series along with its release date). The idea behind this is that the momentum of a reader falling in love with the characters and the world you’ve created is already there, and you are offering them the consideration of not making them have to (a) wait for the next book, and (b) remember that there even is another book coming, because in the typical model, you might have to wait an entire year before the next book comes out. With the rapid-release model, you don’t have to leave this world that you’ve fallen in love with. You can sail right into the next book, and as a reader myself, I find that to be the greatest blessing.
SP: How did you get this deal to begin with and what were your initial thoughts on the 4-book release model?
CB: This was a total God thing. I didn’t go seeking out Wise Wolf Books because they were a new imprint that hadn’t even announced they were officially acquiring yet. My good friend, Nova McBee, was the first author they acquired, and as she was telling me about them, I wondered if my little Christmas book that I loved so much might be a good fit for them. Nova thought it would be and, bless her, told Wise Wolf about my book. My editor reached out to read and the deal came through not long after. I think the whole process took maybe a month? Wise Wolf’s one caveat was that they really wanted to offer readers really engaging and captivating series as opposed to stand-alone books (for the reasons I already talked about, because they have their pulse on the fact that readers love to binge!), and while I didn’t have any specific book ideas for a series at the time, I asked God to give me direction, and then Books 2-4 fell into my head over the span of about 24 hours. I submitted the summaries for each of those books to my editor and thank God she was just as excited about them as I was, and the rest was history.
SP: Ok, we’re almost done and it’s time for the lightening round! Early bird or night owl?
Early bird. Like, 4:30 a.m. early.
SP: Most obscure hobby?
I’m pretty boring when it comes to obscure hobbies (maybe someday I’ll pick up underwater basket weaving). For now, my two main hobbies are reading (of course) and watching college football (and by “watching,” I mean constantly dissecting the stats and schedules of Top 10 teams while cheering on my own team.)
SP: Word you can never spell? This may be a trick question.
For some reason I had a hard time with “rhythm” for a long time. Finally got it down though. I think.
SP: Alright, time’s up! We’re so sad to see you go! Womp. Womp. BUT…there’s way more where this came from. Where can we go to read more from you?
My website is chelseabobulski.com and I also have a Facebook author page under “Chelsea Bobulski,” but I spend most of my time on Instagram (@chelseabobulski).
Thanks for having me! This was so fun!