This Christmas, The Wild Rose Press is offering a series of holiday-themed stories. The title of each book contains the name of a Christmas cookie. Today we're taking a look at Kimberly Baer's SNOWDROP DREAMS, CHERRY THUMBPRINT SCREAMS, which releases November 29, 2021. Thanks for visiting, Kimberly. This looks like a great read!
1. A noise in my attic inspired this book. The noise was probably just boards settling, but my imagination went wild: What if somebody was living up there? What if they waited for me to go to work each day and then dropped down through the trap door to raid my pantry and root though my dresser drawers? What circumstances might drive somebody to hide out in a stranger’s attic? How would they have gotten in? Before I knew it, I had a rudimentary plot for a romantic suspense story.
2. This book is part of The Wild Rose Press’s Christmas Cookies series, and all the book titles contain the names of cookies. The cookie names I chose tie in with plot points. “Snowdrop Dreams” refers to Annie’s long-time crush on Sam and an incident from their youth in which they took a tumble (a DROP) into a SNOWbank while sled-riding. “Cherry Thumbprint Screams” is meant to evoke something more horrific: bloody fingerprints.
3. I put my own experiences into the story. The stunt Annie pulled at age fourteen to get the attention of the guy she liked is the same one I pulled at the same age and for the same reason. The abuse she suffered at the hands (literally!) of the guy who sat behind her in tenth grade homeroom? That happened to me, too.
4. If Annie seems bitter, it’s because she is. Long ago, she lost her only child, an infant son. Over the years, her grief has solidified into resentment toward peers who have attained the one thing she wants above all else: parenthood. She’s brusque with her pregnant employee. She disdains parents who post about their children’s accomplishments on social media. Go easy on her, okay? Her hostility is coming from a place of great pain.
5. Snowdrop Dreams isn’t a fantasy story, but some subtle mystical elements are woven into the plot. Of course, fiction isn’t the only place you’ll find such elements. I believe that the supernatural is all around us, and we can find it if we look hard enough. (If you’ve never heard the story of my mystical calendar, check out my blog “The Calendar That Predicted My Husband’s Death.”)
When Annie Barkley discovers a boy living in the attic of her cookie shop, she’s stunned—and oddly elated. She can almost believe the universe is giving her back the infant son she lost eleven years ago.
Annie senses that something bad happened to the boy, but he won’t talk. All she knows is that he’s terrified of being found. When her long-ago crush, police captain Sam Stern, stops by to inquire about a missing boy, Annie says she hasn’t seen him.
Big mistake. Because that lie might cost her more than a romance with Sam. It also leaves her vulnerable to a ruthless pursuer, one who’s determined to silence the boy for good.
Book trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=giM9IljM448
She was startled by a thump from above, followed by the muffled slide of the attic window, first up, then down. The groan of floorboards beneath traipsing feet.
Goosebumps prickled across her scalp. Why hadn’t she thought to grab something to use for self-defense? A knife or a fork or Gram’s old cast-iron baking pan, which maybe, just maybe, would deflect bullets. There might be a metal nail file in her purse, except she had no time to hunt for it, because the trap door was creaking open, and—oh, God!—someone was coming down the stairs.
Footfalls thudded across the floor, mere feet from where she was hunkered behind the island. Squinting through the grainy dimness, she peeked around the corner in time to glimpse a slight, dark figure creeping into the room out front. She got to her feet and followed.
She came to a halt just beyond the doorway. The big neon clock on the rear wall glowed blue, giving the room a bar-like ambience. The cookie burglar was standing behind the counter to her left, cramming snowdrop cookies into his mouth.
God in heaven, it was a boy. The cookie burglar was a boy. And he was eleven. She was sure of that, even though the light was dim and she was seeing him only in profile. Something about him seemed familiar—his slouched shoulders, perhaps, or the long, straight slope of his nose. He was slender like her, though a few inches shorter. His hair was matted and dark but with a good shampooing would probably be the same tawny shade as her own.
An eleven-year-old brown-haired boy, come down from above to burgle her cookie shop…
She stepped forward with a gasp. “Jonah?”
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