Cara Malone - Christmas on Emerald Mountain

For our December meeting of the Lesfic Book Club, we discussed my novel, Christmas on Emerald Mountain. If you weren't able to make it, check out the transcript below.

A couple of notes on the transcript:

If you want to join us live, we discuss lesfic novels every month at (sign up or follow me on Twitter to find out what we're reading next). Some chat participants requested that their names be obscured, so below you'll see that everyone has been anonymized as Reader 1, Reader 2, etc.

Cara Malone

It’s it’s its… book club time!

Reader 1 4:00 PM

squealing begins

Cara Malone 4:01 PM

So I wanted to start off with a giveaway - I did a little cover design overhaul for this season and I just got the new paperback in the mail. It’s really purdy and I want to send a signed copy to somebody.

Reader 2 4:02 PM

Yay! I love the new cover!!

Reader 3 4:02 PM


Cara Malone 4:02 PM

If you want that somebody to be you, DM me with your favorite holiday lesfic book or favorite holiday movie. I’ll pick the winner at random this time tomorrow

Reader 4 4:00 PM

Will this book ever have a sequel?

Cara Malone 4:03 PM

I think I’d be more likely to go back to Emerald Mountain with a different couple and have a cameo with Joy and Carmen, rather than do an actual sequel.

Reader 3 4:03 PM

you can send all your prior characters there

or we can vote to send our favorites there. A Cara reunion

Cara Malone 4:04 PM

Ooh, I love that idea. I didn’t do an anthology this year because my bout of depression kinda crushed my autumn plans but this would be a really cool way to do it for 2020.

Reader 3 4:05 PM

Honestly, I just want to go to Emerald Mountain. I live in Colorado and it still sounded idyllic

Cara Malone 4:07 PM

I based it on my own skiing and winter experiences around Ohio, plus some online research into a defunct ski resort out there. Glad it resonated with a Coloradan!

Sequels featuring the same couple are really difficult to get right and the Rulebook series damn near killed me

Reader 5 4:04 PM

OMG, the Rulebook series was amazing! (Sorry, off on a tangent...)

Reader 1 4:06 PM

I mean I feel like there's a lot that still can be done with Joy and Carmen but also I would physically die of squealing if you did release a sequel featuring them so that's probably the best idea

Cara Malone 4:08 PM

I agree, I would love to know what happens on their road trip, same as I’m curious about what Raven and Kit are up to from Trail Magic. Writing an actual road trip adventure book is on my bucket list so maybe down the line both couples make cameos in a road trip story.

Reader 1 4:08 PM

Also definitely seconding the part about how I would love to go there especially if it involves a cute girl smashing my shins to oblivion

Cara Malone 4:10 PM

That scene was based on real life. Unfortunately, in my case, I got whiplash and the snowboarder was a jerk who just kept going!

Reader 3 4:06 PM

One thing I really liked about this book is how each day strategically brought them closer while also making the trip better for the family. It made the timeline believable

Reader 1 4:07 PM

Oh definitelyyyyy it really nailed the whirlwind romance aspect like that, with each day feeling so meaningful

Reader 6 4:07 PM

It was also funny for me, as I got closer to the end of the week and I’m wondering “How is Cara going to give us the ending we want?” And then she did

Cara Malone 4:09 PM

Believe me, I was thinking the same thing :joy: This was one of the first books I ever wrote largely by dictation so the process was different than my previous ones, more improvised.

Reader 1 4:10 PM

You did it via dictation?? Heck you're even more amazing than I thought and that was already a very high bar

Cara Malone 4:12 PM

I did probably 50% of the first draft by dictation - I was learning how, so it took a while to get the rhythm. And if memory serves, this book took two complete tear down and rewrites until I was happy with it… most of my dictation books do, ugh haha

Reader 1 4:17 PM

That's gutsy :joy::joy: I'm too weak to even admit to the kind of books I write in the first place so

Cara Malone 4:15 PM

Haha yeah you definitely need proper dictating atmosphere. I like to write my scene on an index card then go for a walk at the park. I used to stop when I saw people coming but I’ve run out of fucks to give on that subject

Reader 1 4:09 PM

The ending was absolutely a wild ride :sob: the part with Joy just dropping out of contact broke my heart like eight distinct times

Reader 4 4:13 PM

Am I right in thinking it was the snow globe that convinced Carmen to stay? I'm guessing she realized the significance of it being something of importance to Joy and that it showed that the relationship wasn't just a fling to Joy.

Cara Malone 4:23 PM

Yep :blush: It started out with Carmen simply determined to give it back to Joy because it was precious to both of them, but the longer it took her to accomplish that goal, the more time she had to think about what her life without Joy would be like

Reader 3 4:13 PM

So where did the idea come from for this book?

Cara Malone 4:24 PM

I knew I wanted to write a Christmas romance, and honestly it started as a take on A Christmas Carol/Scrooge just because I was writing it in the middle of summer and was having a hard time getting into the holiday spirit. I knew I wanted to create a very Hallmark-y, festive ski town from my own skiing experiences, and the characters grew from there.

Reader 7 4:18 PM

Which part of this book was most difficult for you to work through?

Cara Malone 4:25 PM

Which part of this book was most difficult for you to work through?

It was surprisingly difficult to make sure it was packed to the gills with holiday vibes when I was writing it in August. I kept sending it to my editor and she kept sending it back like, “MORE CHRISTMAS!”

Reader 5 4:26 PM

I can just imagine your editor throwing the book at you and screaming haha

Reader 2 4:26 PM

That's funny! It's like Christmas is July but in August haha

Reader 1 4:27 PM

Honestly never would have imagined it was written in August so I think your editor did her job

Cara Malone 4:29 PM

She definitely had a big role in making this book - I don’t think it would have been as successful as it was if she wasn’t willing to keep pushing back at me and critiquing. She’s a godsend.

Reader 2 4:22 PM

What's your favorite part of writing Lesfic?

Cara Malone 4:28 PM

My favorite part of lesfic is the community - I don’t know of any other genre that has as much reader-author interaction and I’ve made so many friends I can’t even believe it. My favorite part of actually writing lesfic is getting inside the characters’ heads, trying to figure out how to bring them together in a way that’s going to be meaningful beyond just the romance itself.

Reader 2 4:28 PM

If you could have Joy and Carmen meet one other couple, who would you choose? There's SO many good couples you have...

Cara Malone 4:31 PM

I think it would be fun to do a Christmas cross-over with Serenity and Liv, and if not them, then I’m sticking with my original answer of having them go on a leg of a road trip with Raven and Kit.

Reader 6 4:31 PM

Yes, every character feels like a real person, with a life before and after the book!

Reader 8 4:33 PM

This may have already been asked, but what is your favorite holiday f/f story, written by another author?

Cara Malone 4:37 PM

I really wish I had time these days to be better-read so I could have more answers to this :smile: I love anything AE Radley does and A Christmas Swedish Fairy Tale is awesome, and we read Miranda McLeod’s Holme for the Holidays for last year’s Christmas book club pick, which was hilarious and adorable.

Reader 1 4:33 PM

So the book is two years old, isn't it? Do you feel like the age shows for you or that the way you write lesfic has changed since then, or do you think it's still true to you as an author now?

Cara Malone 4:39 PM

Before I started publishing as Cara, I’d only ever written one full-length novel before, so I had no idea what to expect as far as how my writing would evolve. I think Emerald Mountain shows more of my literary fiction background than my more current books, which are more specifically romance genre. I’d say it’s still true to me but I like to think my writing style and mechanics have improved since then

Reader 1 4:41 PM

Did not even know you had a literary past before publishing as Cara!! I feel like I'm uncovering the Cara Malone Deep Lore

Cara Malone 4:42 PM

Well, I should qualify that by saying my original goal was to write haughty literary fiction and get published by a Big 5 publisher. Except my stuff back then was really weird and Random House was never gonna be interested

Reader 4 4:45 PM

Cara also writes sci-fi under the Mae Orwell pen name. Watchers. Fighters. Destroyers. I still need to read those 3. I am so far behind on my reading.

Reader 2 4:47 PM

They are amazing!!!! I still need to read the finished books I've only read the drafts so far on Wattpad

Reader 3 4:47 PM

Just out of curiosity, did you ever add up the cost of this lovely family vacation? Lol

Cara Malone 4:48 PM

Nope but that’s a fun idea… like when CinemaSins added up the damage in Christmas Vacation

Reader 4 4:49 PM

Oh, there's my weird question for the day! :open_mouth: Is there a possibility in the future we can get a sci-fi lesfic romance Christmas is space book any time in the future?

Cara Malone 4:51 PM

Haha love it :smile: I’m going to say definitely not as Cara because it would confuse the hell out of everybody who’s used to me writing contemporary romance, but I do think it could be an entertaining project for Mae. Sounds right up my alley as far as weird/absurdist stories go!

Aaand now you guys got me wanting to start writing for Mae again because I was going to let that pen name lie for a while, but it’s fun to get out of romance now and then.

Reader 1 4:52 PM

I feel like there's a weirdly large amount of lesbian sci-fi (not that that's something I'd ever ever complain about) so like honestly go for it

Okay but the real question I want to know is what did Carmen and Joy do next after the book ended like that's the one we all want to know right

Cara Malone 4:55 PM

Oh no. Is this a real question I have to answer?

Reader 5 4:57 PM

Oooh, that's an interesting question actually... If you continue a story in your head, is it really finished though??

Reader 3 4:55 PM

Ok, beyond the immediate enjoyment of the massive cabin...

have you thought what happened?

Cara Malone 4:56 PM

I would be fascinated to know among other authors, what percentage of them actually carry on the story in their heads after they type ‘the end’ and what percent don’t.

Reader 3 4:56 PM

And whether it's book dependent

I know it is for me

Reader 6 4:56 PM

I was going to say that “As an author, I prefer to let my work speak for itself” was the obvious non-answer, but I figure I shouldn’t tell you how not to answer a question I want to know the answer to

Reader 1 4:57 PM

The first romance I wrote I cried when it ended because I didn't want it to be over yet so I think it's pretty clear at least I keep thinking long after what they do

Cara Malone 4:58 PM

I definitely feel this way about my series when I decide to end them, but it’s usually about losing the opportunity to keep exploring those characters/that setting rather than the actual place where I leave my characters.

Guilty @Reader 6 - I never know when to stop! When you’re writing a romance, it’s so hard to tell if “I want more” means “you stopped too soon” or “I really loved it and I will always want more no matter where you stop”

Reader 1 4:58 PM

But for real I was like "Carmen just go stay in Joy's apartment already, she has a second bed open but I know you won't need it anyway"

Reader 3 4:58 PM

well... both?

Cara Malone 4:59 PM

I think I’m going to opt not to answer the question for the time being. We’ll all find out together if/when I cameo Joy and Carmen in another story in the future

Reader 3 5:06 PM

What's next after lakeside #5?

Cara Malone 5:07 PM

I’ll probably write a standalone - maybe that road trip story because I almost wrote a road trip adventure instead of Good Vibes - and then I’m going back to Fox County for another book in the forensics series.

Reader 1 5:15 PM

Do you have more Christmas romances in you, or does it just depend on what kind of inspirations hit you?

Cara Malone 5:15 PM

Oh definitely - I’ve been meaning to do another one for the last couple of years but it’s just a matter of timing

I probably would have written another one this year if I didn’t do the ShudderCon collaboration, but that took up my summer writing slot

Reader 4 5:16 PM

What about other holidays? Like Halloween? Perhaps in a murder mystery?

Reader 1 5:17 PM

Halloween romance doesn't sound half-bad you know how the gays love Halloween

Cara Malone 5:17 PM

Yeah, Halloween is on my list, and Valentine’s Day is an obvious one for a romance author.

Reader 9 5:17 PM

Im sensing a holiday series.

Cara Malone 5:17 PM

The only thing that’s stopped me from writing a Halloween romance thus far is that I haven’t quite gotten inspired as to how to blend contemporary romance and horror - it is possible, but I need to figure it out

Reader 1 5:18 PM

A horror romance sounds... I mean, I'd read it

Reader 5 5:18 PM

Maybe two people are dressed up for Halloween and they don't actually see each others face, then maybe two people meet under normal circumstances or something, and it turns out it was those two people who met at Halloween and didn't know it, lol.