The best part about the months leading up to Christmas are all the holiday-themed stories that release. Usually we have to wait until October to get that Hallmark-esque feeling, but thanks to A Spark of Romance by Jamie Schmidt, we now have a holiday-centered romance surrounding Fourth of July. Schmidt’s slow burn story is filled with sweet encounters, ups and downs and a whole lot of hope. Read on for Schmidt’s tip for creating ‘sparks’ between characters, finding inspiration and her favorite trope.
What it’s about: Fire Chief and former Army sergeant Kayleigh Baker is determined to save Mulberry’s annual Fourth of July fireworks display. She doesn’t want to disappoint the kids and the fireworks are a bittersweet memory of her mom’s last summer. As the town prepares for the summer parade and picnic, Kayleigh works to convince her former high school crush — now the straight-laced police chief — to help her cause.
Police Chief Liam MacAvoy doesn’t like the chaos the fireworks cause for his department and can’t hide his relief when they’re cancelled. But now he’s got the woman he’s been in love with for as long as he can remember asking for his help. How can he say no? What he’d really like is to show her that fireworks and town traditions are not the only things worth fighting for.
What was your inspiration for A Spark of Romance?
My publisher, Tule, mentioned that Hallmark was looking for summer stories, similar to their Christmas television movies so I thought: “what if the 4th of July was like Christmas to my heroine?” And that was the spark for the story.
How do you create a ‘spark’ for your characters? Any tips for inspiring writers trying to create a spark between their characters?
I’m a firm believer that opposites attract, but there has to be a base of mutual respect between the characters in order for any romance to happen. Tension is the key in creating sparks so I would recommend inspiring writers to play around with people on the opposite side of an issue and see what sparks come out. While I personally would normally avoid politics, a good example of spark flying/opposites attract is from The Newsroom: Jeff Daniels’ American fiscal Republican Will McAvoy vs. Emily Mortimer’s British crusader MacKenzie McHale is a convoluted love story filled with angst and past betrayal. Another couple in that series also has great banter and sparks: Olivia Munn’s intellectual economic genius Sloan Sabbith butts heads with Thomas Sadoski’s low brow, good old boy Don Keefer in another satisfying opposites attract romance.
With over 30 books, how do you continue finding inspiration for writing new stories?
My brain is always thinking up new scenarios and meet cutes. I get a lot of inspiration from dreams. When I’m trying to fall asleep at night I tell myself stories and my subconscious takes over after I fall asleep.
What’s your favorite trope to write?
Opposites attract is a big favorite of mine, with a touch of enemies to lovers as well.