It’s time for a Christmas at Gingerbread Falls (Breaking Night Press) of the author Katie Mettner, who we’re sitting down for a cup of tea, maple scone and a cozy chat. Well, sadly, we’re not actually in the same room, but Katie’s new novel and her warm personality are so full of comfortable holiday spirit that it really feels like we are. 

Actress Carrie Murray’s films are a Christmas-lover’s perfect escape. Wrapped up in ribbons of twinkling lights, festively cheerful carols and the inevitable happy endings, they’re the perfect escape from reality for both her and the audience. Then Tinseltown calls. Braxton Timothy is Hollywood’s biggest action star. Handsome and talented but decidedly on the naughty list, no one can fathom his sudden desire to produce a feel-good Christmas movie, least of all his nameless co-star.

Alternating between scenes reminiscent of everyone’s favorite made-for-TV movies and unexpected, off-screen chemistry, the town of Gingerbread Falls has surprises in store this holiday season. The question is, will there be enough Christmas magic to convince two imperfect people that they’re perfect for each other? We won’t put that spoiler here, but we’ll ask everything else we can to the author while we have the chance! So grab a mug and a cookie and read on, then grab a fuzzy blanket and read our review here.

Q: How did you develop the desire to write romance books? 

A: For me, it was more about finding time to write again. After my below-knee amputation in 2011 I made that happen. I sat down and wrote the story of Sugar DuBois. I wrote it as a romantic suspense, mainly because you can’t have a hot federal agent come in to protect a gorgeous female witness and not have them fall in love, right? What I learned from writing Sugar’s Dance, and the subsequent books in her series, was this: people with disabilities were aching for romance novels that depicted them in a fair and accurate way. So, while I initially set out to write murder and mayhem, I fell in love with my readers who fell in love with my romances.

Q: In A Christmas at Gingerbread Falls, your characters are involved in the movie business and the Hollywood scene. Do you have experience there that prompted you to bring this into your book? 

A: Not even a little bit, unless you count experience in watching cheesy Hallmark Christmas movies from October until January. The book started out as a short story for a library event, and when I first heard about the contest, I just happened to be watching a Christmas flick. It was kismet, and I sat right there and wrote the whole short story during the movie. It was the most fun I’ve ever had writing. The ease in which it came to me and the response to the story from the readers made it a unique take on a Christmas romance, so I decided to follow through and turn it into a novel.

Q: What inspired the characters Carrie and Braxton? Are they modeled after anyone in your life? Tell us about them. 

A: Carrie is indeed named after one of my best friends, but that is as far as the similarities go. I wrote Carrie as a woman who hides from her past by living in happy Christmas films year-round. She wants to be someone other than who she is, but at the same time, she doesn’t know who she is. Her backstory is complicated, and it was taken from an event in my own life, which made it easy to relate to. 

Braxton was also based on a real-life situation I’m familiar with, and that’s the idea of the lone survivor. How do you put it right in your head when you still feel guilty for what happened? How do you forgive yourself for something that had been beyond your control but still left very real scars, physically and emotionally? 

Q: What was your favorite scene to write? 

A: This is always an easy question to ask a writer, but a hard one for them to answer! We find ourselves debating every scene and what really made the book for us, but in this instance, the answer is easy. The meet-cute was my favorite scene. It’s the beginning of the book, and in my opinion, it sets the tone. By meeting and interacting with the movie couple, the reader is immersed in the familiarity of their favorite holiday escape. When the director yells ‘cut’ and the reader meets Carrie and Braxton for just a brief scene, they get a taste of who the ‘real-life’ couple is ‘behind the scenes’ and they instantly want to know more.

Q: What do you hope readers will take away from reading this book?

A: I wrote it from the idea that life isn’t always snowflakes and Christmas lights, even during the holidays. Christmas romance movies won’t solve all our problems no matter how much we want them to. Sometimes, to solve our problems, we must tell someone else a closely-guarded secret that we’re afraid of getting out. By doing that, we free ourselves from thinking our past defines who we are in the present. While we can’t hide the scars that past traumatic events leave us with, the right person can be the balm that makes them tolerable. Even the final scene in the movie-portion of the book offers readers this same message. Both characters are scarred, but finding unconditional love helps them move forward in life.

Q: I understand there is a very tempting recipe in the book. What is it and why did you incorporate it? 

A: Oh yes, if you haven’t tried maple-glazed gingerbread scones with a hot cup of brew, then you better get the mixing bowl out! My rich gingerbread scones use dark molasses and familiar spices to draw you back to your childhood when you made gingerbread cookies at Grandma’s house. These scones, topped with fresh maple syrup glaze, will add sophistication to the table as well as the palate, and will turn them into a favorite holiday recipe requested year after year. I believe maple-glazed gingerbread scones would be something Noelle would proudly feature in her bakery case at the Gingerbread Café. 

Q: What is your next project?

A: Cowboys! I’ll be releasing an #Ownvoices trilogy in 2022, featuring Texas cowboys learning to wrangle Midwestern bison. It’s guaranteed to be an original take on cowboy romance. I’ll also be releasing the sixth and final installment in my Bells Pass Christmas series. Who knows, I may even end up back in Gingerbread Falls, telling another tale of romance under the bright lights of Hollywood. Stay tuned for a busy 2022!

Buy this book!

Katie Mettner writes small-town romantic tales, filled with epic love stories and happily ever-afters. She proudly wears the title of ‘the only person to lose her leg after falling down the bunny hill’ and loves decorating her prosthetic with the latest fashion trends. She lives in Northern Wisconsin with her own happily-ever-after and three mini-mes. Katie has a massive addiction to coffee and Twitter, and a lessening aversion to Pinterest— now that she’s quit trying to make the things she pins.