One of the favourite questions that readers ask authors is "Where do you get your ideas?"

Author Evonne Wareham writes an exclusive piece for Female First / Photo Credit: Sian Trenberth Photography

Author Evonne Wareham writes an exclusive piece for Female First / Photo Credit: Sian Trenberth Photography

That is often a difficult one for a writer to answer, because much of the time we don’t really know. Sometimes a visit to an atmospheric location can be an inspiration. A fragment of conversation, or a news item, or a magazine article might provide a spark. Sometimes there are two or three disconnected ideas that have been rolling around in your head for ages that suddenly come together, but a lot of the time it’s a pretty murky process.

In the case of my new Christmas paperback I can actually put my finger on two things that set it off. While the title and the sparkly snow-filled cover of What Happens at Christmas gives the reader a pretty big hint that the book is set at Christmas in the country - a large chunk of the action takes place in the Brecon Beacons in a freak snow storm - the story inside is a different kind of Christmas read, as it is a romantic suspense, which means there are some dark and dangerous things lurking, along with the Christmas spirit and an unfolding love affair.

The starting point for the book came from two conversations that I had over lunch with writer friends – one about whether it was possible to write a Christmas romantic suspense, mixing the feel good things with the edgy stuff, and the other about staging a kidnapping – and yes, writers do have some interesting conversations over lunch. The two things started something mysterious moving around in the back of my brain, and by the time I had reached the station for the journey home, I had the idea for a plot. The book was written over the Christmas period, which was very good for festive atmosphere. I enjoyed writing it, throwing a lot of nail-biting stuff at my hero and heroine, as well as pushing them into each other’s arms.

So – I can tell you what started the book and how the hero managed to get himself kidnapped – blame that on the Christmas lunch. But don’t ask me why both hero and heroine are writers. Drew is a mega successful writer of action fantasy, who does a lot of very scary physical stuff, in the name of research. Lori is an aspiring author who intends to devote her Christmas holiday to working on the novel that she hopes will be her big break. Neither of them ends up spending Christmas in the way they expected. I also have no idea how three big Hollywood film stars got involved in the action. Or the precocious four year old. Or the cat.

But I do have a clue that my experimentation with a Christmas suspense worked - the reviews put a rather large smile on my face.

What Happens At Christmas, by Evonne Wareham and published by Choc Lit, is available from all good bookshops and online retailers now. For details visit .