**The original post had an incorrect preview. I apologize for the confusion.**
First of all, thanks so much to Koo for having me. It’s timely that this is a Christmas short story guest post, because on the radio right now all I can hear is back to back Christmas music, the lights are all up in the streets of my town, and I wrapped three presents last night!
Back in July, a friend sent me the Stories Rule Press submission guidelines for their anthology, Home For The Holidays, inviting short romantic stories of up to 7,000 words on a “coming home for Christmas” theme.
I was so torn. I knew very little about writing short fiction – I am a novelist at heart – but I was excited by the concept. I knew I wanted to tell the story in London, the capital city of the UK (where I live), and I wanted my heroine to be anglo-asian, like me. I love seeing Asian and Asian diaspora heroes and heroines in romantic fiction and, in my experience, it doesn’t happen that much.
Of course, London is nothing if not a multicultural city so as well as Zara being second-generation Anglo-Asian, I also thought I’d extend that to my hero, Dr. Cal Morales, with his hispanic last name. We live in such a multicultural world, with people from all over the globe living in many places other than the land of their heritage, and I love touching on that in my work.
Anyway – once I had my hero and heroine, I needed a setting.
At first I had Zara and her family run a bookshop, but that isn’t necessarily a place everyone is familiar with or frequents – but a corner shop is. It doesn’t matter where you live, where you are from, or how old you are, everyone’s been to a corner shop. They can be community hubs, and a failsafe when you have forgotten to buy eggs and it’s already nine in the evening. They are also usually multicultural, reflecting their owners or the community around them, with a wide variety of foods from various parts of the world on the often small, heavily stocked shelves.
In true corner shop tradition, a lot of the Christmas dinner Zara’s family cooks is ready made and frozen straight from the freezer. I grew up eating Cook From Frozen stuffing – balls of breadcrumbs and herbs, for those not au fait with British food – and potatoes and I wanted to show a family who doesn’t make everything from scratch, like mine didn’t. We increasingly live in a world where everything Christmas is made for perfect Instagramming and I guess I wanted a break from that. I just wanted to invite my readers into noisy, normal family life, frozen peas, potatoes and all.
So I guess that’s me, and my story, in a nutshell. British upbringing with Asian influence, ready-made Christmas dinner, and a cosy if somewhat chaotic family life.
I hope you enjoy my slice of London in the short story The Invitation and I hope you, just as I did, fall a bit in love with Dr Cal Morales. He is a dreamboat in a peacoat, as is Kieran Cho, the hero in Lea Storry’s piece Just in Time for Christmas, also in the anthology.
Whether you’re eating pre-made frozen food or creating hand-painted Christmas cake icing, have a wonderful festive time.
ABOUT JASMINE LUCK
Jasmine Luck is an anglo-Asian writer living in the UK. She has written five novels and her short stories appear in the mutlicultural anthology Love All Year and and Happy Holidays collection by Stories Rule Press, and her first science fiction short will be out in January 2022.
In 2015 she won a CTRR award for a paranormal novella (writing as Jasmine Aherne). She lives with her patient husband and one son, and likes cats a normal amount (and you can’t prove otherwise).