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Ewan Murray and Kate McDougall hold a mutual appreciation for music—and each other. But as she comes of age, Ewan realizes he must do something to prove his worth to her banker father. Will a refurbished heirloom and a sudden snowstorm be the key to earning permission to marry?
More About The Yuletide Bride with Michelle Ule
How about a short novella story that features a young man working hard to save up the incredible sum of $70 to win the hand of his young sweetheart in 1874 Nebraska?
What if we mix in pan pipes, bagpipes, a fiddle and an unhappy teamster who could never understand mathematics?
Barbour Publishing first approached a handful of writers about putting together this innovative collection around the infamous Christmas carol, The Twelve Days of Christmas. We were asked to choose one of those days, come up with an alternate title and write a story.
I figured most writers would aim for “five golden rings,” so I steered in a different direction, to one of the more obscure titles: 11 Pipers Piping.
They’re in The Yuletide Bride.
You just have to look for them.
I've been a musician since I received a piano for Christmas when I was six. I studied piano all through school and eventually extended my love for music to the woodwinds. After a short detour into percussion, I've learned to play the flute, clarinet, oboe, bassoon, alto recorder and alto saxophone.
At our current church, I sing in the soprano section of the choir and play in a woodwind ensemble (clarinet–everyone’s favorite instrument!) once a month.
Since I also dance four days a week, you can say that music runs through my life all the time!
For this Christmas novella, I wanted to write a fun story that incorporated those eleven pipers and that also touched on a theme pertinent to many these days: making enough money to live on.
Ewan faces the biggest challenge of his life when his longtime sweetheart’s father asks him to prove himself capable of supporting Kate. He has to earn $70 by her Christmas birthday, or he’ll give her hand in marriage to a local banker.
Kate, for her part, learns what it means to be a helpmeet as she watches and tries to help Ewan earn the money for their future.
And then there’s the bagpipes . . .
I didn't do any particular research while working on this book other than an attempt to play the bagpipes owned by my friend Bill Cummings, former North America clan chief for the Cummings line. We've got a video of me attempting to be a gawk, er, sound out of the pipes and it was fun to try.
In terms of Christmas celebration on the prairies of Nebraska–chosen because it was one place where reeds grew where it might snow at Christmastime–I relied on the stories told me by my grandmother of her family’s childhood, and also what I read in Laura Ingalls Wilder‘s Little House books. The striped candy Ewan associates with Christmas is a direct nod to young Laura.
I’m a genealogist and my massive family history (available in the Library of Congress and featuring more than 900 end note citations) is suitably called Pioneer Stock. I love the stories I unearthed about my family as I wrote that book before Ancestry.com was invented–so I did all the library-visiting research myself. While my mother was born in Sicily, my father’s ancestors first arrived in North American in 1627 Maryland. I loved researching and writing about their lives set against American history.
I have an entire page on my website devoted to my genealogy. Check it out if you think you might be related to me!
The Yuletide Bride is the first of two parts of a story concerning the MacDougall family. In writing this first Christmas novella, I discovered one of the seemingly “throw away” characters, actually had more poignancy and heft to him than I realized. I’m delighted Malcolm will have a story of his own in next summer’s The Sunbonnet Bride.
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Who is Michelle Ule?
Michelle Ule is the author of five novellas and a Navy SEAL novel, including The Dogtrot Christmas which appeared in the New York Times best-selling A Log Cabin Christmas Collection (with Margaret Brownley) and last year’s best-selling A Pioneer Christmas Collection (co-authored with Vickie McDonough and Margaret Brownley!). A native of San Pedro, California, she played in the UCLA band and every year bakes a Ule log for her family’s Christmas celebration. She lives in northern California these days where she writes, reads and plans the next trip to an exotic location.
You can learn more about Michelle and read her twice-a-week blog at www.michelleule.com
You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest (for a Yuletide Bride Pinterest board, along with one about all the authors of The 12 Brides of Christmas).