Going full circle…or wreath. The completion of the Merry Chrissy novel series

An early sketch of Chrissy I drew on October 7, 2012. More than a year before I started writting the first “Merry Chrissy” book.

On November 1, 2013 in a hotel room in New Hampshire, I began what I considered an unusual journey; Writing a book. The most complex writing I have ever done in my life was the occasional assignment in college. I’ll admit it, I’m not the most avid reader on earth, but as I started with some simple doodles of a silly Christmas-obsessed girl with an ornament dangling on her ponytail, I felt something more was needed. She needed some background, some substance and a story. More than 4 years later, my blue sky ideals have finally become a reality. Over the course of 3 novels, Chrissy Deigh changes from a silly and at times naive, 9-year old Christmas fanatic who is desperately clinging on the belief of Santa being real to an almost 11-year old that is on a mission as the first ever girl and kid Santa. Of course, some things didn’t pan out ideal-wise. Would it be neat to have a pet penguin instead of a magical talking pet mouse or would it be awesome to see Chrissy visit a convention of fake Santa Clauses instead of going through “Santa Boot Camp” training with a mean trainer that makes her go to the limits? I may never know.

As I turned older while writing these books, not only Chrissy changed, but the world has too – sometimes for better and recently for the worst. When I started writing these books, the world, particularly online through social media has become a lot more nastier and meaner. I really didn’t want to make a political statement on this book series, but looking at the past with a clear, critical lens shows its a product of that time. I wouldn’t consider it an “outdated” product, but a product that asks the reader, no matter what the odds or whatever wrenches are thrown at you, good will triumph over evil.

Chrissy Deigh on the surface feels like a simple girl with simple aspirations. She wants to be accepted for who she is and of course meet the real Santa Claus. Her peers in 4th grade certainly won’t treat her with kid gloves and at times grown ups will do the same. Much like real life, people and the world may treat you like an outcast, a loser or even worse. To put it kind of bluntly, if you’re going through some…umm “stuff”, I hope you relate to her struggles. It may not be the same as being accepted for your odd obsession with all things Christmas, but its certainly for those “weirdos” who never seem to fit in right in society.

3 books later, I constantly ask myself, “why did I write these stories”? I write them for the underdogs and so called “losers”. The rejects, misfits, outcasts, childish, nerds, anyone who is NOT considered normal. I like the holiday season for the music, happiness, good food, family and friend gatherings and cookies. It doesn’t feel as materialistic to me as an adult. Chrissy is the personification of the Christmas Spirit. The feeling you get when you trim the tree, unwrap those presents or ride in a one horse open sleigh. Those “feels”!

Merry Chrissy’s story has finally finished production after 4 long years! I hope you enjoy it the heck out of reading it!. The first two “Merry Chrissy” adventures are out right now. The final adventure, “Merry Chrissy and the Triumph of the Spirit” will be released on November 25!

Building the world of “Merry Chrissy”

Making a book is hard. Doing it independently is even harder. These are the stories I want to share behind making “Merry Chrissy and the Naughty or Nice Truth.”

 Rough sketch of Chrissy meeting Tyler for the first time.
Rough sketch of Chrissy meeting Tyler for the first time.

When I began writing this story, I had a very light framework of what Chrissy’s world would be. I knew early on we would go back and forth between the real world and the fictional world of the North Pole. Much of Chrissy’s life in the real world is focused on her everyday life in school and at home, mostly dealing with the relationship with her mother and friend Tyler. In the North Pole, Chrissy is highly controlled by her mentor and trainer Mistletoe and the company in general. With Chrissy being 9 years old and very talented magic-wise, “North Pole Incorporated” is hesitant because a similar person that was a little older caused some “issues” several years ago.

 A rough sketch of the cover art
A rough sketch of the cover art

I envisioned the North Pole as a small city state, completely independent of the world. The entire city’s economy is dedicated to Christmas and related industries making Christmas possible. NP doesn’t answer to the UN, they answer to a higher authority that’s even more secret than NP. That organization being simply known as “G.I.F.T.”. “Gratitude International Friendship Trust” is the parent company that controls much of the purse strings of NP. By the namesake, you may easily figure out that G.I.F.T. is the company that is responsible for all holiday celebrations big and small. There’s a division for Halloween, Easter, Valentine’s Day, and the list goes on and on. NP is the most important division for G.I.F.T. and is the the most expensive. The costs of doing Christmas is a major issue with North Pole Incorporated, particularly with one key factor it making it all possible – Christmas Magic.

Rough Sketch: Lister Peppermint Paula confronts Noel Carollton, the CEO of “North Pole Incorporated”

In the world of NP, Christmas Magic costs money to produce and acquire. Mistletoe makes Chrissy aware of this early on, but Chrissy’s inexperience in “listing” (checking on kids naughty or nice) makes her use a lot of magic. As the story unfolds, dealing with magic will become a serious issue for Chrissy and will affect her emotionally and physically. Not everyone can handle so much Christmas Magic, even for a girl who has the Christmas spirit year round.

 A rough sketch of Chrissy's Holly Jolly Room.
A rough sketch of Chrissy’s Holly Jolly Room.

Chrissy’s real world interactions as I said before are mostly focused on school, home and the town that she lives in. At the start of the book, Chrissy observes her town riding on her bike, looking for Christmas spirit…in July. Chrissy’s elementary school in 4th grade is the most hostile environment outside of the North Pole. The themes of acceptance, bullying and dealing with an indifferent faculty who indirectly enable her adversary Charlotte are dominant in these chapters. Of course, it’s not all mundane and unwelcoming for Chrissy. Her home, particularly Chrissy’s bedroom is her “safe space”, naturally full of Christmas wonder…and a giant Christmas special collection. Her mother, while distant at times, respects her interests in Christmas year round. However, she realizes that Chrissy doesn’t have any friends and from the very start she forces her daughter to begin socializing. 

In the real world, Chrissy’s best (and only) friend is a quiet, well-mannered boy named Tyler Dirkelson. The two kids don’t have the same interests, but forge a bond when the bullying gets rough. The relationship is not perfect. Chrissy often at times is a little too enthusiastic about Christmas and Tyler is often a pacifist that avoids conflict as much as possible. The two kids need each other in a turbulent environment and the friendship bond grows stronger as the story goes on. Does he or does he not believe in Santa? That is the question going forward.

 Chrissy and Tyler converse during Lunch in this rough sketch.
Chrissy and Tyler converse during Lunch in this rough sketch.

Merry Chrissy and the Naughty or Nice Truth is a middle-age grade novel designed for ages 9 and up that is now available. Go to www.merrychrissy.com to purchase the book. You can also follow Merry Chrissy on Twitter and Google Plus.