I'm a big fan of time travel fiction; I grew up watching Quantum Leap and the Back To The Future trilogy, and some of my all-time favourite films contain a time travel element. So I've wanted to write my own time travel adventure for a long time, and I've had the idea for The 12 Christmases of You & Me floating around my brain for a couple of years. But something was stopping me. I had Maisie's story playing out in my head, I knew I wanted her to pop back to the 90s and early 2000s, and I knew it would all take place over the festive period (twelve of them, in fact) but could I pull it off? This fear held me back. Until June 2019, when one of my brothers recommended Dark on Netflix.
Dark is a German series, which follows teenager Jonas Kahnwald as he tries to find out what happened to a missing child from the town he lives in. What follows is three seasons of mind-blowing plot that I was hooked by. At the time, there were only two seasons (with the third arriving this summer) and by the time I'd finished watching the available episodes I knew two things:
1) Waiting a year for the third instalment would be AGONISING
2) I had to write that time travel story I had in my head
And so I did. Planning the book was relatively easy, since I'd been musing over Maisie's time-travel adventures for so long, and I loved writing every single word. I'd wake up each morning eager to whip open the laptop so I could continue Maisie's story (believe me, this doesn't always happen for the entire manuscript. There usually comes a point where I'd quite happily toss my laptop in the wheelie bin). And this enthusiasm carried through to the subsequent drafts and edits, which really was unheard of.
So, Dark was the kick up the bum I needed to get the story out of my head and onto paper, but all those time travel stories have inspired me along the way. Marty McFly and The Back To The Future trilogy, Sam Beckett in Quantum Leap, Gary Sparrow in Goodnight Sweetheart and so many more (you can see my favourite time travel in film & TV here).
But that's only half of the story, because there's also the festive setting. Not only am I big fan of time travel fiction, I'm an even bigger fan of Christmas. I'm one of those annoying people who get into full-on festive mode by November (*coughs* October, maybe even September). And what better time is there to set a magical story than Christmas? There's a reason a lot of the Hallmark Christmas films contain wish-come-true scenarios (and this in itself is a reason I love those films).
Christmas is already a magical time for children, so why can't we keep hold of those feelings as adults? Why can't wishes come true, if only in fiction? Why can't someone be transported back to Christmases of the past? If it's good enough for Charles Dickens, it's good enough for me.
What if you could go back in time and fix the biggest mistake of your life?
Two years ago, Maisie’s best friend walked out of her life and she hasn’t heard from him since. When she wakes up in 1994, she naturally assumes she’s dreaming. But when she finds herself in the past again the next night and her actions in the dream alter her present-day life, she begins to wonder if she’s somehow hopping back in time. And if she is time-travelling, can she save her friendship with Jonas?
When Maisie is forced to relive Christmases of the past, will she face up to her mistakes, or make them all over again?
The 12 Christmases of You & Me is a magical tale of friendship, first loves, and learning to live in the present.