Christmas Stocking Stuffer

I’m Daryl Devore and I’m excited to be here on Peter Perrin’s blog today – just a few days before the release of his debut novel ‘Grace’s Turmoil’.

Writer’s Inspiration

One question writers get asked, “Where do you get your inspiration from?”

Most of the time I’m stuck for an answer. Stories just come to me.

Another question is, “What was your playlist for this book?”

I don’t have playlists. I write in silence. Distractions distract me. I’m a bit ADD. Oh, look a chicken. Is there chocolate?

My publisher put out a call for Christmas shorts. Short novellas that focus on the holiday season. I thought it sounded like a fun idea.

But it was mid-Oct and I couldn’t get into the Christmas spirit – heck it wasn’t even Canadian Thanksgiving yet. The grass was green. The flowers were still in bloom.

So I popped on my head phones and listened to Christmas music – not just any Christmas music – Trans Siberian Orchestra. If you’ve never listened to them – give it a go. Wow – their take on Christmas music is phenomenal. One song in particular – Carol of the Bells. (Technically, its name on the album cover is Christmas Eve/Sarajevo 12/24.) To catch a listen –


The story behind their version of the song – On Christmas Eve, a lone man challenges the war playing music on the rubble of the destruction of his city – Sarajevo. When you listen to this song, you can hear the beauty and then the destruction – the jarring rock music wonderfully portraying the bombs and chaos.

In my story, Love in the Key of C, the rock music is Giselle’s life. It’s a mess. Not the life she’d planned and something she was truly embarrassed about.

Giselle, is you or I. No one special, but life kicked her down once too often. There by the grace of God go I – that line wasn’t the basis for the story – the music was – but it does help understanding.

The story follows the same structure of the song – calm – chaos – calm – chaos then resolution. All in under 10,000 words.

So for once, I can answer two interview questions –

“Where do you get your inspiration from?”

Trans Siberian Orchestra’s Christmas Eve/Sarajevo 12/24

“What was your playlist for this book?”

Trans Siberian Orchestra’s Christmas Eve/Sarajevo 12/24


She looked so cold and weak, like she hadn’t eaten in a while and was clinging with failing resolve to any semblance of a normal life. I heard the rumbling of her stomach. Anybody could who happened to be within a ten-foot radius.

But more importantly, she was beautiful. No, not her outside. Her clothes were worn and hung on her like she’d purchased them three sizes too big. The sallowness of her skin resembled some of the dead and faded leaves that still clogged the city’s sewers. Her hair was wet from the weather and a small cap of whiteness rested on her shoulders. A shiver shot through me as I glanced down at her feet. Tired shoes soaked from the slush on the sidewalk. I fought off the sensation of how cold her toes must be.

It was her eyes that captured me. No, not the color, which was brown if you really needed to know. It was the pain of her existence that poured from them. They were a billboard exposing the humiliation that hung around her shoulders and robbed her of the proud stance she’d once possessed.

I wanted to help her, offering her a moment of warmth, rest and nourishment. What stopped me? A debate raged inside. Did I offer her this gift and then release her back into the elements and despair that had become her life? Wouldn’t that be cruel? Or, did I look away and pretend she didn’t exist, like so many others had done? I knew how this city worked. What we refuse to acknowledge does not then taint our lives.


Taint me—dammit. I needed to meet this woman. To know her story.


Can a slice of pizza and a flute erase the ravages of life and allow Giselle and Ethan to fall in love by Christmas?

Collapsing in front the biggest department store in the city on one of the busiest days of the holiday season was not how Giselle imagined her day. Cold and hungry, she trudged through her daily existence wondering if she’d ever find happiness again.

Teenagers. Ethan loved working with them and turning their raw musical talent into something beautiful and rewarding, but that didn’t fill the black void in his soul.

Like fate, the songwriters’ muse nudged Giselle and Ethan together. But can Giselle overcome her fears and can Ethan get past the darkness that surrounds him, so they can find love?

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