I started drafting my YA rom-com I’m Dreaming of A Wyatt Christmas the day my world stopped. It was March 2020 and my three children were home on their first day of spring break. At the time, we didn’t know that they wouldn’t be back in the classroom until September 2021.
Wyatt Christmas was written in the scraps of time I stitched together between figuring out if I needed to wipe down groceries and quarantine mail, where to buy toilet paper, and how to entertain and prevent a school-less preschooler from interrupting his brothers’ virtual classes. I wrote from 10 p.m. to midnight, from 3 a.m. until whenever my then three-year-old woke up and came looking for me.
In order to keep myself awake enough to write at 3 a.m., I had to really love this story—really love this world—and I do. I filled this book with all the warmth and Christmas feeling I could cram into the chapters. Working on it was an escape—one I hope translates to the readers. And like so many books written during the early pandemic months, my cozy Christmas book was about to make its way to bookstores.
At least I thought it was. Like so many in the publishing industry, I’ve gotten a crash course in supply chains these past few weeks. Wyatt Christmas was supposed to hit bookstore shelves October 5. It didn’t.
This is not my first pandemic release. I’m typically a book-a-year author, but I’m Dreaming of a Wyatt Christmas will be my third release in the past 18 months. The last two books in my Bookish Boyfriends series came out in May 2020 and January 2021. While launching without in-person events hasn’t been fun, I thought I knew how to make it work. I bought a ring light, signed up to embarrass myself on TikTok, and made a virtual escape room for school visits. But publishing has always been a roller coaster—you never know if the next drop is going to leave you elated or nauseated—and I was about to encounter one more loop on the track.
Who knew back when we all giggled about the boat stuck in the Suez Canal that it was just the beginning of what we’d be learning about shipping and supply chains? Not me! Dangit, karma!
A few weeks ago, my publisher emailed me with the news: Wyatt Christmas wasn’t going to arrive in time for its original release date, and they gave me a new one: October 26. I took a deep breath and made some corrections to my planner. We all agreed that this was fine. This was good, even; my Christmas book would come out closer to Christmas.
I made graphics. I filmed Instagram stories. I decided to proceed with the virtual launch event I had scheduled on October 5 with author Jen Calonita at Doylestown Bookshop. It wouldn’t be a “launch” event for me, but Jen’s middle grade novel, Heroes, the final book in her Royal Academy Rebels series, was coming out that day, and I could use our talk to encourage preorders.
Ninety minutes before the event started, I got an email from the bookstore: their preorder link was down. While Doylestown Bookshop pivoted to accepting phone and email orders, and I sent frantic emails to my publicist, we realized it wasn’t just a one-store issue. The buy links didn’t work on any of the bookstores I checked. It didn’t work on IndieBound or Bookshop.org, or on Barnes & Noble’s website. The book was unbuyable, due to complications with the on-sale date change.
But on that Tuesday night, I put on a smile, turned on my ring light, and did the event anyway.
I’ve taught my kids so many things this past year and a half: how to reduce fractions and punctuate dialogue, how to ride a bike and print their name in crooked all-capital letters. We’ve also worked hard on patience (waiting to see grandparents and friends); flexibility (dealing with creative substitutions in grocery orders); and focusing on what you can control when it feels like so much of what’s going on has left you powerless. They taught me to slow down, be present, and marvel at the small things.
I’m using a lot of those lessons right now as I try to remain patient and flexible with delays and complications. And as for things outside my control? I could fill notepads full of all the things beyond my reach.
But that would be a waste of cute stationery. Instead, I’m taking a deep breath, taking another sip of coffee, and I’m marveling at the fact that this book exists—that it’s a cozy wonder I created during some of the scariest months we’ve lived through. Even it was a little bit late, it did get off that cargo ship, it’s making its way to bookstores, and it’s back online for orders. And as it reaches readers, my Christmas wish is that it brings them some of the holiday magic I worked so hard to craft.
Tiffany Schmidt is the author of the Bookish Boyfriends series, as well as four other books for young adults, including the recently published I’m Dreaming of a Wyatt Christmas.