Holiday Express Characters

Since I didn’t get around to sharing the inspiration behind the characters of the Holiday Express series last month, I thought you might enjoy seeing them!

Holiday Hope  is the first book in the series. When I was thinking about what the characters should look like, I knew I wanted Cora Lee to be blonde and Jace Coleman to have dark hair.

When I happened across a photo of Drew Roy, I knew I’d found Jace.

He just looks so much like I picture Jace.

It was easy to picture Jace facing his brother in this image (but I’m not sharing any spoilers in case you haven’t read the book yet!).

When it came to choosing Cora Lee, I landed on a beautiful girl who was so, so perfect for how I envisioned the character.

Florence Pugh has just the right amount of pluck that I could picture Cora Lee having.

And her sweetness is tempered with intelligence, wit, and courage.

The second book, Holiday Heart, features a hardworking hero and a girl who lives with her heart on her sleeve.


James Wolk was my choice for Zach, Jace Coleman’s son. Zach may spend his days working on trains and helping out at the ranch, but he has a soft heart. I could just picture Zach looking at Lorna like this and her heart melting into a puddle.

Or him laughing at something one of the Milton siblings said or did.

In the story, Lorna Lennox, the girl who captures Zach’s interest, is rich, pampered, and lovely with auburn hair.

Alexis Bledel was just perfect for how I picture Lorna.

Especially when I could use this image for inspiration. It was so easy to envision Lorna turning Zach’s head.

The third book in the series, Holiday Home,  jumps ahead to World War II with Zach and Lorna’s son, Bryce, as the hero. He has the Coleman dark hair and blue eyes.


I’ve had Ryan Paevey on my character idea list for a while, but I hadn’t found just the right character until it was time to create Bryce. He’s perfect for how I envision Bryce.

I think if I was Britta (the heroine), it would have been hard to resist that smile!

As for Britta, I knew I wanted her to have blond hair and blue eyes.

When I came across this photo of Cariba Heine, I knew I’d found my Britta. She’s lovely with a sweetness about her, and just as I envision Britta.

And this photo makes me think of a particular scene in the book (but no spoilers)!


Holiday Love was perhaps the most fun of the four books to write because it allowed me to revisit the lives of the characters in the previous stories, while sharing the budding romance between Trace Coleman and Kali Hoyt.

Of course, Trace had to have dark hair and the trademark Coleman blue eyes.

Chad Masters fit how I envisioned Trace to perfection!

It’s no wonder Kali was immediately smitten with him.

As for Kali, the beautiful Torrey DeVitto hit the mark spot on.

She is gorgeous, smart, and just has that spark that makes you think she’d be a lot of fun!

And there you have it – the main characters from the Holiday Express series.

If you haven’t started reading them yet, four sweet romances full of family, hope, humor, and love are awaiting you!

And if you’d like to see more of the visuals that inspired the stories, check out my PINTEREST boards!

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14 Responses

  1. I thoroughly enjoy seeing pictures of how you envision the characters. You seem to find the perfect fit each time.

  2. Hi Shanna,
    I’m searching for the recipe for the parmesan, ranch dressing, and potato bake from your Holiday Express book 4.
    I can’t wait to try it, please share, thanks so much.
    Kathleen Daruda

  3. PS Also loved seeing your inspiration for the Holiday Express series. Those stories were amazing. They are definitely a must read for all your fans.

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