Can the magic of Christmas and the community of Thorndale bring two lost souls together in love?
Olivia doesn’t have time for Christmas or for romance – she’s got a demanding career and has been burned before when it comes to love. This year, she’s spending the festive season in her dad’s old house, packing it up now that he’s moved out. Her dad failed to mention she wouldn’t be spending her time there alone…
The last thing Olivia expects is for her surprise guest to be the very man who literally ran from her after an evening of mutual flirtation. But Tom has nowhere else to go and Olivia is determined to forget the disappointment she felt at his abandonment and instead help him find his way again.
As heavy snow keeps them inside the cottage, will their enforced confinement spark romance once again – or will it push them further apart?
I loved reading as a child and was always drawn to creating my own stories. Writing seemed like a natural progression and just a few days ago whilst having a clearout I discovered all my old stories and files. Not sure whether to shred or save! I grew up with horses around farms and my first stories were about adventurous girls and their ponies.
Do you write full time & if so, have you always done this?
I now write full time and am very grateful to be doing so, it was always my dream job. After several years as a stay-at-home mum, I trained in horticulture and spent five seasons planting redesigned gardens, which was a real passion.
Do you have a particular writing style or genre that you prefer?
I've always been drawn to romance and love to write about rural landscapes and the communities around them. I enjoy reading crime, especially historical, and have no idea how to write it!
How do you develop your characters as you write, are any of them based on real people?
My characters might be inspired by a story about a person or something I've heard or seen, but they're never based on real people. I love creating my characters and learning about their pasts as I plot their futures.
What was the inspiration behind A Country Village Christmas?
It was actually a house to begin with, a property in Yorkshire with a view of a small library, an old armchair beside the fire. The character of Hugh popped up as I imagined him sitting there, and Olivia and Tom soon joined him. I'd always wanted to write a Christmas book and I so enjoyed creating a romance set in December, with all the festive happenings you'd expect during the holidays.
What is your writing process-do you plan it out first? Write a bit at a time?
I'm definitely a planner and I always know the ending before I start writing. For me the process of writing the book is drawing characters to that ending but however much planning I do, there's usually a surprise or two along the way.
How much of you is reflected in your writing?
I'd say very little, other than each of my heroines have a tiny something of me in them; namely cooking, gardening, horses and home. I've given each woman a very different life experience to mine and they're a lot of fun to create. I think a childhood growing up mostly outdoors has definitely influenced my writing and I love to write across the seasons and celebrate them through the landscape.
What kind of research did you have to do before/during writing A Country Village Christmas?
The story is set around an old bookshop and I researched lots of different Christmas books to decide which ones would suit my character's narratives, as each of the real books referenced have a meaning to Olivia, Tom or Hugh. Tom is an actor and his back story included playing a fictional romantic hero which made him famous and that was brilliant to play around with, as Olivia finds out!
Are friends and family supportive of your writing?
My friends and family are very encouraging, especially my husband. I was very close to my late mother-in-law and she was definitely one of my biggest supporters. She usually read everything first and never doubted that I'd be an author, even when I did. My mum is a brilliant publicist, and has been known to stop people in the street to tell them about my books. She even took bookmarks on holiday and persuaded a local bookshop to order my books! It all really helps!
How do you feel leading up to your publication day?
There are always some nerves but it's mostly excitement and being grateful to the team who work so hard to bring my books to readers. I'm very thankful for the opportunities I've had and it's always wonderful when a reader gets in touch to say how much they loved a book and are waiting for the next.
Which other authors inspire you or are there any you particularly enjoy reading?
I read everything by Karen Swan and I love CJ Sansom's Shardlake series in particular. I'm inspired by any author who has written and published a book, and I've made some lovely friends since joining the RNA.
Finally...what are you working on right now?
Writing my fifth book, and planning six and seven, which aren't part of the Thorndale series. I'm loving getting to know different characters and exploring a new setting, set in another rural community.
Thanks so much to Suzanne for stopping by the blog today and answering all of my burning questions!