3 December 2014
Festive Q&A Day 2: Catherine Ferguson
Please tell me about your new festive book!
Humbugs & Heartsrings is my very own take on that brilliantly timeless festive classic, A Christmas Carol. My heroine, Bobbie, is at an all-time low, stuck in a dead-end job and forced to put up with the very bad behaviour of her mean and miserly boss, Carol, who was once her best friend. (Scrooge has nothing on Carol, who is rumoured to attend weddings with confetti on elastic.) Things surely can’t get any worse for Bobbie. Or can they? When gorgeous hotelier Charlie arrives on the scene, the simmering resentment between the two women erupts into all-out war, with mince pies the secret weapon. The flamboyant Mrs Cadwalader – novice tea leaf reader and aspiring cougar – predicts the arrival of Three Messengers. But will they be enough to soothe tensions in time for The Big Day to be sprinkled with a touch of Christmas magic?
What do you think it is about festive books that readers love so much year after year?
I think the festive season and books have something magical in common – they can be pure escapism! With a book you can leave your normal (and sometimes humdrum) life behind for a while and step into a whole new world. Same with Christmas. You can forget your worries for a bit, put on your party bling, wear a daft paper hat and be a child again. Put the two together and you’ve got a recipe for the ultimate in magical escapism – especially if the book has a gorgeously festive cover that’s like a gift in itself and there’s a glowing Christmas tree and a handy log fire nearby to keep out the winter chills . . .
It was November when I started pondering what my next book should be about, so I was surrounded by all things Christmassy. And watching a performance of A Christmas Carol at my son’s school confirmed what had already been nudging at my brain – I would write a modern version of the Dickens classic with a female Scrooge called Carol. There was one big problem, though. How could I have a really nasty person as my heroine? It’s essential that readers warm to your main character – and Carol would be about as warm and cuddly as a shark. That’s when I realised she would have to be my heroine’s arch enemy instead . . .
Favourite thing about Christmas?
The panto. I love it. And I’m dreading the year my son decides he doesn’t want to go!
Favourite Christmas film?
Miracle on 34th Street. It’s soooooo Christmassy, and the bit where he takes her hand while they’re watching the skaters makes me go all gooey inside.
I was a teenager in the Seventies when Slade first released Merry Christmas Everybody. Brings back great memories.
Favourite Christmas tradition?
Every Christmas Eve, we gather round and watch the fab Jim Carrey version of A Christmas Carol.
What are you hoping to find under the Christmas tree this year?
A lovely all-singing, all-dancing food mixer, preferably in pink or red. So I can make more cakes.
What’s the best Christmas present you’ve ever been given and why?
My yogurt maker. I didn’t know they existed but now I use it all the time. I love that I can pick blackberries and turn them into the most gorgeous, creamy yogurt I’ve ever tasted.
What is up next for you?
I’m about to start writing another Christmas book. I’m expecting it to be hard work but fun as well – and I can hardly wait . . .
Thank you so much, Catherine!
You can buy Humbugs and Heartstrings as an eBook now!