14 December 2014
Festive Q&A Post 10: Fiona Valpy
You can buy The French for Christmas as a paperback or an eBook now.
Q1. Please tell me about your new festive book!
'The French for Christmas' is the third book in 'The French for...' series. What all three books have in common is that they are about being in a foreign culture and finding out a lot about yourself when you see life through a different lens. But, no matter what challenges are thrown in their paths, all my heroines have romantic encounters along the way as well – I’m all for romance and happy endings!
As the book opens, we meet Evie, who is dreading Christmas this year. So when her friends offer her the use of their French holiday home she grabs the chance to escape. But she hasn't counted on the neighbours - and one of them in particular - who help her to work through her grief and anger and to find forgiveness, which may just allow her to face life again. She finally realises that, no matter how hard you try to escape it, Christmas Happens!
'The French for Christmas' is a bit different from the usual seasonal chick-lit, in that the book does tackle some very painful subjects. But at the same time I’ve tried to capture the beauty of the French countryside (even without the summer sunshine) and to highlight what, for me, are the things that are really important at Christmas: family, and offering kindness and support to others. I hope it has something for everyone – a lovely festive read with a bit of depth too.
Q2. What do you think it is about festive books that readers love so much year after year?
They are all part of the anticipation, the build-up to the Christmas magic. And at an often dreary time of the year they bring light and hope.
Q3. What prompted you to write a Christmas book?
The first two books in 'The French for...' series were very much summer reads (although lots of readers have said how much they’ve enjoyed reading them as an escape from dreary winter days too) and so I thought it would be a good contrast to write about the local area out of season, the side that people who come for summer holidays don’t see. But, at this time of year, the importance of community can be even stronger and there’s always the sense that another beautiful spring and sun-filled summer are just around the corner… And as I love Christmas novels - (but then I love most novels as I’m a total binge-reader) - I thought I should write one!
Family and friends.
Q5. Favourite christmas film?
The Snowman - I always cry!
Q6. Favourite christmas song?
Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas (as sung by Judy Garland in the film Meet Me in St Louis: another total weepie moment!)
Q7. Favourite christmas tradition?
Christmas Eve supper with everyone gathered round the table, kitchen decorated, stockings hung and the anticipation mounting. Since we moved to France, we always have Tartiflette which is a dish from the French mountains with potatoes, bacon, onions and cream, simple comfort food before the next day's Christmas Dinner Extravaganza.
Q8. What are you hoping to find under the christmas tree this year?!
A pair of cosy sheepskin boots, perfect for draughty French farmhouses...
Q9. What's the best Christmas present you've ever been given and why?
Two years ago my sons gave me a specially engraved heart charm for a bracelet I have. I wear it every day and it reminds me of them, wherever they are in the world.
Q10. What is up next for you?
The year ahead is a bit of an unknown for me and I am considering various options at the moment... but I hope it will be filled with love and joy and family and friends. Just like Christmas itself!