27 October 2011

Author Interview: Scarlett Bailey

I reviewed Scarlett Bailey's debut novel The Night Before Christmas a few days ago, and I've been lucky enough to ask Scarlett a few questions about it, amongst other things, too! My thanks go to Scarlett for answering my questions!

1. Please tell me about your new book, The Night Before Christmas.

Well, its set in the few days before Christmas right up until The Night Before Christmas, so its a proper Christmassy book, with all that entails. And its about less than perfect Lydia, who can't wait to experience her first every proper Christmas, with her first proper boyfriend and her friends in a beautiful country house in the Lake District. Obviously things do not go according to plan! There are twists and turns, surprises, some kissing, some laughs, some more kissing and a one eared dog called Vincent. Oh and a lot of snow.

Q2. Lydia is a lovely character, even if she does make a little bit of a mess of things when she starts her Christmas break! Did you base her, or any of your other fab characters, on anyone in particular?

I like that Lydia is a little flawed, we all are, I think, and so its nice that although she makes a hash of things to start out with, she finally gets a grip! I think she's a little bit like me, perhaps, maybe a mixture of my friends and all the stories we've shared over the years. The only character I say for sure is based on fact is Vincent Van Dog. He based on a real dog. With one ear.

Q3. The old house where the action of the book takes place sounds simply stunning, especially in the snowy scenes you write about. Does this place actually exist, and if so, where is it?!

It does!!! Its in Keswick, Cumbria. I went to stay there for a research trip. It's a little different from the book, because the setting isn't quite so remote now, although when the house was built it was in the middle of nowhere, now the town has grown up around it. But it was a pair of houses built for two sisters, and although I made up the spooky ghosty bit, it was quite an atmospheric place! I wouldn't have been the least bit surprised if I had bumped into a ghost.

Q4. The cover of The Night Before Christmas isn't necessarily what you'd consider a traditional Christmas chick-lit book cover, but I absolutely love it! Did you have any say in the cover, and what did you think when they first revealed the cover to you?!

Ebury asked me what I would like and I said 'Make it LOVELY' and they did. I just can't imagine it being any more perfect, I adore it.

Q5. The Night Before Christmas is your first book. How did your book deal with Ebury come about, and how did it feel to finally get a copy of your own book in your hands?

It was sort of a bit of luck really, I was lucky enough to have an agent already, and lucky enough to be writing about Christmas, at exactly the same time that Ebury was looking for a Christmas book! A very harmonious meeting of minds.

Q6. I'm a massive fan of festive chick lit, would you say the same about yourself? Do you have any favourite festive reads you like to bring out again and again?

I am a massive fan of Christmas full stop, so every year I wheel out my favourite Christmas ghost stories, I love The Turn of The Screw by Henry James (not very Christmassy, but very scary) and I love to dip in an out of A Christmas Carol. I love Trisha Ashley, and I just ready Cally Taylor's book which was fab. Also Ali Harris's book, which has my second favourite cover of the year (after mine) - all these books are great Christmas reads. But what I really love over Christmas is to curl up in front of a good Christmas movie. Yes, yes probably The Sound of Music is my all time favourite. 'The hills are alive....'

Q7. What do you do when you aren't writing books? Has your life changed much since you became a published author? 

At the moment I am quite busy working on the next book, so I seem to always be writing books, which is lovely, its the best job in the world. Life hasn't really changes that much, I've always been writing away in every spare minute as long as I can remember!

Q8. There has been a lot in the press slating the chick lit term lately, and there have been a lot of strong views about it being aired. What do you think of your books being put under the chick lit label, and what do you think of the fact the genre is constantly taking a battering?

I think its an easy target for some people to get hot under the collar about, but honestly I couldn't care less what label my books comes under. I just want to write fun, entertaining, satisfying fiction and if people, chicks or not, enjoy it - then I'm thrilled!

Q9. I've noticed you are now active on both Facebook and Twitter - do you think Social Networking is important for authors, especially debut authors like yourself, and do you enjoy being able to interact with your readers easily?

I really, really do. It lets me meet people like you, first hand, which is great and also hopefully when the book is out i might hear from some people who've read it, which would be incredibly exciting. Unless they didn't like it. That would be awkward.....

Q10. Finally, are you working on a second book? If so, could you tell me anything about it?!

I am, I am and I can't tell you too much except that I'm hoping for a research trip to New York this time! Bloomingdales at Christmas? Hello!

Thanks so much, Scarlett!

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