12 November 2014

Blog Tour: A Proper Family Christmas by Chrissie Manby

Today, I am thrilled to be part of Chrissie Manby's blog tour for her brand new festive novel A Proper Family Christmas which is out now. It's the second in Chrissie's new 'Proper Family' series, and it's a brilliant read, I've just finished it myself. Chrissie was kind enough to answer some of my questions, so please enjoy! There's also a giveaway coming up later on, look out for that and enter!

You can buy A Proper Family Christmas as a paperback or an eBook now.

Q1. Please tell me about your new book.

My new book, A Proper Family Christmas, is a second outing for the Bensons, the family I created for A Proper Family Holiday. This time they're back home in Coventry, but that doesn't mean to say life isn't exciting. SPOILER ALERT In A Proper Family Holiday, the matriarch Jacqui admitted to having given up a baby for adoption when she was just a teenager. Now that long-lost baby is back. But she's had a very different upbringing from the sisters Jacqui did raise. Annabel Buchanan, as she is now, is a bit of a snob and she's horrified by the Bensons and what she sees as their lack of class. However, Annabel needs the Bensons for reasons I won't go into here. Can she overcome her prejudices and learn to love them all?

Q2. The cover for this book is gorgeous, do you get much say in your cover designs? How important do you think covers are in this digital day and age with Kindles becoming more and more prominent?

I am so pleased with this cover. It looks ready gift-wrapped! Hodder keep me informed throughout the cover design process but ultimately decisions are made by people who know much more about book marketing and sales than I do.

Covers are still very important in the digital world because they're still the thing that catches your eye, albeit on a webpage rather than the shelf.

Q3. Your books used to be published under the name 'Chris Manby' - why the change to Chrissie?

We discussed the possibility of my publishing as Chrissie right back in the mid-90s when I published my first book but decided against it because 'Chris' has five letters as does 'Manby' and that worked really well for cover design. However, about six books ago, we decided it might be a good idea to 'feminise' my name as apparently women prefer to buy romantic comedies written by women. I still introduce myself as Chris, which is what most of my mates call me.

Q4. Book blogging seems to be more and more prolific - what is your opinion of the reviewers and bloggers out there? Do you enjoy reading blogs?

I love reading blogs. It's great that there's such a big community of readers engaging with each other and with their favourite authors. There's a lot of useful information being shared. There are definitely some scammers out there too though, who have cottoned on to blogging as a way to get freebies. Not everyone is as professional as you, Chloe!

Q5. Tell me about a typical writing day for you.

There's no such thing. I don't really have a routine but I do have targets. I like to get down at least 2000 words a day. Whether that happens before lunch or in the middle of the night depends on what else is going on.

Q6. Who are some of your own favourite authors? Would you be able to name a favourite book of all time?!

I love anything by Anne Tyler and Lucy Dillon. They are two writers who really delve into the heart of human experience.

It's impossible to name a favourite book but I've just finished reading Betty Halbreich's wonderful memoir 'I'll Drink To That'. Halbreich is a fashion consultant at Bergdorf Goodman and her memoir examines how clothes have defined certain periods of her life. It was such an engaging and enthralling read, both poignant and uplifting. In another life, I would have liked to be a fashion designer so I devour books like Halbreich's which give an insight into that world.

Q7. If you were stuck on a desert island, what are the three things you would need to have with you?!

My Kindle. I would hate to be without reading material. I suppose the other things had better be more practical. Matches and a kettle?

Q8. Will you be writing any more in the 'Proper Family' series?

Yes. I'm just about to start a book which features the Bensons on holiday again. This time they're on a cruise. Expect plenty of mayhem.

I've never actually been on a cruise myself so I'm thrilled to be joining a mini-cruise on a new ship called The Regal Princess out of Florida this week, courtesy of the very kind people at Princess Cruises. I'll be checking to see what kind of facilities they have for people at both ends of the age spectrum like Granddad Bill and Jack. The Regal Princess looks amazing and I can't wait to go on-board. Sometimes my job is so tough. ;-)

Thank you so much, Chrissie!!

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