8 December 2014

Festive Q&A Day 6: Judy Astley

Another day, another Festive Q&A! Today is the turn of the fabulous Judy Astley, who has a new festive read out this year called It Must Have Been The Mistletoe! I can't wait to read it, and Judy has been kind enough to answer my questions as part of the Festive Q&A, thank you very much Judy!

You can buy It Must Have Been the Mistletoe as a paperback or an eBook now.

1. Please tell me about your new festive book!

It’s newly single Thea who goes to join her brother, sister, their children and her parents at a beachside house in Cornwall for Christmas. Her parents are soon to be divorced but insist they are still Great Friends.  A schedule of fun activities is organised to keep everyone busy but not all goes to plan and not everyone who turns up was actually invited.

2. What do you think it is about festive books that readers love so much year after year?

Two reasons – first of all, books make great Christmas presents!  Also, a book over Christmas is a great escape from all that’s so hectic and it’s pretty much guaranteed to be a warm, fun read, perfect for relaxing with next to a blazing fire or to escape with to bed.

3. What prompted you to write a Christmas book?

I usually set my books in the summer and thought it was time for a change of season.  My own extended family had a big get-together in Cornwall last summer, about twenty of us with scheduled events (Wednesday afternoon = beach barbecue.  Friday night = quiz, sort of thing).  I thought at the time – ooh, add a few tensions and there could be a book in this.  I should say here that NONE of the family are actually in this book!

4. What’s your favourite thing about Christmas?

Apart from hanging out with my family, I think I most like the scent of Christmas cooking.  Spiced cranberries, quince jelly, mince pies – they all give the house that special Christmas atmosphere.  I love that.

5. Favourite Christmas film?

It’s not Christmassy as such, but I really can’t imagine NOT watching the Great Escape at some point over Christmas.  I’m always ridiculously certain that one day, Steve MacQueen really will make it over the wire.

6. Favourite Christmas Song?

Walking in A Winter Wonderland by the Ronnettes.    In fact I love the entire Phil Spector Christmas album.

7. Favourite Christmas Tradition?

We have a beach barbecue on New Year’s Day in Cornwall, which started because Australian friends were forever telling us about their Christmas beach barbies and we were being competitive. Lots of people come, it’s always freezing cold, often raining (so rainy last year that we had to have it in our garden instead, which felt shamefully defeatist) but it has to be done – simple sausages in a bun, fizz, flasks of tea and plenty of warm clothes.

8. What are you hoping to find under the Christmas tree this year?

World peace would be good but failing that, I’ve seen a stunning, gloriously coloured Vivienne Westwood scarf and I’ll be dropping many a hint.

9. What’s the best Christmas present you’ve ever been given and why?

Tickets to Australia!  I had NO idea till on Christmas day my husband handed me an envelope with the flight details in, for travelling a month from then.  I’d wanted to go, to see my fab friend Frané but thought it would be too expensive and tricky to organise so he just went ahead and booked it.  I was absolutely thrilled.

10. What is up next for you?

I’m just planning a new book and will be starting it any day now.  It’ll involve houses (think Location x 3) and renovations and some love interest but I rarely plan before I start so I’ll just dive in and see where it goes.  It’ll be a jolly read, that much I can say.  I don’t want to write books of gloom – the world can always do with a cheer-up.

Thank you so much Judy!

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