29 December 2014

Festive Q&A Post 19: Lucy Diamond

Today I am pleased to welcome the lovely Lucy Diamond to my blog for her turn at my Festive Q&A! Lucy is one of my favourite authors, and her and her last novel One Night In Italy was one of my favourite books of 2014. She also released a festive novella, Christmas at the Beach Café. Thanks to Lucy for taking the time to answer my questions!

You can buy Christmas at the Beach Café as an eBook now.

1) Please tell me about your new festive eBook!
Christmas Gifts at the Beach Cafe is the third story in my Beach Cafe series (although you don't need to have read the other two first!) The story catches up with Evie and her boyfriend Ed, at their beach cafe in Cornwall. Usually Christmas is Evie's favourite time of year, but unfortunately this one isn't shaping up too well: Ed is away, following some sad family news, while Evie has to stay in Cornwall due to the imminent arrival of her patronising older sister Ruth (currently going through a bitter divorce) and her three children. But all is not lost: there's a lost dog and the village Christmas bake-off in the mix - and one or two wonderful surprises in store too! It's a short story ebook rather than a full-length novel, but hopefully will whet your appetite for the big day.

2) What do you think it is about festive books that readers love so much year after year?
I absolutely love Christmas stories - there's nothing better than curling up in front of a roaring fire with a plate of mince pies and a great Christmassy story to put you in a festive mood. I think the run-up to Christmas itself can be quite stressful at times - never-ending shopping lists, lots to organise, presents to buy and wrap and send... it can make us all a bit frazzled now and then. Reading a Christmas story takes the edge of a hectic day and makes me feel that yes, everything WILL be all right!

3) What prompted you to write a Christmas book?
I always find finishing a novel kind of bittersweet - while it's great to reach the end (hurrah!) I hate saying goodbye to characters when I've got to know them so well. Christmas Gifts at the Beach Cafe is my second Christmas novella, and (for me) is a perfect way to drop back in on beloved characters and see what they're up to, a year or so later on from my last visit. Just between you and me, I'm hoping there will be at least one more Beach Cafe story, so watch this space...

4) Quick fire questions! What's your favourite thing about Christmas?
I love packing my children's Christmas stockings last thing on Christmas Eve and then tiptoeing into their bedrooms to lay them on the ends of their beds. There is something so exciting and magical about it, even now they're too old to 'believe' any more. My husband and I put together Christmas stockings for each other too, and I love waking up and getting stuck in! You are NEVER too old to have a Christmas stocking, in my opinion.

5) Favourite christmas film?
No contest - Elf! It makes me laugh so much and is my ultimate feelgood Christmas film.

6) Favourite christmas song?
I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day by Wizzard. I know it's been around for years and the shops all play it to death but it reminds me of my childhood and still makes me smile. Altogether now: "When the snowman brings the snow..."

7) Favourite christmas tradition?
It's got to be putting up the tree. The smell of pine needles is instantly Christmassy and the whole family helps hang the branches with decorations old and new. The children choose a new decoration each year and we have all the cotton-wool snowmen and cardboard robins they made in playgroup, so the whole thing is a complete mish-mash of styles and colours. It wouldn't win any awards for beauty, that's for sure - but there's a memory and a story with each little bauble and reindeer which makes it really unique and personal to us.

8) What are you hoping to find under the christmas tree this year?!
I am very much hoping to receive Marian Keyes' new book this year... that's if I don't crack and buy it myself before then, of course. Huge temptation!

9) What's the best Christmas present you've ever been given and why?
This might sound a bit odd but... a piano! One of the pubs nearby was being refurbished and their piano was headed for the skip so my husband hired a van and rescued it. It stank of cigarettes at first, and there were pint-glass marks all along the top - there were even some bits of old crisp wedged between some of the keys (nice!) but we cleaned it up and tuned it, and everyone has loved playing on it ever since. So if you fancy carols around the piano this year, you know where to come.

10) What is up next for you?
2015 is going to be a busy year for me - I have two novels published! The first is out on New Year's Day, and is called The Year of Taking Chances, and then I've got Summer At Shell Cottage coming in June. I've just started thinking about the book after that... I'll keep you posted!

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