And finally, what’s the best Christmas present you ever received?First of all, would you tell my blog readers a little about yourself?
And a favourite Christmas song?
It might seem a cliché and materialistic to say a bracelet from my husband. But it was more the elaborate way he acquired it, after I’d admired it in a jeweller’s window. He asked my mother-in-law to distract me while he went back to get it. I have a love/hate relationship when it comes to surprises; emotional overload can be unpleasant, especially if I’m being observed. Luckily it was early Christmas morning when I opened it and only my husband and kids were around to watch me dissolve into tears. Ugly crying at its finest. Ordinarily, he won’t give me unexpected gifts, as he knows I can find it difficult and I’m a bit of a control freak. There’s a long story about the way he proposed to me in Paris years ago, as I knew all about it in advance (I even had the engagement ring in my handbag beforehand, for safe-keeping!) But that Christmas when he gave me the bracelet, I don’t think he was aware I’d forgotten about seeing it in the jeweller’s; he didn’t realise how much of a shock it would be. I honestly hadn’t expected anyone to get it, so I’d put it out of my mind. In a roundabout way, what I’m saying is the best gifts have stories attached. But as a writer, I would say that, wouldn’t I?
How do I choose?! I’ve got a few downloaded on my Kindle and several other sparkly, festive paperbacks on my bookshelf, and I don’t actually mind reading them all year round. I also tend to read more than one book at a time. I’m a slow reader due to cognitive issues, but I find it’s easier if I have more than one book on the go in different formats. Which means I’m sometimes enjoying a physical book, an eBook and an audiobook – following three different stories. Not all three at the same moment in time obviously; that would be quite a feat. This year, I’m lucky enough to have a signed hardback of Trisha Ashley’s latest hardback One More Christmas at the Castle (which I also own on Audible), and a hardback copy of Jenny Colgan’s The Christmas Bookshop. Aren’t they stunning? The settings are fabulous and wintry and magical – a large country house in the wilds of Northumberland and the snowy, hilly streets of Edinburgh.
Well it introduces us to the picturesque (sadly fictional) Shropshire village of Pebblestow, which will feature in future books; there’s another Christmas one coming out next October. A Christmas Wish on a Carousel is a standalone romantic comedy about a young woman, Cara, who makes a wish on a beautiful vintage carousel while visiting a Christmas market, then finds that her small but safe existence spins alarmingly out of control. It’s ultimately a book about learning to value yourself as well as falling for your soulmate, and there’s a strong sense of community, family and friendship. And a ball of canine fluff which I also assume is a Pomeranian. Wonder where that idea came from…?
Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas. I love this in every incarnation of the song, from Judy Garland to Kelly Clarkson, though I like the Judy Garland one best. If you listen to the lyrics as sung in the movie Meet Me in St. Louis it’s very poignant and relevant to our current situation with the pandemic, and no surprise that Garland’s version was so popular with the US troops during the Second World War. I also imagine the heroine to A Christmas Wish on a Carousel dancing to the Michael Bublé version with the hero – though where and when, and how much of a tradition it might become, well… that would be another story…
How do you plan to celebrate Christmas this year?
Thank you for having me here on your blog today, Joanne. It’s lovely to be back albeit in a different guise. As Lottie Cardew I write uplifting, heartstring-tugging RomComs with charming heroines and swoony heroes, which also feature neurodivergent and disabled rep. I’ve recently written modern fairy tales as Valerie-Anne Baglietto, so a tiny, subtle bit of magic often creeps in too. I’m the bossiest of the Novelistas, a group of local writers founded by bestselling author Trisha Ashley. A few years ago I was diagnosed autistic, and nowadays we suspect ADHD, too, as they often go together, so my brain can be an interesting place to occupy most of the time. I live in North Wales with my husband and not-so-young family, and a ball of fluff from a rescue centre that we assume is a Pomeranian.
Snuggled at home, as usual. Since the kids were little, we’ve always hosted Christmas Day. Last year we had to Zoom with the grandparents even though they live locally. This year we’re hoping they can join the fun in-person again. My husband and I also have our wedding anniversary between Christmas and New Year. We have to collect our middle child from Cardiff Uni when the holidays start, so we’re hoping to celebrate early and tie it in with a couple of days away, taking in the Christmas markets in the Welsh capital. But with this new Covid variant around, who knows what might happen?
How can people follow you or connect with you on social media?
Elf. It’s been our ‘Christmas Eve, Eve’ movie for years now. I still recall taking our eldest to watch it at the cinema when it first came out, though we went to see it just before New Year, and the ending made me sad thinking Christmas Eve had already passed. Little did I know it would become such a firm family favourite. Oh, and it’s also obligatory to watch Nativity! (the first one) at some point during the festivities.
How did you come up with the title for your book?
Thanks so much Lottie – what a lovely bracelet!
A Christmas Wish on a Carousel is available now in ebook format.
You can order your copy here: A Christmas Wish on a Carousel
Christmas Eve was always marked with a big feast in my family, and the few times I got together with my extended family in Gibraltar, let’s just say it was a huge, chaotic, Mediterranean affair. My husband – who enjoys family get-togethers and food just as much as I do – latched on to the tradition after we were married, so we still enjoy it to this day even though it’s gone through a few variations over the years.
In a nutshell, what is your Christmas book about?
Well, I’ve been busy the past few weeks featuring lots of different authors who have festive books out this year. Today, I’m delighted to welcome Lottie Cardew who is the final #AuthorInTheFestiveSpotlight, for this year anyway. I enjoyed this feature so much though, I might do it all again next year. And watch out this Friday for something a little different.
What’s your favourite Christmas film?
What Christmas book are you looking forward to reading this year?
I love Christmas, and I adored merry-go-rounds as a child. There’s something magical about them, those horses that seem so majestic and yet friendly at the same time, I loved introducing my own children to the experience of whirling around to the fairground music. As for the title – it popped into my head one night while lying in bed. I already had the main concept for the ‘twist’, as I’d come up with it years ago, but the timing never felt right to put fingers to keyboard until I had the idea of the wish as the hook.
Anyway, back to today’s spotlight. I read Lottie’s book A Christmas Wish on a Carousel recently and absolutely loved it. You can read my review here. And Lottie might like to keep an eye out for my final batch of 2021 Top Reads which I’m revealing next week…
I’m all over the place – even TikTok (not quite sure how that one happened):
Do you still keep any Christmas traditions from your childhood?