My lovely friend Cally Taylor has a brand new book published today (she also had a baby a few weeks ago, my mind boggles with how tired she must be). She very kindly sent me a copy to review which arrived the day before I went into hospital as a day case, which was a relief as I wouldn’t normally have time to read a book. She has kindly offered me a copy to giveaway and answered some of my random questions that I came up with as I was reading. Read on to find out what I thought and how to enter.
Beth Prince has always loved fairytales and now, aged twenty-four, she feels like she’s finally on the verge of her own happily ever after. She lives by the seaside, works in the Picturebox – a charming but rundown independent cinema – and has a boyfriend who’s so debonair and charming she can’t believe her luck! There’s just one problem – none of her boyfriends have ever told her they love her and it doesn’t look like Aiden’s going to say it any time soon. Desperate to hear ‘I love you’ for the first time Beth takes matters into her own hands – and instantly wishes she hadn’t. Just when it seems like her luck can’t get any worse, bad news arrives in the devilishly handsome shape of Matt Jones. Matt is the regional director of a multiplex cinema and he’s determined to get his hands on the Picturebox by Christmas. Can Beth keep her job, her man and her home or is her romantic-comedy life about to turn into a disaster movie?
I thought that this was a lovely story. I am a fan of the genre and I loved that the book is set in Brighton. Also it is set at Christmas and I love anything to do with Christmas. Cally writes characters that I can identify with and really like. I felt that the chemistry between the two main characters was really believable. The book is written from the point of view of the two main characters Beth and Matt and I felt that this made the story flow and made it hard to put the book down. It made me laugh out loud in places and I really got swept up into these characters lives. Overall I felt that it was a great romantic read and really put a smile on my face.
I put a few questions to Cally that had popped into my mind when I was reading ‘Home for Christmas’.
I laughed aloud when reading the book, is it hard to be humourous when writing?
Writing humour is difficult. Sometimes, when I’m in a silly mood it just flows and I make myself laugh out loud. At other times, when my mood is a bit more serious, it can be like pulling teeth! Then there’s the fact that things that make me laugh, other people don’t get. But when I DO make people laugh it’s the best feeling ever – you telling me that ‘Home for Christmas’ made you laugh when you were in the hospital made my day!
Home for Christmas is set in Brighton (where we met!). Did you enjoy writing about a place you know so well? Do you do most of it from memory or did you have to do lots of research?
I LOVED writing about Brighton because, at the time of writing it, I’d lived there for thirteen years and knew it like the back of my hand. I didn’t have to do any research – I just had to shut my eyes to instantly transport myself onto the seafront on a rainy day or into a pub when it was snowing outside. Brighton’s a little bit magical and I thought it was the perfect setting for a Christmas story about love.
I remember seeing you tweet that you were getting a bit drunk to enable you to write a particular scene. Are there some parts that you find hard to write?
Hee hee! Yes, I had to have a couple of glasses of wine before I wrote the sex scene in Home for Christmas – partly to make myself feel less self-conscious and partly to block out the fact my mum and dad would read it when the book was published!
Your first novel, Heaven Can Wait had a supernatural theme. Did you consider exploring that area further in your second novel?
The first draft of my second novel was called ‘Happiness Ever After’ and featured guardian angels however, unlike ‘Heaven Can Wait’ (my first novel) where the supernatural element was vital to the plot, myself, my agent and my editor agreed that the story would be stronger if it was a straight romantic comedy so we dropped the supernatural element and I rewrote the novel that became ‘Home for Christmas’.
Do you make you characters up from scratch or are they based on people you know in real life?
90% of my characters are created from scratch but I have written a couple of characters that are slightly based on people I know. And of course I do put a little bit of myself into some of my characters – but I’m not telling you which ones! 😉
What is your favourite part of Christmas?
My favourite part of Christmas is the build up and the anticipation. I love getting in the mood for Christmas by decorating the tree and listening to Christmas music or going out shopping for presents and then wrapping them up. Ooh, and you can’t beat a good Christmas film. I feel all Christmassy just thinking about it!
If you would like to win a signed copy of ‘Home for Christmas’ there are two ways to enter:
1. Leave a comment on this post telling me which is your favourite thing about Christmas (please ensure that there is a way of contacting you – twitter ID or email address where possible).
I am entering @Kellyfairy’s competition http://bit.ly/6S5eU to win a copy of Home for Christmas by @callytaylor #competition
If you tweet please leave a seperate comment so I can count it as an entry.
Small print: This competition is open until midnight on Wednesday 16th November 2011. It is open to UK residents only. The winner will be picked by my glamorous assistant Piran. The winner will need to provide me with their name and address which I will pass to the author for the purpose of sending the prize.
Disclaimer: I received a review copy of ‘Home for Christmas’.