Hello Scarlett! First of all, congratulations on the release of The Night Before Christmas. Can you please tell us what it is about?
A: Hello! Thanks very much, The Night Before Christmas is about Lydia, who heads off to The Lake District with her boyfriend and soon to be fiancé, hoping to share the perfect Christmas with her group of friends. But things take an unexpected turn when she finds out that her boyfriend is planning to propose to her, a blast from the past turns up to rock her world and she meets a mysterious and very attractive stranger.
Did you have the plot entirely figured out when you started writing or did it take unexpected turns as the characters grew on the page?
A: I did have the plot planned out, which I think is a good idea if you don’t want to get lost along the way – there are a lot of words in a novel, and I think its probably easy to take the wrong path. Having said that, a good deal of the plot and the characters evolved during the writing spontaneously and I think they are the best bits!
The Night Before Christmas is your debut novel. How did your book deal come about and how did you feel to finally see it in print?
A: I was lucky enough to have a great agent in place, and the right idea at the right time. I had a Christmas book idea, and my publisher Ebury were looking for a Christmas book – we were on the same page in terms of plot and feel, and so we agreed on a one book deal. I have since agreed on a second one book deal, so there will be a new book out in October. Seeing it in print was incredibly exciting, not just because of the really beautiful cover, but when you see the words you’ve written properly printed like that, it's just wow – I wrote that!
The cover of the book is simply gorgeous! How much input – if any – did you have in its creation? If allowed, would you have changed anything about it?
A: It is LOVELY, isn’t it? I had no input at all, but as soon as I set eyes on it I adored it and I wouldn’t change a thing.
If you are already working on your next writing project, would you mind giving us a little anticipation of what we are to expect?
A: I am nearly the end of my second novel, which is called ‘Married by Christmas’ and it's about Anna Carter, who two weeks before her dream Christmas wedding discovers that her fiancé Tom is hiding a massive secret, one that could ruin everything. It’s a fun old romp and I’ve got to take my character to New York, which has been brilliant.
Due to the popularity of social networking websites, it seems that interacting with readers – be it via a Twitter account, a Facebook page, a blog etc. – is becoming increasingly important. How do you cope with these new demands on authors and do you think that they somehow disrupt your writing schedule?
A: I just love it, I love being able to talk to people who’ve read my book, and to other writers who have all been completely lovely to me. In fact I wanted to say thank you to all for the great support I had before Christmas and so I wrote a free Christmas story in the form of an advent calendar for everyone who cheered me on. It was called ‘Santa, Maybe’ and it was a lot of fun to do, but did give me an extra twenty-five thousand words to write in Decemeber! I don’t think it disrupts my writing, unless I let it.
What one fundamental piece of advice would you give to aspiring writers?
A: Write as much as you can and read as much as you can. Writing is like playing the piano, the more you practice the better you get.
And lastly, is there anything that you would like to share that I haven’t asked?
A: I don’t think so… only that I am still trying to find out what the current most popular cocktail in New York is, so if anyone knows drop me a line on twitter!
Thank you for your time!
To win a copy of The Night Before Christmas, please fill out this form. The competition will end on the 2nd April.