I'm delighted to welcome Carole Matthews to the blog today...
Please tell us a little about 'With Love at Christmas'
It’s a story about a chaotic family Christmas - we’ve all had them! The mum, Juliet Joyce, is a Christmas addict and can’t wait for it to come round every year. But this time she has a lot on her plate, her son is unemployed and living back at home as is her daughter, Chloe. She’s pregnant with her second child and has just left her partner. Juliet’s mum, at best eccentric, is behaving ever more erratically and her father is recovering from a heartbreak of his own. She’s doing her very best to hold it all together, but when she discovers texts from a mystery woman on her husband’s phone, she wonders if she’s been neglecting him too much. All she wants is her family to be happy and her home to be filled With Love at Christmas.
Which character did you most enjoy writing about in the novel?
I think Juliet. She’s the linchpin of the family and always tries to do the right thing while all hell is breaking loose around her. The only constant in Juliet’s life is her dog, Buster! He doesn’t give her any trouble. The whole family were features in an earlier book called That Loving Feeling and I enjoyed that all so much that when it came to do this year’s Christmas book, I thought they would be the perfect people to revisit.
With Love at Christmas is set around the traditions of the Joyce family. Do you have any specific traditions at Christmas?
My Christmas is full of little rituals that I always look forward to. Like Juliet in With Love at Christmas, I always have a glass of wine and a mince pie when I’m putting up my tree. We’ve also got into the habit of going into our next door neighbour’s house on Christmas morning, which we love. We start the day with a few glasses of fizz and a chat and then I go back to cook my Christmas dinner in a very happy state. We always watch The Muppet Christmas in the run up to the big day too. Once we see Kermit, that’s when Christmas really starts!
What is your favourite thing about Christmas?
The food! Mince pies are my weakness and now that I write Christmassy books, I have the perfect excuse for eating them from July onwards. Thankfully, the shops are happy to oblige. I do take shortcuts with my Christmas day meal though. No one should spend Christmas morning peeling veg, so I buy everything pre-prepared from Marks and Spencers. A bit more expensive, but so worth it. I also love putting up my tree - so much so that this year we’re going mad and having two trees. I can’t wait.
What are you working on now?
I’m currently writing my novel for summer 2014. My next book - A Cottage by the Sea - is already delivered and is out at the beginning of the new year. So not long to wait! There’ll also be a Christmas book for next year to keep my readers happy.
Thanks Carole. Scroll down to read our review of With Love at Christmas.