Scarlett Bailey, author of The Night Before Christmas is my guest today. The Night Before Christmas is Scarlett’s debut novel; I’m reading it at the moment and very much enjoying it. Scarlett is also doing her own Countdown to Christmas in the form of a brilliant online advent calendar which contains a short story called Santa, Maybe. Scarlett is posting part of the story every day until 24th December – you can read it at: http://adventcalendr.com/scarlettbailey/ Welcome Scarlett!
Your debut novel, the festively-titled The Night Before Christmas is out now, could you tell us a little about the story and your inspiration for it please?
The Night Before Christmas is the story of Lydia, who is hoping to experience her first perfect Christmas ever, in a beautiful house in the Lake District surrounded by her friends and her boyfriend, who she happens to know has packed an engagement ring. But when an old flame turns up out of the blue, as her best friend’s latest beau, Lydia isn’t sure of how she feels about anything any more…. I hope there are a lot of laughs, the odd tear, a large amount of Christmas and a good deal of kissing. Oh and snow.
Your book is all about the perfect Christmas; what is your favourite Christmas tradition?
Interesting, like Lydia I didn’t really have many perfect Christmasses as a child, my family split when I was quite young and no matter where I was at Christmas there was always someone important missing. As an adult I think my favourite tradition is to just be with the people I love and who make me laugh, and to have a very large glass of Bailey’s (What else) at least once or twice a day.
A few years ago I stayed with some friends in a cottage in Suffolk for Christmas (this is where the turkey story in the book comes from) it was a sweet cottage, but freezing as the central heating was broken, (oh another story from the book!) We huddled together for warmth in front of a huge fire, there was no TV, so it was all talking, drinking and reading. That was pretty perfect.
What is your top tip for surviving the Christmas party season?
Remain slightly tipsy at all times, and make sure you’ve broken in your new high heels around the house for a few weeks before the big party. Oh and also keeps some mistletoe handy, you never know when you might bump into a likely candidate for kissing.
What is or would be the best book-related Christmas gift that Santa could deliver?
I have a yen to do some writing with a fountain pen. Its pure whimsy, I’m sure I’d get fed up with it quite quickly, but I’d rather like a fancy fountain pen to flourish.
Who is your favourite Christmas book/novel character?
I love a ghost story at Christmas, so although it is not strictly a Christmas book I love reading The Turn of the Screw by Henry James. Hard to think of a more atmospheric and unsettling ghost story to keep you up all night on Christmas Eve waiting for Santa.
You’re a fan of old movies; which is your must see Christmas film?
An Affair to Remember staring Deborah Kerr and Cary Grant. Oh my god, if you have never seen this film you must see it now. Its pure melodrama and romance and I adore it.
And finally … what can we expect next from Scarlett Bailey?
My second novel, which has just been retitled ‘Married by Christmas (there’s a scoop for you) will be out this time next year.
Thank you Scarlett.