Did someone say it’s nearly Christmas? There are only 80 days to go!!!!
Hi Kirsty, great to be able to catch up again and talk about your new book Holly’s Christmas Secret and of cause Christmas!
Are you a lover or hater of Christmas Kirsty?
I love it. I particularly enjoy my Christmas dinner, pjs after that and prosecco, chocolate and trashy tv all afternoon! Calories don’t count on Christmas Day, right?
Of cause all the veg we eat with Christmas dinner cancels everything else out
What are your likes and dislikes about Christmas?
I love the build-up and my favourite day is perhaps Christmas Eve as it’s still magical, even as an adult.
What I don’t like is the fact Christmas starts in the shops in September, and I hate the commercialism part of it – that makes me sound miserable, perhaps, but I think it’s more than just parents getting stressed and overspending.
A three-year-old isn’t going to remember Mummy’s perfect Christmas table – they’re going to remember playing with their toys all day, and eating a boat load of chocolate until they are bouncing of the walls.
Actually, who am I kidding – that’s me with the chocolate, that is!
Do you have any Christmas traditions, if so what are they are they carried on from your childhood or have you created your own?
A mixture of both. My Christmas tree still has three very special decorations on it – a pom-pom owl and a pom-pom Santa which I made in primary school, and a white felt snowman I made in secondary school. He has a red knitted hat and a red knitted scarf, and my gran knitted those for him, so he’s extra special.
Since I had my own son, we have always put a mince pie, a carrot and a drink for Santa on Christmas Eve. My husband and I argue over who has to bite the end off the carrot each year to make it look as if Rudolph ate it. I usually try to bargain out of it by saying I’ll have the wine and the mince pie instead, but it doesn’t always work. My son is 19. We still do it. We still argue over it. And I’m pretty sure it’s his turn to be Rudolph this year.
We always go to the Family Crib Service on Christmas Eve with a whole load of our friends, and we always take a picture of the kids in the same position outside the church afterwards. Means as the oldest ‘child’ is almost 23, and the youngest is 16, we’ve been doing it for a while now!
Then we go home, order a Chinese takeaway and eat it on our knees in front of the Muppets Christmas Carol. I always wrap my presents whilst watching Elf, and on Christmas afternoon it’s new pjs, prosecco, a bath with my new bath products and new Broons book or Oor Wullie book – depending on which one is out that year – and eating chocolate until I pop. Bring it on!
Do you think we’ll have a white Christmas this year?
It can snow on Christmas Eve after I’m back from church, stay white and snow a bit on Christmas Day, then melt overnight for Boxing Day! That’s it.
What is your earliest Christmas memory?
I was taken to visit Santa Claus at Fenwicks in Newcastle when I was about five. My mum and grandma took me, and we had sausage and chips in the rooftop restaurant at the Co-Op before we went. Once we were at Fenwicks, we were ushered into a magical sleigh ride, and it was really dark. The ‘sleigh’ moved off, and fake snow came down from the ceiling and I remember it settling on my coat. I was wearing one of those brown furry hats that were all the range in the 70’s with pom pom things on the cords you tied under your chin and had a brown furry muff to match! The ‘snow’ stopped, and the lights came back on, and these black velvet curtains parted and there was Santa’s Grotto in front of me! I don’t remember getting the sleigh back – we were probably let out the fire exit! But I remember the journey to the grotto very well.
What was the best present you received as a child?
Tough one – I’ve had some lush presents. My Bedtime Bear Care Bear is fab – I say ‘is’ because I’ve still got him, and he lives in my bedroom. Also, I got a bike with a basket on the front when I was 16 –a purple Raleigh Caprice. I wanted to be Myfanwy from the David Essex video. I’ve still got that bike and have been using it this summer. Love it.
That’s the one present I always wanted and never got a Care Bear!
What was the one present you always wanted but never got?
A Mr Frosty! My husband, however, sourced one out for me a couple of years ago and I was very happy. I made alcoholic frozen cocktails in it. So then I was very happy.
What is your favourite Christmas carol and Pop Song?
Ohhhhh Do they Know it’s Christmas by Band Aid is right up there, along with Fairytale of New York by Kirsty MacColl and the Pogues, Last Christmas by Wham and David Essex’s Winter’s Tale. They are ageless. Can you tell I’m a child of the eighties…? If I had to go classical, I love Prokofiev’s Troika, and carol-wise I’ve always loved We Three Kings of Orient Are, Little Donkey, and In the Deep Midwinter.
If you were asked to guest DJ on a national radio station on Christmas day what would you play?
All those songs I mentioned before. And a good proportion of other famous Christmas Songs. But nothing modern by Reality Show contestants….so totally not Christmas records. And that takes us back to commercialism again.
What would you buy the main characters in Holly’s Christmas Secret for Christmas?
Holly, my historical heroine, would appreciate a big box of watercolour paints.
Noel, my historical hero, would probably appreciate a typewriter or a nice fountain pen.
Sorcha, my contemporary heroine, would love something like a Primrose Bakery Cookbook or a Hummingbird Bakery cookbook (I have both, highly recommended).
Locryn, my contemporary hero, would probably appreciate a first edition of a certain book – but to find out which one, you’d have to read my book…
Holly’s Christmas Secret
Once upon a Cornish Christmas …
It’s almost Christmas at the Pencradoc estate in Cornwall which means that, as usual, tea room owner Sorcha Davies is baking up a festive storm. And this year Sorcha is hoping her mince pies will be going down a treat at ‘The Spirit of Christmas Past’ exhibition being organised at the house by new local antiques dealer, Locryn Dyer.
But as Locryn and Sorcha spend more time together, they begin to uncover a very special story of Christmas past that played out at Pencradoc more than a century before, involving a certain ‘Lady’ Holly Sawyer, a festive dinner party and a magical secret encounter with a handsome author …
Kirsty is from the North East of England and won the English Heritage/Belsay Hall National Creative Writing competition in 2009 with the ghostly tale ‘Enchantment’.
Her timeslip novel, ‘Some Veil Did Fall’, a paranormal romance set in Whitby, was published by Choc Lit in Autumn 2014. This was followed by another Choc Lit timeslip, ‘The Girl in the Painting’ in February 2016. ‘The Girl in the Photograph’, published in March 2017, completes the Rossetti Mysteries series. The experience of signing ‘Some Veil Did Fall’ in a quirky bookshop in the midst of Goth Weekend in Whitby, dressed as a recently undead person was one of the highlights of her writing career so far!
Kirsty’s first timeslip novel ‘The Memory of Snow’, commended in the Northern Writers’ Awards, is set on Hadrian’s Wall, with the vampire tale ‘Refuge’ set on the Holy Island of Lindisfarne. She has also put together a collection of short stories, a non-fiction collection of articles and writes Gothic Fiction under the pen name Cathryn Ramsay.
Kirsty has had articles and short stories published in Your Cat, Peoples Friend, Ghost Voices, The Weekly News and It’s Fate, and her short stories appear in several anthologies. She was a judge in the Paws ‘n’ Claws ‘Wild and Free’ Children’s Story competition in 2011, 2013 and 2014, and graduated from Northumbria University in December 2016, having achieved a Masters with Distinction in Creative Writing.
Check out Kirsty’s other books on the Choc Lit website