Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Poppy Alexander puts us in a holiday mood

We're pleased to have Poppy Alexander visiting us today. Her debut novel, 25 Days in December (25 Days 'Til Christmas in the US) publishes this week in the UK. She's here to talk about her novel and Christmas, of course!

Poppy Alexander wrote her first book when she was five. There was a long gap in her writing career while she was at school, and after studying classical music at university, she decided the world of music was better off without her and took up public relations, campaigning, political lobbying and a bit of journalism instead. She takes an anthropological interest in family, friends and life in her West Sussex village (think, The Archers crossed with Twin Peaks) where she lives with her husband, children and various other pets. Visit Poppy on Facebook.

Kate Potter used to know what happiness felt like.

A few years ago, she was full of energy, excited by every possibility. But that was back when everything was different, before Kate's husband went away with the army and didn't come home. She can't even remember what it felt like to be in love.

Then Kate meets Daniel. Recognising her loneliness reflected in his eyes, Kate vows to try and help bring him out of his shell. But as Kate plans to bring life back to Daniel, she might have stumbled on the secret to happiness...

Can one chance meeting change two lives?

Purchase links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

What were the biggest reward and biggest challenge with writing 25 Days in December?
Good question! The biggest challenge was totally immersing myself in all things Christmas whilst writing during a heat wave. It was hot, hot, hot… actually, it reminded me of the Narnia story where it’s always winter and never Christmas but, for me, it was the other way around. As for rewards, who wouldn’t love immersing themselves in all that Christmas spirit: the snowball fights, the carol services, the mulled wine, the crisp, frosty mornings… And the anticipation too. Somehow there is this feeling – for me – that however tough life can be, there is some magical healing balm that Christmas can bring.

How are you similar to or different from Kate?
Kate’s a much better parent than me. She’s funny, warm and giving and she puts little Jack first in everything she does. Really, she goes to superhuman lengths to make sure he’s okay, even though she is going through a really tough time herself. Whilst I would also do anything for my children - as long as it occurred to me – they do get a bit neglected when I am in the throes of writing a novel. We probably end up having spag bol three times a week, because I just don’t have the brain space to think of anything else. They are very tolerant, bless them.

If 25 Days were made into a movie, who would you cast in the leading roles?
As it happens, the screen rights have been optioned (!) so that’s a question I idly think of a lot. Of course, I am unlikely to be involved in casting, but I am thinking seriously about my red carpet dress – as you do… When I was writing 25 Days, my editor instructed me to think of those perfect Christmas films, such as The Holiday, and Love Actually. Actors like Kate Winslet and Jude Law spring to mind, but – with the greatest of respect – those two are knocking on a bit now, so I would probably look at up and coming actors such as Emilia Clarke and Henry Golding. See below.

What is a favorite Christmas tradition you have with your family?
It’s a slightly odd one; we formed a tradition of leaving a mince pie and a whiskey for Father Christmas, and a carrot for Rudolph by the fireplace. So far, so typical. Anyhow, between you and me, we would wait ‘til the children had gone to bed and snaffle it all ourselves. I would even take a bite out of the carrot, which was true dedication because I am not a fan of chomping raw root vegetables. Several years later we are still doing it, even though our children are a bit old for that sort of thing. My daughter insists and I am suspicious of her motives because I think the ‘having to eat a raw carrot’ bit amuses her.

What is your favorite Christmas movie?
Ooh, can I have two? I just can’t choose between The Holiday and Love Actually. As above, I just adore them both. I could happily spend most of December watching them on repeat whilst laughing, crying and drinking Baileys. Also, I am very excited to see the actors I mentioned earlier, who are the romantic leads in this year’s big Christmas movie. Last Christmas looks like just that sort of film - a feel-good, heartwarming treat – and I’ll be there with my popcorn the moment it is released in the UK.

What is your favorite Christmas dessert?
I wonder how many people would agree if I said it’s not Christmas Pudding? I mean, I’ll eat it – it’s only once a year, after all – but my ‘go to’ dessert for sheer, sinful pleasure, would always be my mother’s Chocolate Roulade, shaped as a yule log and stuffed with cream and praline. I make it myself these days and it’s not quite the same but – if I say so myself – it ain’t bad.

Thanks to Poppy for chatting with us and to Orion for coordinating the interview.

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