The perfect holiday read, a feel-good festive romance with hot chocolate, tinsel and mistletoe by the bucket-load!
For the perfect Christmas…
When career-girl Holly Brice learns that her estranged father has died, she decides to take a trip down memory lane and find out about the man she never knew.
Arriving in the sleepy little Dartmoor village, she’s shocked to discover that she’s inherited the cosy little cottage she remembers so fondly, a whole load of money – and her father’s adorable dog, too!
Head to snow-covered Devon!
And as the first snowflakes begin to fall and Holly bumps into her gorgeous neighbour, Jack Nelson, life gets even more complicated! Men have always been off the cards for high-flying Holly, but there’s something about mysterious writer Jack that has her re-thinking her three-date rule…
Author: T. A Williams
Title: What Happens at Christmas
Publication Date: 22nd Oct 2015
Links: Book Links
Author Guest Post
Welcome to Sincerely Book Angels
What was the inspiration behind this novel?
When my editor at Carina UK told me she wanted me to write a “Christmas book”, I knew I wanted something set here in Devon. As for the idea for the story, it came to me while I was on a long walk on Dartmoor. I was thinking about letters I had written as a young man (before the days of emails) and that’s how it happened. Letters play an important role in What Happens at Christmas.
Did you always want to be a writer?
Yes, always. I’ve still got my very first work here in my office. The Lake Dwellers, a shameless rip off of Swallows and Amazons, written in pencil when I was about 13.
What other jobs have you had?
I spent my working life in the English language industry, first as a teacher, then director of studies and then principal of one of the best-known EFL schools in the UK.
How did it feel when your first novel was published?
It felt absolutely amazing. Even more amazing was the email I got from the publishers some months earlier telling me they wanted to publish me. I remember running to tell my wife. She was in the shower at the time and had to wipe the soap out of her eyes as she read it.
Have you ever had writer's block? If so how did you overcome it?
I usually have two or three projects bubbling away at any one time, so if things get tricky in one, I swap to another for a few hours/days and my subconscious usually sorts things out.
What motivates you to keep writing?
It’s a drug. I can’t not write. As for motivation, the answer certainly isn’t money (unless you are very, very lucky, there’s not a lot of money in writing, unless it’s ransom notes). It’s just the knowledge that there are thousands of people out there who have read and enjoyed my stuff.
Do your characters moods ever affect your mood and vice versa?
Very definitely. Normally the former. If I’m lucky, about a third of the way through writing a new book, the characters start to take on a life of their own and they sometimes head off in unexpected directions. I know that sounds crazy, because it’s me writing, but it happens. I can easily get stinging eyes when I read a scene where something sad has happened.
What three pieces of advice would you give to an aspiring writer?
Enjoy your writing. Write what you want to write. Never give up, even when the pile of rejections reaches ceiling height.
Which authors inspire you?
I’ve always loved Tom Sharpe and JP Donleavy. Some of my fellow authors at Carina UK like Annie Lyons are awesome.
What are you reading at the moment?
A book called Tregian’s Ground by Anne Cuneo. It’s the story of the life of a musician at the time of Queen Elizabeth I. I’ve always loved historical novels. My all time favourite book is probably Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantell.
If your book was made into a film what song would you choose for the opening credits?
Great question. The opening sequence would be Holly and her friend driving her old Porsche along a sinuous Dartmoor road in midwinter. Her father has just dies, so something sombre. An off the wall option might be the Winter part of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons.
Who would you choose to play your favourite character in the film of your book?
Really great question. Holly is beautiful, intelligent and pretty self-sufficient. It would have to be a confident actress, maybe Anne Hathaway?
What is your next book about?
It’s about a girl setting up her own language school in the Italian Alps. It’s a love story with a difference.
Thanks Trevor, it's been a pleasure to have you on the blog.
See below for an excerpt from the book and a chance to win a prize.
Snippet & Giveaway
She woke up at seven o’clock next morning with somebody trying to strangle her. A heavy weight was pinning her to the pillow, while a muscular arm pressed down upon her windpipe. She opened her eyes, but it was still pitch dark in the house. As the panic began to build, a long, warm tongue began to lick her cheek.
‘Oh, God, Stirling, stop that, will you. And your breath stinks. Get off this minute. Please, Stirling.’ With difficulty she managed to dislodge the dog from her throat and tip him over the edge of the bed onto the floor. He landed with a thud. Staying under the duvet, she shimmied across to the edge of the bed to check that he hadn’t hurt himself. She peered down into the dark. A large back nose appeared right in front of her and he would have licked her again if she hadn’t retreated. She lay there for another five minutes, conscious of the dog’s staring eyes, before accepting the inevitable. She pushed back the covers and climbed out of bed. Reaching for the matches, she lit the candle and looked down at the dog.
‘You’re a pain in the backside. You know that, don’t you?’ Delighted to hear her talking to him, he jumped to his feet and started wagging his tail. ‘God, it’s bloody cold.’ She pulled her jeans and jumper on over the top of her pyjamas and slipped on her warmest shoes; a gorgeous pair of Jimmy Choo ankle boots she had found in the Harvey Nicks sale last January, at less than half price. She took the candle and followed the now very excited dog downstairs into the kitchen. It was equally cold in there, so she put the candle down on the table and set about lighting the stove.
Once she had got a good fire going, she plucked up the courage to go to the loo. As she feared, the bathroom was freezing cold. She came back downstairs, went across to the window and looked out over the back garden. Dawn wouldn’t be for another hour, but it was not totally dark out there. The moon had disappeared, but there was still enough light from the stars for her to be able to distinguish shapes of bushes and trees in the garden. Closer to her, Greta the Porsche was sparkling with frost, the starlight reflecting in the host of ice crystals that covered all the horizontal surfaces. As Holly looked out, she ran her fingers across the inside of the glass. She wasn’t surprised to see them come away with a thin layer of ice on them. She went back over to the stove and packed another couple of logs into it.
‘I’d give my eye teeth for a cup of tea.’ She gazed wistfully at the electric kettle on the worktop, idly wondering to herself what eye teeth were. Stirling was standing beside his basket, unsure whether he should be gearing up for a walk or whether he would be told to go back to bed. Holly gave a little smile as she saw that he had somehow collected her father’s old jumper and brought it downstairs. A grey sleeve was hanging over the side of the basket. She stared at it for a few seconds before taking a deep breath and deciding she had better take the dog for a walk. He was delighted.
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About the Author
Firstly, my name isn't T A. It's Trevor. I write under the androgynous name T A Williams because 65% of books are read by women. In my first book, "Dirty Minds" one of the (female) characters suggests the imbalance is due to the fact that men spend too much time getting drunk and watching football. I couldn't possibly comment. Ask my wife...
I've written all sorts: thrillers, historical novels, short stories and now I'm enjoying myself hugely writing humour and romance. Romantic comedies are what we all need from time to time. Life isn’t always very fair. It isn’t always a lot of fun, but when it is, we need to embrace it. If my books can put a smile on your face and maybe give your heartstrings a tug, then I know I’ve done my job.
I‘ve lived all over Europe, but now I live in a little village in sleepy Devon, tucked away in south west England. I love the place. That’s why you’ll find leafy lanes and thatched cottages in most of my books. Oh, yes, and a black Labrador.
I've been writing since I was 14 and that is half a century ago. However, underneath this bald, wrinkly exterior, there beats the heart of a youngster. My wife is convinced I will never grow up. I hope she's right.
Social Networking Links
Amazon Author: http://www.amazon.com/T-A-Williams/e/B00FDVNVMA/