Today I am part of the blog blitz for The Christmas Spirit by Susan Buchanan: I interviewed her! There is also an INTERNATIONAL giveaway going on for some ebooks. Be sure to check that out!
Christmas is coming, but not everyone is looking forward to it.
Rebecca has just been dumped and the prospect of spending the holiday period with her parents is less than appealing.
Eighty- two year old Stanley lost his beloved wife, Edie, to cancer. How will he cope with his first Christmas without her?
Jacob’s university degree hasn’t helped him get a job, and it looks like he’ll still be signing on come New Year.
Workaholic Meredith would rather spend December 25th at home alone with a ready meal and a DVD box set. Can anything make her embrace the spirit of the season?
The enigmatic Natalie Hope takes over the reins at the Sugar and Spice bakery and café in an attempt to spread some festive cheer and restore Christmas spirit, but will she succeed?
JRR (Jessica’s Reading Room): Tell us a little about yourself.
Hi Jessica. Well, I’ve written four books and am actually in the middle of two more. I live near Glasgow with my husband and two cherubs, one of each. I juggle the monkeys and my proofreading and editing business, although I now have a dedicated writing day, which should mean more books in the future.
I love the theatre, quiz shows, fine dining (well, food, generally!) and movies. Did I forget books?!
JRR: Did you always want to become an author?
Yes and no. I have written stories from an early age, but life has a habit of getting in the way. I actually wanted to be a linguist when I left school and went to uni and did a Masters in French and Hispanic Studies, then worked in European and International Sales for many years. When I was made redundant a few years ago, my then boyfriend (now husband) suggested I try to publish the book I’d been writing on holiday for about six years!
JRR: And now you have written four books with more to come! What inspires you to write?
Everything and anything. It can be a chance remark I overhear in a café or in a conversation with a friend. It can be a person. I have some clients who work so hard that they put me to shame and I think ‘right, no more procrastinating, I will write today’ or it can be the germ of an idea.
JRR: So be careful where you are in public, you never know who may overhear you and use what you say for a book! 😉 Now, what does your writing process consist of? Do you research, do you handwrite or type, do you have music playing or need silence?
I handwrite only when I am without my laptop. Yes, writing by hand is nice, but a) my writing is awful – like a doctor’s and b) it just means I need to type it into the laptop later. When I am out and about, I do use my notebook, but more for planning out scenes and capturing ideas. I research a lot. I hate inconsistencies and now as an editor of other people’s books that has become even more important for me!
I don’t usually have music on but if I do it’s classical.
JRR: What kind of advice can you give to aspiring authors?
Too long a list, but basically, write; write whenever you can; don’t give up; write what you love; write something you’d want to read. Don’t be afraid of not being good enough. There are ways to help you improve. No one gets it right first time.
JRR: Who is your favorite author as an adult?
Hmm. I don’t really have a favourite as I can’t choose between my top four or five. I will buy any new release by Jill Mansell, Carole Matthews and latterly by Holly Martin and Cathy Bramley, but I keep finding all these new authors that I love.
JRR: Who was the most influential author you read when you were growing up? Did his/her writings influence you to want to become an author?
My favourite author was the late Maeve Binchy. Her books and the way she wrote lovely, warm characters inspired me to write. And Enid Blyton’s stories made me want to always keep my imagination and believe in the magical.
JRR: If you could have dinner with three people (living or dead) who would they be and why?
Rupert Penry-Jones (he’s lovely!), Queen Victoria (I reckon she was a lot softer than they made out) and Maeve Binchy (reasons above).
JRR: Which book have you always meant to get around to reading, but still not read?
Anything by Jane Austen and Dickens. I’ve only read Pride and Prejudice and A Christmas Carol.
JRR: What is it like to write Christmas stories vs stories that take place at other times of the year? Do Christmas stories seem ‘magical’ to you?
I love writing Christmas stories. It is funny though writing about snow and decorations and mulled wine in July. I do feel that Christmas sparkle and smile to myself as I write (I know I do, I can’t help it!). Christmas is about spreading goodwill and my characters tend to need a bit of help around Christmas, so it warms my heart to be able to make that happen for them. And I love writing about all the Christmas traditions around the world.
JRR: Where did you get the idea for The Christmas Spirit? Which character was your ‘favorite’ to write?
I think I had a dream that inspired it. Natalie, the protagonist, was my favourite, although I did love writing Stanley, the old man, and Meredith was such a horror! Loved writing her too.
JRR: What’s the best advice you have ever received?
You’ve only got one life so live it.
JRR: Is there anything else you would like to share?
There’s a second book out, related to The Christmas Spirit, aptly named Return of the Christmas Spirit. And I hope to release The Proposal and Just One Day in the first half of 2019, with perhaps a Christmas-themed book for this time next year.
Merry Christmas everyone! Hope Santa’s good to you!
JRR: A second book! How exciting! And more from you in 2019! I look forward to it! Thank you for your time with this interview.
About the Author:
Susan Buchanan lives in Scotland with her husband and their two children. She is the author of four novels: Return of the Christmas Spirit, The Christmas Spirit, The Dating Game, and Sign of the Times. She is currently working on books five and six: The Proposal and Just One Day.
Susan is also a proofreader, editor and translator, and when not working, writing, or caring for her two delightful cherubs, loves reading, the theatre, quiz shows and eating out – not necessarily in that order!
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