I can’t tell you how thrilled I was when Sharon Bolton agreed to be interviewed for my newsletter and blog. I have been a fan since I read Sacrifice about eight years ago. Since then, I have devoured every single book she has written and enjoyed them all.
Read on to find out more about this wonderful author and her views on Christmas.
What do you think is the best thing about Christmas?
The way it turns the darkest of seasons beautiful. I just love the look of Christmas: twinkling lights in the black sky, sumptuously wrapped presents, wreathes on cottage doors, exquisitely decorated trees and tables groaning under piles of delicious food. One of the great joys of Christmas for me is making my home beautiful for the holiday, and seeing my neighbours do the same.
What will you be eating for Christmas lunch, and are you the cook?
Usually I’m the cook, although this year my nephew, an exceptionally talented professional chef, will be staying with us. (Bit of a moral dilemma about the fairness of asking him to cook on his day off!) I rarely cook turkey at Christmas – we’re a small family and I find it a bit bland. I love goose, duck and venison, and have been toying with the idea of wild boar. I guess it’s fair to say my tastes in Christmas food run to the mediaeval.
What was the best Christmas present you had last year?
I love gifts that are relevant to my current books – they always strike me as so thoughtful and personal, and last year my family tracked down a gorgeous silver necklace in the shape of a daisy. A Daisy On A Chain. It inspired me to launch a creative writing competition this year, with a similar necklace as a prize.
If you were buying somebody a book for Christmas, what would it be?
I buy lots of books at Christmas, often multiple copies of the same one. Last year my gift of choice was Rachel Joyce’s The Snow Garden, a delightful collection of six Christmas-themed, interlinked stories. I must have gifted half a dozen. I haven’t found my 2016 version yet, but I’ve just ordered a copy of Jeanette Winterson’s Christmas Days, a collection of twelve stories for the twelve days of Christmas. I love her writing, and this could well fit the bill.
Are you a party animal who enjoys games and wears a silly hat, or do you prefer to sit down quietly and watch the Queen’s speech?
My husband and I both come from big families and are used to noisy, busy Christmases. Christmas Eve is the time we have friends round, for daft games and dressing up. The next day, when it’s usually just the three of us, is much quieter. A good Christmas day for us would be church, long walk with the dog, couple of glasses of Prosecco in the village pub, doze it off, then dinner and a good action movie. I’m a fan of the Queen, but I don’t necessarily have to watch her message live.
Do you take a complete break for the holidays or do you find yourself squirrelled away in the office as soon as Boxing Day is over?
We’re a hard-working family. My husband works long hours, and is usually at his desk well into the evenings, our son is at a very academic school and gets lots of homework and I always seem to have a deadline to meet. The chances are we’ll all be back at it fairly soon. The last couple of years, though, we’ve gone together on research trips between Christmas and New Year. Last year, we braved the floods to visit York, the year before that our dog narrowly avoided killing the cathedral cat in Wells, Somerset. That’s work, I guess, but fun work. If we keep the tradition going, we’ll be heading to Pendle Hill in Lancashire on Boxing Day.
Is there one movie, piece of music or TV programme that puts you in the festive mood?
Chris Rea’s Driving Home For Christmas. It came out when I was a young woman, single, living a long way from home in the south of England, and always leaving that drive north until the very last minute on Christmas Eve. In those days, the M6 was even worse than it is now, and I’d inevitably spend up to six hours in traffic. The line, ‘It’s gonna take some time,’ still brings a nostalgic smile to my face.
Thanks so much to Sharon for sharing her thoughts with us.
Check out Sharon Bolton’s latest book – Daisy in Chains. It would make a fantastic gift for a thriller lover!