Tuesday 28 July 2015

Festive Q&A with Ali Chrisp!

Ali Chrisp’s career has included teaching aerobics in the early 1980s (often demonstrating death-defying lunges and squats on a dangerously wobbly trestle table!), working as a sales negotiator in a local estate agent, then spending twenty-three years as a civil servant. For the last five and a half years she has been working part-time as a personal assistant to a lady with Alzheimer’s. Ali is a real animal lover and the proud owner of Lola, a bonkers, mud-loving Labradoodle, and Winnie, a feisty rescue cat. She lives with her husband and their semi-feral teenage son who lurks in a dark corner of the house. He is mainly nocturnal, coming out to forage when the house is quiet and leaving a trail of destruction behind him. She wouldn’t change him for the world though.

Ali was the winner of the Write Time novel award run by Corazon Books in association with the Mature Times newspaper, for a previously unpublished author over fifty. Home Comforts is her first novel.

What sits on top of your Christmas tree?

Clinging on for dear life is a clip-on figure of ‘The Snowman’ which I’ve had since the 1980s.

Favourite Christmas song?

‘I believe in Father Christmas’ by Greg Lake. It brings back very happy memories and it’s one of the few Christmas songs that I don’t get bored with.

Favourite Christmas movie?

It has to be ‘White Christmas’ as I love the songs and I’m also a big Danny Kaye fan.

Favourite festive foodie treat?

Ooh, definitely mince pies - slightly warmed with a dusting of icing sugar on the top. Unfortunately, I never inherited my mum’s pastry-making skills so I usually buy them.

The best part of Christmas is…

Catching up with family and friends, wintery walks with our dog and decorating the tree.

The worst part of Christmas is…

Missing loved ones who are no longer with us, especially my mum and dad, and trying to do too much within an ever-shrinking timeframe.

Your best, and worst, Christmas present?

Best: When I was about ten years old I was given some amazing roller skates which had ball bearings in the wheels to make them go faster.

Worst: A box of very out-of-date chocolates which had turned white.

When do you do your Christmas shopping?

I usually start in mid-November and aim to have it finished by early December, apart from a few last-minute stocking fillers.

Any Christmas Day traditions?

Drinking a glass of fizz while we’re opening presents in our PJs, then having a late lunch.

Favourite Christmas book?

I know it’s old fashioned but I love ‘The Box of Delights’ by John Masefield. It’s about a boy travelling home on the train for Christmas who is given an ancient box of strange powers to look after by an old Punch and Judy man.

If we’re talking about contemporary novels, I’ve loved all the Christmas books by Trisha Ashley.

Favourite Christmassy book cover?

‘Pookie Believes in Santa Clause’ by Ivy Wallace. It’s a children’s book about a little white rabbit with wings who lives in Bluebell Wood. The whole book is beautifully illustrated and captures the magic of Christmas perfectly. I used to read it to my son who is now seventeen and I certainly won’t be giving it away!

Book sat at the top of your Christmas in July wishlist?

I really want to read ‘Elizabeth is Missing’ by Emma Healey. It’s had such good reviews and sounds intriguing.

When did you find out Santa wasn’t real?

I think I was about nine years old when I realised that things didn’t quite add up. I didn’t want to upset my parents so I kept up the pretence for another year or so.

How would you spend your ideal Christmas?

If I could transport my family, including our cat and dog, I would love to spend Christmas somewhere snowy in a cosy log cabin on the edge of a wood. There would be badgers and deer wandering past the window as we tucked into a perfect Christmas dinner that somebody else had cooked!



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