Monday, 20 July 2015

Festive Q&As with Ann Troup, Jenny Marston and Lynsey James!






Ann lives in Devon in a small house just a pebble’s throw from the beach. She shares her home with her husband and a small white dog, both occasionally allow her to be inattentive to them so that she can write. Her many skills include an unparalleled ability to consume coffee and the gift of being able to kill houseplants by merely admiring them. In addition to that she is a great proponent of the Miss Havisham method of housekeeping, which includes regarding cobwebs and dust as nature’s ornaments. Her debut novel The Lost Child was published by Carina UK on 19/5/2015.

https://anntroup.wordpress.com
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What sits on top of your Christmas tree?


I have a Gisella Graham Santa that replaced the loo roll and glitter angel that my kids made when she finally disintegrated. She’d done well and lasted over 20 years but finally fell apart a few years ago. May she rest in pieces.

Favourite Christmas song?


In Dulce Jubilo by Mike Oldfield, always gets me in the mood. Everyone knows it’s Christmas in my house when I start playing it repeatedly. They know I’ve hit the port and lost the plot when I also start dancing!

Favourite Christmas movie?


It’s a Wonderful Life – I have watched that pretty much every year since I was an egg. Love it :)

Favourite festive foodie treat?


I haven’t got much of a sweet tooth, but do like turkey – I have perfected a way of cooking it so that it isn’t dry, and will happily live on left overs for days. I’m seriously tempted to write a left over turkey cook book, but will probably sound like Bubba from Forrest Gump when he talks about shrimp – broiled turkey, dried turkey, turkey gumbo…

The best part of Christmas is…


Now that my kids are grown up and the presents aren’t such a big deal I would say Christmas lunch when we all sit down together and enjoy the meal. I spend two days in the kitchen preparing it and go all out to make a feast.

The worst part of Christmas is…


Finding pine needles, tinsel and bits of wrapping paper weeks later when you think you got it all. Christmas likes to linger in our house, mostly in places I didn’t know I had.

Your best, and worst, Christmas present?


The best and most used has been a digital radio that my husband bought me years ago. He always buys me lovely presents, but that has been by far the most useful. My worst was a tube of nappy rash cream that my stepson bought – he saw the word moisturising and thought it was face cream! Not quite sure what he was trying to say there…but as he was only a teenager at the time I let him off.

When do you do your Christmas shopping?


I’m always stupidly organised and usually have all mine done by the middle of December. I’m not one to buy things and put them away, and always try and buy something personal that the recipient will like. You’ll know I’m flummoxed if you get a bubble bath and body wash gift set!

Any Christmas Day traditions?


We always do ghost stories on Christmas Eve, so not on the day itself. I read aloud everyone’s favourites by candlelight. This has to be accompanied by copious amounts of hot chocolate and goodies to ward off the chills. I usually write a new story every year to keep it fresh and up the spook factor.

Favourite Christmas book?


A Christmas Carol by Dickens. We like to be spooked in our house! Another tradition is to either watch the film, read the book or find a stage version of this each year.

Favourite Christmassy book cover?


Ooooh, I have no idea! But I do love the Christmas books that publishers used to produce in the golden age of illustration, I collect those books and they are very atmospheric and Christmassy.

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


Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman – but it’s my birthday in July too so I’m hoping some kind soul will buy it for me.

When did you find out Santa wasn’t real? Or is he real?


On the same day that my big sister took against me and also told me that I was adopted and that the gypsies had left me on the door step. Being me I thought this notion was quite cool and was quite happy to be descended from gypsies and not blood related to my sister (at the time), so she told me Santa wasn’t real to add insult to injury. I was actually quite chuffed to find out that it was in fact my dad delivering the prezzies. The thought of a strange, red clad bloke breaking into my bedroom in the dead of night had always bothered me somewhat.

How would you spend your ideal Christmas?


Just the way I always do, cooking up a storm and surrounded by as many people as we can fit in. Bliss :)









What sits on top of your Christmas tree?


We've had this really tatty angel that sat on top of the tree for as long as I can remember. It was awful! It's wings were falling off and it's halo was wonky but we put it up every year until we realised it was probably time for a change haha. I think after that we bought a gold star to go on the top. Our Christmas tree now is a small, fibre-optic one which takes up a lot less space and a lot less time to put up and I'm not sure if anything can actually fit on the top now without sending the whole tree over.

Favourite Christmas song?


None of them. I'm sorry, my Scrooge-ness is coming out now but seriously I hate Christmas songs.

Favourite Christmas movie?


I LOVE Four Christmases with Reese Witherspoon and Vince Vaughn. I just think that film is so so funny. I also love Muppets Christmas Carol because who doesn't love the Muppets Christmas Carol.

Favourite festive foodie treat?


Pigs in blankets! I wish I could eat them all year round. Well, I guess I could, but then they wouldn't taste as nice as they do at Christmas.

The best part of Christmas is…


Giving other people presents. I much prefer buying for others and seeing others open their gifts from me, especially if I've gone to a lot of trouble to make something or buy the perfect present because I just love seeing the looks on their faces.

The worst part of Christmas is…


The songs...

Your best, and worst, Christmas present?


I've honestly never had a present THAT bad and equally never had a present which was so unbelievably out of this world amazing. My presents usually consist of things I actually want and/or need.

When do you do your Christmas shopping?


Hmm, usually over a month beforehand so I don't have to worry about it!

Any Christmas Day traditions?


When I was younger, my nan and granddad would come round. My dad would take my granddad out for a drink and me, my mum and nan would stay home. Then we'd all eat dinner when they got back. That was always nice. Since my nan died, my granddad still comes to ours for a while on Christmas day.

Favourite Christmas book?


I read With Love at Christmas by Carole Matthews and thought that was fantastic :)

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


There's SO MANY books I want! Sticking with the Carole Matthews theme, The Cake Shop in the Garden is one on the top of my list.


When did you find out Santa wasn’t real? Or is he real?


Well, I tell you what, when I was younger, and lived in my old house, I remember looking out the window of the front door on Christmas Eve and I swear I saw a cloud shaped exactly like a sleigh.

How would you spend your ideal Christmas?


Disneyland. I went to Disneyland for New Years in 2009/2010 and it was just so incredible. I'd love to stay there all the way through the Christmas period.









Lynsey James was born in Fife in 1991 and has been telling people how to spell her name ever since. She's an incurable bookworm who loves nothing more than getting lost in a good story with memorable characters. She started writing when she was really young and credits her lovely Grandad- and possibly a bump on the head from a Mr Frosty machine- with her love of telling stories. She used to write her own episodes of Friends and act them out in front of her family (in fact she's sure she put Ross and Rachel together first!) 


A careers adviser at school once told Lynsey writing wasn’t a “good option” and for a few years, she believed her. She tried a little bit of everything, including make-up artistry, teaching and doing admin for a chocolate fountain company. The free chocolate was brilliant. When Lynsey left my job a couple of years ago, she started writing full-time while she looked for another one. As soon as she started working on her story, Lynsey fell in love and decided to finally pursue her dream. She haven’t looked back since. 

When Lynsey's not writing, eating cake or drinking tea, she's daydreaming about the day Dylan O’Brien FINALLY realises they're meant to be together. It’ll happen one day… 




What sits on top of your Christmas tree?


Our tree is pretty big, so we can’t fit anything on top unfortunately. We did have an angel called Fiona though.

Favourite Christmas song?


Has to be All I want for Christmas is You by Mariah Carey!

Favourite Christmas movie?


I love the classics like White Christmas and It’s a Wonderful Life, but I also love Muppets Christmas Carol and Nativity. I know all of the words to all of the songs and sing them loudly (and badly!) every year.

Favourite festive foodie treat?


The Christmas dinner. We have steak pie instead of turkey and it’s my favourite dinner ever. I’d have it more than once a year if I could.

The best part of Christmas is…


Seeing everyone open their presents. I get overexcited when I know they’re going to open a really good one.

The worst part of Christmas is…


The last minute rush to find a present for that one person who’s hard to buy for. For me, that’s definitely my dad!

Your best, and worst, Christmas present?


Ooh that’s tricky! I usually end up loving the little things that my mum only gets as stocking fillers. One year, it was a box set of a show called Jam and Jerusalem, about a Ladies Guild in Devon. I loved it even more than the iPhone that was my big present! Worst one has to be a box of really horrid biscuits I got from a guy I was seeing at the time. Yuck!

When do you do your Christmas shopping?


I say every year I’m going to start in October and be really methodical about things, but every year without fail I start in early December and end up having a last minute flap at the end. This year will be different though. Maybe…

Any Christmas Day traditions?


My mum always gets us up really early, despite the fact I’m 24 and my brother’s almost 20! Then we go downstairs, open our presents then go down to my gran’s. At night, we watch all the Christmas specials then round off the day with the Muppets Christmas Carol.

Favourite Christmas book?


A couple of years ago, I got this beautiful hardback of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol and Other Stories. I love the stories inside it and it’s very Christmassy!

Favourite Christmassy book cover?


I love the cover for Secret Santa by Scarlett Bailey. The red and white together is beautiful!

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


Mistletoe Mansion by Samantha Tonge; I’ve had my eye on it for ages and I think I’m going to use Christmas in July as an excuse to treat myself…

When did you find out Santa wasn’t real? Or is he real?


What? You mean he isn’t…? Nope, I’m not having it; Santa is definitely real ;-)

How would you spend your ideal Christmas?


I’d have all my family and friends together for a massive party with loads of food and presents. And maybe a cheeky kiss under the mistletoe with someone special…

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