Thursday 30 July 2015

Festive Q&A with Louise Beech!

Louise Beech has always been haunted by the sea, and regularly writes travel pieces for the Hull Daily Mail, where she was a columnist for ten years. Her short fiction has won the Glass Woman Prize, the Eric Hoffer Award for Prose, and the Aesthetica Creative Works competition, as well as shortlisting for the Bridport Prize twice and being published in a variety of UK magazines. Louise lives with her husband and children on the outskirts of Hull – the UK’s 2017 City of Culture – and loves her job as a Front of House Usher at Hull Truck Theatre, where her first play was performed in 2012. She is also part of the Mums’ Army on Lizzie and Carl’s BBC Radio Humberside Breakfast Show. How to be Brave, her debut book, is out on Kindle 30th July.

What sits on top of your Christmas tree?

A Gold Star.

Favourite Christmas song?

I kind of like the anti-Christmas songs, and by that I mean the sad ones, like A Fairytale of New York.

Favourite Christmas movie?

Elf. Will Ferrell is for life, not just for Christmas.

Favourite festive foodie treat?

I dislike a lot of so-called-Christmas-culinary-delights - mince pies, brandy sauce, turkey. Hand me the chocolates instead.

The best part of Christmas is…

The kids. That’s what it’s all about.

The worst part of Christmas is…

The insanity. The frenzied last minute shoppers. The greed.

Your best, and worst, Christmas present?

My best was definitely the first from my husband. Way back when we were dating, before mobile phones, he bought me a plug-in telephone for my bedroom so he could ring and talk to me as I fell asleep. I don’t have a worst. I love all gifts.

When do you do your Christmas shopping?


Any Christmas Day traditions?

We often do the ‘trick’ gift. By that I mean that one of us finds an empty box for something like an expensive laptop, fills it so it’s the right weight, and then wraps it. The person thinks he or she is getting something really good!

Favourite Christmas book?

Every book should be for Christmas! But again, I do like the sad ones, like the fairytale The Little Match Girl.

Favourite Christmassy book cover?

Anything with snow and lights and a half-naked Santa.

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

About two hundred of them…

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

He is real if you believe.

How would you spend your ideal Christmas?

In New York, with family.


All the stories died that morning … until we found the one we’d always known. 

When nine-year-old Rose is diagnosed with a life-threatening illness, Natalie must use her imagination to keep her daughter alive. They begin dreaming about and seeing a man in a brown suit who feels hauntingly familiar, a man who has something for them. Through the magic of storytelling, Natalie and Rose are transported to the Atlantic Ocean in 1943, to a lifeboat, where an ancestor survived for fifty days before being rescued. Poignant, beautifully written and tenderly told, How To Be Brave weaves together the contemporary story of a mother battling to save her child’s life with an extraordinary true account of bravery and a fight for survival in the Second World War. A simply unforgettable debut that celebrates the power of words, the redemptive energy of a mother’s love … and what it really means to be brave.


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