Today I am delighted to welcome Louise Marley to the blog for the first time!
A Perfect Christmas?
Huge thanks to Heidi for allowing me to take over her blog to talk about my latest book, You Make It Feel Like Christmas.
One of the themes running through my story is a question: What makes the perfect Christmas? The family in my story have their own (conflicting!) ideas about that, leading to no end of problems—including filming a reality show in a semi-ruined castle. Not quite what they had in mind!
I wanted to write a Christmas romantic-comedy because I’ve always loved everything about Christmas. Like my heroine, Beth, my decorations go up on the 1st of December and I can’t wait to start playing Christmas music. I love reading Christmas-themed books too, but then I read those all year round!
For a perfectly organised Christmas, lists are vital. I have a present list, a card list, a shopping list—I even have a cooking-Christmas-dinner countdown list to ensure everything goes into the oven at the right time. Despite my best efforts, I’ve also learnt that you can’t plan for everything.
Shall I let you into a secret? One of our best Christmases started out as an utter disaster.
In my part of Wales it snows every winter. Usually only a light sprinkling—enough to look pretty and maybe scrape together a very small snowman—but one December morning the sky turned black and big fluffy snowflakes began tumbling out of the sky—and didn’t stop!
We thought it was great! The kids had a snow day, we built a snowman, we went sledging and we went to bed tired but happy. The next morning the snow was not only still there but there was a lot more of it! Our poor snowman was a small bump in a vast expanse of glittery whiteness. Like the plot from one of those Christmas romcoms I love to read, we were actually snowed in!
And it stayed that way for a week!
This wouldn’t have been a problem except I’d ordered most of the Christmas presents online. A week before Christmas and they still hadn’t arrived. The supermarket I’d ordered our groceries from couldn’t get through and had to phone to rebook—for two days after Christmas. So there we were, less than a week before Christmas with no festive food and no presents!
It was Christmas Eve before the roads were clear enough for us to inch our way to the nearest supermarket, fill a trolley, and slip and slide our way home. The presents didn’t turn up until after the New Year but, strangely enough, that Christmas turned out to be our best one ever. Instead of a ‘traditional’ Christmas dinner with all the trimmings, we stuck a joint of lamb in the oven and went sledging. In the afternoon we built another snowman, watched the Christmas movie and played board games.
The moral of this story? If something can go wrong it will! Sometimes all you can do is go with the flow and remember that Christmas is just one day out of 365, and an ‘imperfect’ Christmas can end up being more fun that a perfect one.
And if it isn’t? Well, there’s always Boxing Day!
Louise Marley writes murder mysteries and romantic comedies. She is lucky enough to live in a village where there is a famous library and two ruined castles. (Her husband still thinks they moved there by accident.)
Her first published novel was Smoke Gets in Your Eyes, which was a finalist in Poolbeg's ‘Write a Bestseller’ competition. She has also written articles for the Irish press and short stories for women's magazines such as Take a Break and My Weekly. Previously, Louise worked as a civilian administrative officer for the police.
Her latest novel is You Make It Feel Like Christmas.
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Twitter: https://twitter.com/LouiseMarley @LouiseMarley