Christmas at Carrington's, which I'll be reviewing as part of next month's Christmas Reading Challenge... and I can tell you that I loved it just as much as I did Cupcakes at Carrington's earlier this year.
Did you always know you wanted to be a writer?
With hindsight, yes! But I had a lot of fun and heartache trying out other things first.
How long did it take you to get your first book published?
Six years - I started writing seriously in 2006 and got my first book deal with Harper in 2012.
Can you tell us a little bit about Christmas at Carrington’s?
Christmas at Carrington’s is ultimately a comedy, with lots of snarky one-liners and cringe-inducing moments, and covers some serious topics too. It’s set in the run up to Christmas and there’s a surprise in-store when retail guru, Kelly Cooper, arrives to film her hot new reality TV show. Georgie is shown in a far from flattering light and ends up becoming a very reluctant reality TV star, and then when Tom, her new flame disappears; Georgie fears this could be the worse Christmas ever…. It's a warm funny Christmassy read with plenty of sparkle and lots of heart.
If you were to work in one of the departments within Carrington’s, which would you choose and why?
Women’s Accessories for sure! Imagine being surrounded by all those lovely bags… that would be heavenly bliss for me.
Georgie works in the women’s accessory department, if you could buy any designer bag from her what would it be?
I have a confession – I’m a handbag addict and have accumulated a ridiculously large collection over the years! My favourite is a rose pink Anya Hindmarch top handle bag; it’s very special to me as my husband bought it to commemorate my first mother’s day after adopting our daughter.
What inspired you to base Carrington’s in a seaside resort as opposed to a town or city centre?
I grew up in Brighton and love being close to the seaside, so I guess this has something to do with it, plus Carrington’s is inspired by Hanningtons, a glorious traditional department store in Brighton. I have wonderful memories of visiting as a child – the gilt cage lift, the polite sales assistants with their receipt pads and the glorious smell of Revlon lipstick. Sadly, it’s since closed down…. But I hope to have captured a whiff of the memory in the Carrington’s series.
In Christmas at Carrington’s the store is featured in a reality TV show, if Carrington’s was to be filmed as a drama series who would you like to be cast in the roles of Georgie, Tom, Sam and Eddie?
Oooh, this is a tricky question as I’ve spent such a long time with these characters, I can now see them as real people in my head, but I do have a picture of Tom Ford above my desk as inspiration for Tom Carrington.
Are there plans for more books in this series?… Please say yes!
Yes, absolutely. The next one, Ice creams at Carrington’s will be out next summer – I’m writing it now, as fast as I can!
Do you have a set daily writing routine?
Yes, backside on chair or sofa by 10am, spend time on social media, stalk people on Google, read trashy online newspapers, waste time procrastinating some more and then at about 2pm a fear sets in and I write like a looper before having to stop to collect my daughter from nursery….
If you weren’t a writer, what career path would you have chosen to follow?
Well, I once told a careers adviser at school that I wanted to be a radio DJ, but she gave me a look, which kind of ruined it all.
If you could write another style of genre, what would it be and why?
A big filthy outrageous bonkbuster, I have one started that I write now and again for fun and escapism.
What’s the last book you’ve read that has made you cry?
In Christmas at Carrington’s, there’s a scene that’s very close to my heart and I ended up sobbing as I was reading through the proof copy. I cried while writing it too…
When you’ve finished writing a book, do you treat yourself to a reward?
Yes, I take one day off to either lounge around watching trashy TV – an entire series of Real Housewives for example, or I treat myself to a spa day.
Where would be your idyllic location for a writing retreat?
A Tuscan hillside beside an infinity pool with a gorgeous pool boy to bring me treats all day long.