Tonight it's the penultimate Fantasy Christmas Dinner Party and it's my absolute pleasure to hand the reins of the blog over to author Elisabeth Carpenter.
Thank you, Sharon, for having me on your blog.
I love the idea of a fantasy dinner party, but I’d not thought seriously about who I’d like to invite until now. Narrowing it down to authors made this a little easier, though with the choice of living or dead it took me longer than it should to decide!
My venue would be a large dining room with a high ceiling in a large country house complete with views of Lake Windermere. The table is decorated with flowers and candles. It’s Christmastime, so of course it would be snowing outside where tealights would be hung around the grounds.
Carson from Downton Abbey (he doesn’t count as a guest – he’s an extra for the evening) would greet everyone as they arrive.
Jane Eyre. I think she’d appreciate good timekeeping and hasn’t come from too far away being from Yorkshire. I’m so curious to know what she looked like as there are so few portraits of her because, apparently, she hated her appearance. What paintings and drawings there are of her are said to be flattering and don’t offer a true likeness. Displayed at the Bronte Parsonage Museum in Haworth is a dress she wore; she was so tiny! So, at least I wouldn’t be the shortest person in the room (not that it matters when sitting down).
Charlotte was successful in her lifetime, and I’d ask her what it was like to be famous back then. I think she enjoyed her status as a successful author. I would also ask her about happy times in her life – she’s portrayed as quite angst-ridden, but there’s a great sense of humour in her novels.
The rest of the guests would arrive at the same time because they’ve clubbed together to hire a car (or maybe helicopter if we’re pushing the boat out) from their meeting point in London.
A Christmas Carol – very apt for this time of year. I loved the sci-fi element the book has, with Scrooge seeing his Christmas future.
Next would be Judy Blume and I’d seat her next to me. Are You There God, It’s Me, Margaret? was one of my favourite books as a child. She wrote about things you couldn’t talk to your mum about – sometimes even your friends about. There is an honesty to her writing that I find such an inspiration.
I’d seat Stephen King next to Charles Dickens. King, I believe, is a voracious reader, so could charm Dickens by having read all his books. I’ve only read a few of Stephen King’s books, but I love his imagination and how twisted it is. This is contrasted by the subtlety and character portrayals in his short stories. He could entertain us when it neared midnight by telling a few horror stories.
The food would be a traditional Christmas dinner. I’m actually vegetarian, but as I’ve unearthed a couple of dead people for the evening, I reckon I could put meat on the menu guilt-free. There would be lots of wine and I’d love to see Carson (after sneaking a few snifters) dancing on the table – once he’d cleared the dishes, of course.
After dinner, and too much alcohol, I think we’d play Never Have I Ever. I think Charlotte Bronte will have done it all.
Elisabeth Carpenter lives in Preston with her family. She loves living in the north of England and sets most of her stories there – including the one she is writing at the moment. Her fourth novel, The Woman Downstairs, is out now.
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