We’ve gone all Christmassy this week over on my ‘Meet the Characters’ blog. Talented romance and short story writer, Karen Clarke is interviewing her character, Tilly, from her new novel, The Christmas Café at Seashell Cove.
Interior designer Tilly Campbell loves being carefree and single. But her latest job is redecorating the local café for a Christmas party, and when her friends confess their plans for the big night – including a proposal, a declaration of love and a pregnancy announcement – Tilly starts to wonder if she might be missing out…
Transforming the café into a winter wonderland is more of a challenge than she thought, so when she bumps into gorgeous newcomer Seth, Tilly welcomes the distraction. Seth is a single father, struggling to settle his son Jack into their new cottage, and Tilly is determined to help them make their house into a home in time for Christmas.
But with the café still in chaos just days before the party it looks like it’s going to be a Christmas to remember for all the wrong reasons… With friends old and new relying on her, can Tilly save the Christmas party?
And could she finally find love waiting for her under the mistletoe?
What readers are saying about The Christmas Café at Seashell Cove:
‘The absolute perfect read… Would definitely recommend this one without a shadow of a doubt! Fantastic!!’ Stardust Book Reviews, 5 stars
‘I absolutely adore this… The perfect Christmassy story… Absolutely perfect!’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars
‘A heart-warming, hilarious read about friendship, family and the meaning of Christmas… Get swept away as I did with this book.’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars
‘Is that big enough for you?’
‘I’ve had bigger.’ The woman’s mouth curled down in disappointment. ‘Especially from that young guy who used to work here.’
‘How much bigger?’
‘He knew I liked a generous portion.’
I hovered the knife over a quarter of the chocolate cake. ‘Is that big enough for you?’
The customer considered it through spiky eyelashes, as if its dimensions were as crucial to her life as breathing. ‘I suppose that’ll do,’ she conceded.
I brought the knife down and began sawing, but instead of producing a neat wedge, the cake collapsed in on itself, buttercream oozing out of the middle and white chocolate shards shooting off the top.
‘You’ve got it upside down,’ the customer pointed out, her voice dripping sarcasm.
‘I’m not very good with knives.’ I flashed the blue plaster around my thumb, where blood had started to seep through. ‘You should see me with a spoon though!’
She gave me a revolted look – either squeamish, or hangry. Probably the latter. Being hungry was the only thing that made me snappish.
‘Let me try again.’ I passed the back of my hand across my lightly perspiring brow, then turned the knife over and swiped the blade through the cake, but it didn’t resemble so much a slice as a heap of crumbs and frosting. I tried to stuff the buttercream back inside, and pressed some shards of chocolate into the frosting.
‘You’re not expecting me to eat that?’ The woman’s eyes almost vanished under the force of her frown. ‘I’ve been looking forward to my Monday morning cake all weekend.’
‘It still tastes delicious.’ I pushed my finger through a drift of squished-out buttercream then licked it off. ‘It’s yummy!’
‘Tilly, what the bleedin’ ’ell are you doin’?’ Gwen, the café manager, shot over and tackled the knife off me before lobbing it at the sink – probably breaking one of the health and safety rules she’d drummed into me earlier. ‘Ain’t you got other work you should be gettin’ on wiv?’
She waggled her head meaningfully in the direction of the café’s new extension, which I’d been overseeing for the past couple of months and was in charge of styling. Unfortunately, there’d been a leak from a burst pipe, which meant the floor had to dry out completely before the new floorboards could be laid and the rest of the work completed – which was proving stressful with only a week until Christmas Eve, when the café was hosting a party.
It sounds a fantastic read, doesn’t it. If you want to find out whethere Tilly succeeds or not, you can buy the book here:
Book buying links:
Now let’s find out a bit about Tilly
Name: Tilly Campbell
Location: Seashell Cove
Lovely to meet you, Tilly. Let’s dive straight in (pun intended!)
You were a promising swimmer as a child – how come you didn’t take it to championship level?
I’m not a competitive person – too laid-back. I prefer swimming for pleasure. After what happened this year though, I’m going to be giving lessons at the local pool, because it’s important that all children learn to swim.
How do you feel when people accuse you of not having a ‘proper’ job?
I used to feel guilty and try to defend myself, but the truth is, I’m not motivated by money and am happiest dabbling in interior design, and leading coastal walks in the summer around the area where I live. I earn enough to live on and I’m happy with that.
Before your sister Bridget returned home with her daughter, you’d had no experience with young children, yet seem to be a natural. Why do you think that is?
They’re so curious, and easily enchanted by simple things when they’re young and that really appeals to me – maybe they bring out my inner child!
Do you think bonding with your niece helped you grow closer to your sister?
Not at first, as she didn’t want me near her. Plus, I was in Canada when Romy was born, so hadn’t had much do with her for the first year, but living together, under one roof, our parents away on a cruise, Bridget and I ended up…let’s say, airing our differences.
Were you attracted to Seth when you first met?
Who wouldn’t be? Have you seen him, he’s gorgeous!
When you moved back from Canada you reconnected with old school friends, Cassie and Meg. How important is it to you, to maintain those friendships?
Vital! We had a saying back then, sisters before misters, but went our separate ways for twelve years. It wasn’t until we met up again that I realised how much I’d missed them, and that connection we’d had. I know now we’ll be friends for life.
Tell me about Rufus
Let’s just say, I’d never been in love when we met so I had no idea whether or not what I was feeling was normal. I had instincts, but maybe didn’t listen to them when I should have.
Do you want children of your own, one day?
If it happens, it happens, but there’s no rush. I’m the happiest I’ve ever been at the moment!
Thanks for talking to us, Tilly.
Karen is the author of the popular BEACHSIDE and SEASHELL COVE series of romantic comedies, published by Bookouture, and has just signed a new contract to write a series set in the south of France.
When she’s not working on her novels, Karen writes short stories for women’s magazines and has had over three hundred published globally. She lives in Buckinghamshire with her husband and three grown-up children, and when she’s not writing loves reading, walking, baking and eating cake.
Author contact links
Thanks for dropping by to tell us about Tilly and your new book, Karen. Wishing you lots of sales.
When Saffy’s sister called to say she was stuck abroad with no hope of getting home to run her usual ‘singles Christmas lunch’, Saffy knew she would have to abandon her plans for wild festive parties in the city and head down to remote Cornwall to save the day. But family parties are so not her thing and both her sister Hannah and sexy single dad Logan seems certain she’ll never manage. Can she prove them wrong? Now on pre-order from Amazon and other retailers.