For the second day of Christmas I’m featuring the heart-warming romance, One Christmas Star by Mandy Baggott. Doesn’t the cover look festively chic? Let’s find out a bit more about the book then Mandy is going to tell us why she chose London as the setting for the story.
One Christmas Star – it’s the most wonderful time in London
Emily Parker is set to have the worst Christmas ever! Her flatmate’s moved out, she’s closed her heart to love and she’s been put in charge of the school original Christmas show – with zero musical ability.
Disgraced superstar, Ray Stone is in desperate need of a quick PR turnaround. Waking up from a drunken stupor to a class of ten-year-olds snapping pics and Emily looking at him was not what he had in mind.
Ray needs Emily’s help to delete the photos, and she needs his with the show.
As they learn to work together they may just open their hearts to more than a second chance…
Now over to Mandy:
It’s December and I hope you are all in the festive spirit as the big countdown begins! Thank you so much to Karen King for having me over today. Now, I want to talk to you about the setting of my latest novel, One Christmas Star, which is… London.
From the moment I started this novel it was always going to take place in London, but the chosen location for much of the novel – around Islington – really came down to a visit to my publisher’s offices. Head of Zeus headquarters is in Islington and it was an area of London I wasn’t at all familiar with. However, spending a few hours overlooking a peaceful park, then wandering around the leafy streets filled with old buildings, cobbles underfoot, followed by drinking in a laid-back bar full of an eclectic mix of furnishings, I truly got a sense of what was here and how that would fit with my festive story. My heroine, Emily Parker is a teacher at a local primary school and I gave her an apartment in Crowland Terrace, Canonbury. It was fun looking at properties online and deciding which one suited her personality best.
As well as London as a location, it was important for me to include the city’s diversity in my novel. Emily works at a Church of England funded school and it’s going to be her job to stage-manage the Nativity this year. Except Emily’s class isn’t full of children from one faith. Reflecting today’s true society she has pupils from all faiths and backgrounds – Islam, Judaism, mixed-faith families, single parents, guardians, same sex parents etc. It’s Emily’s job to pull everyone together and make a show that is accepted by the Diocese holding the purse strings, as well as giving the children a chance to shine and show the audience a little about who they are, where they come from and what they stand for. There’s a theme of ‘be kind’ running through the whole of the book which is particularly important at this time of year.
Without giving too much away, I really needed a special London location for Emily and Ray’s first date. And completely by chance, having won a competition on Twitter, I found the very best place! Cheese at Leadenhall. In May this year I visited Cheese at Leadenhall for a tasting experience and I knew, as soon as I set foot into the beautiful, historic, Leadenhall Market, that I had found my date night setting. In a fabulous arcade, along the cobbles, underneath the arches harking back to times gone by, I was treated to mouthful after mouthful of sumptuous award-winning cheese. My character is a huge cheese fan and having Ray take her somewhere he knows she will love, amid a frosty and very Christmassy London, Cheese at Leadenhall was a Brie-illiant find! If you are in the area you definitely need to take time to visit.
I hope you’ve enjoyed my little insight into London at Christmas and some of the locations for One Christmas Star. The ebook is currently on offer at the bargain price of 99p! You can find it here!
Thanks so much, Mandy for telling us about your research. It sounds fascinating!
About Mandy Baggot
Mandy Baggot is an international bestselling and award-winning
romance writer represented by Tanera Simons of The Darley Anderson Literary, TV
and Film Agency.
The winner of the Innovation in Romantic Fiction award at the UK’s Festival of Romance, her romantic comedy novel, One Wish in Manhattan, was also shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists’ Association Romantic Comedy Novel of the Year award in 2016. Mandy’s books have so far been translated into German, Italian, Czech and Hungarian.
Mandy loves the Greek island of Corfu, white wine, country music and handbags. Also a singer, she has taken part in ITV1’s Who Dares Sings and The X-Factor.
Mandy is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and the Society of Authors and lives near Salisbury, Wiltshire, UK with her husband and two daughters.
Meet Mandy Baggot online
Meg loves Oliver but can she forgive him for deceiving her for years?
Sally loved Ted once, now they barely speak to each other. Can she bring the sparkle back to their marriage or is it over for good?
Single all the Way – not your usual Christmas read.
Available as an ebook or paperback. AMZ: https://geni.us/B07XDYL7GHCover