It’s day five of my Twelve Books for Christmas blog and my guest today is Sunday Times bestselling author, Heidi Swain. Heidi’s latest Christmas release is a really Christmassy title, Sleigh Rides and Silver Bells at the Christmas Fair. Welcome, Heidi!
Hello Karen, thank you so much for inviting me to take part in your fabulous Christmas feature. I know you have already hosted some wonderful authors and have many more to come so I am in esteemed company!
When Anna takes on the role of companion to the owner of Wynthorpe Hall, on the outskirts of Wynbridge, she has no idea that her life is set to change beyond all recognition.
A confirmed ‘bah humbug’ when it comes to Christmas, Anna is amazed to find herself quickly immersed in the eccentric household, and when youngest son Jamie unexpectedly arrives home it soon becomes obvious that her personal feelings are going all out to compromise her professional persona.
Jamie, struggling to come to terms with life back in the Fens, makes a pact with Anna – she has to teach him to fall back in love with Wynthorpe Hall, while he helps her fall back in love with Christmas. But will it all prove too much for Anna, or can the family of Wynthorpe Hall warm her heart once and for all…?
Join Anna for a festive journey that is festooned with sleigh rides and silver bells and help her discover her happy ever after.
Want to read more? You can buy Sleigh Rides and Silver Bells here:
Praise for Mince Pies and Mistletoe at the Christmas Market:
‘This charming and delightful novel is a total gem’ Heat, 5 stars
‘Swain’s delicious story is a true festive treat… tasty food, a sprinkling of intrigue and a large helping of romance!’ Lancashire Evening Post
‘Sparkling and romantic’ My Weekly
Although passionate about writing from an early age, Heidi Swain gained a degree in Literature, flirted briefly with a newspaper career, married and had two children before she plucked up the courage to join a creative writing class and take her literary ambitions seriously.
A lover of Galaxy bars, vintage paraphernalia and the odd bottle of fizz, she now writes feel good fiction with heart for Simon and Schuster.
Her debut novel, The Cherry Tree Café was published in July 2015 (paperback June 2017) and Summer at Skylark Farm hit the shelves the following June. Mince Pies and Mistletoe at the Christmas Market was a hugely successful Christmas 2016 release and her fourth book, Coming Home to Cuckoo Cottage was published in July 2017. She is currently celebrating her October 2017 Christmas release, Sleigh Rides and Silver Bells at The Christmas Fair.
Heidi lives in Norfolk with her wonderful family and a mischievous cat called Storm.
You can find out more about Heidi here:
I asked Heidi to tell us how she celebrates Christmas:
Do you have any favourite family Christmas traditions? If so, what are they?
We have quite a few favourite family Christmas traditions in our house. I suspect there’s nothing really out of the ordinary, but they all help encapsulate the warm and cosy essence of Christmas for us.
My own personal favourite is settling down to listen to Carols from Kings. This is something I’ve only managed to achieve quite recently as before, when the brood were younger, there was far too much chaos and mayhem for civilised television watching so early in the evening.
Another favourite is snuggling down, after the mince pies, carrots and whisky have been arranged for Santa on Christmas Eve, to listen to either my husband or myself read The Night Before Christmas.
We also keep pride of place on top of the tree for the angels the kids made when they were first at school. My two are 22 and 17 now, so the pipe cleaners and doilies have taken a bit of a battering, but they’ll still be good for a few decades yet.
And of course, nothing beats standing outside gazing up at the stars and hoping to catch a glimpse of Santa’s sleigh as he sets off to spread Christmas cheer across the world.
The list is endless really, but these few are right at the top.
When do you open your Christmas presents?
We’ve always spread present opening throughout the day. Stockings are opened early on with us all together upstairs with a cup of tea. Next, the presents from us to the kids are opened while lunch is cooking and then, after everything is cleared away, we open the rest during the afternoon.
We deviated from this plan one year and it didn’t suit, so we went back to the original. I guess it’s another tradition which shapes the day for us.
If you could invite any author living or dead to share your Christmas lunch, who would it be?
This is such a tricky question, but as we’re talking about Christmas dinner I’d have to invite Mr Charles Dickens. Every year when the advent calendar comes out of its coveted spot in the airing cupboard, I take my copy of A Christmas Carol down from the bookcase and immerse myself in the story.
Christmas simply wouldn’t be Christmas without that particular tale sitting on the nightstand. What a joy it would be to have Mr Dickens himself sharing the turkey. Or should that be goose? Perhaps we could watch the much loved Muppet musical adaptation with him. I wonder what he would make of it.
He would certainly be a fascinating guest, Heidi.
What book would you like to find in your Christmas stocking?
Another tricky question. I don’t often have a stocking so the appearance of one would be a treat in itself! If I could pick any book it would have to be an early copy of A Christmas Carol. I spotted a 1915 edition online recently selling for £250 with Arthur Rackham illustrations. Well, a girl can dream, can’t she?
Merry Christmas everyone! I hope this festive season is happy, healthy and bright for you all.
Thanks for dropping by to tell us about your new book. Heidi. Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a happy, successful New Year!
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