Cold Feet at Christmas tells the story of Leah Harvey, who finds her fiance in a compromising position with the bridesmaid just before her fairytale Christmas Eve wedding in a remote Scottish castle. Understandably annoyed, she flees the scene – and ends up stranded in a blizzard in the middle of nowhere. She manages to stagger to the nearest cottage, which is inhabited by a mysterious stranger so handsome she thinks she’s died of hypothermia and gone to heaven! Rob is a man with a painful past, hiding away from the world – a world that is turned upside down with the arrival of Leah. The story follows on from their initial meeting, and the way their lives become entwined almost against their will – sometimes for the good, sometimes not.
Please tell us about the character of Leah.
She’s fabulous. I have a huge girl-crush on her. She’s funny, unpredictable, and most of all incredibly positive – she’s in this awful situation, but she always tries to see the best in people and in circumstances, even when she’s in terrible pain. Definitely a glass half-full person. Lots of the reviews of the book have mentioned how much they loved her, which is a big win as far as I am concerned – we all love a brooding hero, but you really need a heroine you are rooting for as well.
You live with your family in Merseyside, so who do you juggle writing with your family life?
I probably do it very badly! As I write, I have all three kids off school with stinking colds, and have spent the morning administering medicine, stroking fevered brows, cleaning up sick, and giving hugs. In between that, I’m promoting two books, doing some freelance journalism and copy-writing, and trying to organise a Sainsbury’s home delivery as the cupboards are bare...needless to say, the dishes have NOT been done!
What are your favourite reads at Christmas?
I love Bridget Jones’s Diary,and the movie version. It perfectly captures that bittersweet tone that Christmas can have for a lot of people.
Can you tell us a little bit about your family Christmas?
The fun starts on Christmas Eve with a beautiful church service called Christingle, which involves candles poked into oranges (honest, it looks better than it sounds!) and children holding them aloft – lovely. Sadly both my parents passed on a few years ago, so now we go to my in-laws. My hubbie comes from a big Irish family – I call them the Crazy O’Malleys! – and his dad is a superb cook. So we’ll get up early – of course – and check what Santa has left under the tree, then when the excitement has died down and we’re realised we don’t have any of the batteries we need, we’ll walk the dog to get some fresh air. Then we’ll all head to the Crazy O’Malleys for a traditional turkey dinner, more pressies, lots of games, and possibly an alcoholic beverage or six!
Why does everyone need a good book at Christmastime?
I think we need a good book at any time of year, don’t you? But Christmas is especially hectic – it’s easy to get overly stressed, to lose sight of what matters. A good book is the ultimate escape, the very best way to tune out and chill out, to lose yourself in someone else’s drama for a while. I’d go nuts without a good book at my side!
What made you take the book from Scotland to Chicago?
In all honesty, I just wanted it to be extra glam and interesting – I love books that take me to places I’ve never been, as a reader. Plus it added even more tension to the story – Leah finds herself in a new country, starting a new life, but haunted by the past. My best friend lived in Chicago for several years so it was a logical choice for me.
What is next for you?
My supernatural crime thriller, Fear No Evil, is also out at the moment so I’m working on promoting that. I’m doing the edits on my second chick-lit for HarperImpulse, which will be out in April. And book 2 of my urban fantasy series – Dark Touch, the follow-up to Dark Vision – will also be out in Spring. Then there’s the ‘day’ job writing, plus, you know, all of those kids and dogs and dishes...it’s busy, but I love it!