How the Other Half Lives at Christmas is the third and final book in Sharon Booth’s series featuring the Fletcher and Kingston families. I have to confess that I haven’t read any of Sharon’s books yet so will have to remedy that! I’m pleased she has joined me today to take part in my Festive Spotlight. Let’s find out more about Sharon and her Christmas plans.
First of all, would you tell my blog readers a little about yourself?
Hi Joanne. Thanks so much for inviting me onto your blog.
I write contemporary romance and magical romantic comedies. My stories are set in pretty villages and quirky market towns, by the sea or in the countryside. They feature kind but flawed heroes and heroines, doing the best they can. Sometimes those heroes and heroines are witches or other magical beings, and they’re kind but flawed too!
I’m a member of the Society of Authors and the Romantic Novelists’ Association, and an Authorpreneur member of the Alliance of Independent Authors. I love Doctor Who, Cary Grant films, horses, hares, harbours, and old buildings. Take me to a castle, an abbey, or a stately home, and I’ll be happy for hours.
In a nutshell, what is your Christmas book about?
This year’s Christmas book is a little different, as it’s the final part of a three-book series. The previous books are called How the Other Half Lives at Home and How the Other Half Lives on Holiday. This one, naturally enough, is called How the Other Half Lives at Christmas. They’re three full-length novels but, unlike my other books, they don’t work as standalones, which is why I labelled them as Parts One, Two and Three.
There’s also a prequel which is available exclusively to my newsletter subscribers, but it’s not necessary to read that before starting the series. Basically, it’s about two very different families, the Fletchers and the Kingstons, whose lives are entwined when Billie Fletcher marries Arlo Kingston. The story reaches its conclusion at Christmas, when both families spend the festive season in a hunting lodge in the Highlands. Snowed in, tensions rise, and all the secrets they’ve been keeping from each other are finally brought into the open in a most dramatic fashion. It’s basically a family saga with lots of humour.
Do you still keep any Christmas traditions from your childhood?
Not so much these days, but when my children were little I definitely followed the pattern that my parents had set with me and my siblings. Now they’re all grown up and it’s just me and The Husband at home, it’s very different. Quieter for a start. We have five children so you can imagine how chaotic Christmas Day was!
How do you plan to celebrate Christmas this year?
The Husband will be working at various points over the Christmas period, and I’m still wary of large gatherings, so although we’ll see our family, visits will hopefully be scattered over several days.
I’ve created my own traditions: I always read A Christmas Carol every year or it doesn’t feel like Christmas, and I save It’s a Wonderful Life for Christmas Eve. I’m not sure if Doctor Who will be on during the big day itself, or if it’s going to be on New Year’s Day again this year, but either way I’ll be glued to that. And the Call the Midwife Christmas special is a must-see.
I’m not sure if we’ll have a traditional Christmas dinner or not this year, but there’ll certainly be chocolate. I don’t drink much alcohol and with good reason. Some years ago, a few too many festive Snowballs saw me standing on my mum’s kitchen table, belting out Abba songs to my poor, tortured family. Never again!
What’s your favourite Christmas film?
Without doubt, It’s a Wonderful Life, although some argue that’s not really a Christmas film at all. I’ll admit I’m a sucker for the classic films. I love Cary Grant’s The Bishop’s Wife, James Stewart in The Shop Around the Corner, Alistair Sim in Scrooge, and Maureen O’Hara in the 1947 version of Miracle on 34th Street. I also love Oliver! which always feels Christmassy to me, even though it’s not really. From the more contemporary offerings, I love The Holiday and Last Christmas, and I can’t resist The Muppet Christmas Carol. It’s a work of genius!
It’s a Wonderful Life is my favourite Christmas film too Sharon – my favourite film of all time actually!
And a favourite Christmas song?
Ooh, that’s tricky! There are so many, and you hear them repeatedly in the run up to Christmas – so much so that you end up getting a bit sick of them. For that reason, I think I’d choose two that you don’t hear so much: Jethro Tull’s Solstice Bells, and December will Be Magic Again by Kate Bush. But really, nothing says Christmas like a Christmas carol, and I love every one of those.
Do you have a favourite Christmas book?
Another tricky question! There are so many, aren’t there? I’ve already read a couple of Christmas books this year which absolutely blew me away with how emotional and powerful they were: Snowflakes Over the Starfish Café by Jessica Redland, and A Christmas Wish on a Carousel by Lottie Cardew. Fantastic books and highly recommended. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens is the ultimate Christmas book, and as I’ve already mentioned, I re-read it every single Christmas.
What Christmas book are you looking forward to reading this year?
I’ve got loads on my Kindle waiting to be read, including Jo Bartlett’s A Winter’s Wish for the Cornish Midwife. I’ve got two fabulous hardback books to read too: The Darkest Evening by Ann Cleeves (it’s a Vera Christmas novel) and Midnight in Everwood by M A Kuzniar, which is a magical re-telling of The Nutcracker. It’s not out yet, but I have it on pre-order.
How can people follow you or connect with you on social media?
To keep up to date with my latest news, they can sign up for my monthly newsletter, or check out my website. I’m on most of the main social media sites and have a readers’ group on Facebook, too. It’s not hard to find me! All my links are here: https://linktr.ee/sharonboothwriter
And finally, what’s the best Christmas present you ever received?
I’ve had some amazing Christmas presents over the years, and I don’t want to pick a favourite, so I’ll choose the earliest one I remember. My grandparents bought me a twin Silver Cross doll’s pram with two Tiny Tears dolls, dressed in red velvet dresses with white tights. That memory has stayed with me all these years. These days, I always tell my family they can’t go wrong if they buy me stationery or books!
You can find my book How the Other Half Lives at Christmas at https://getbook.at/toh3