I’m very pleased to welcome another Bookouture author to my Festive Spotlight today.
Donna Ashcroft’s festive novel is Snowflakes and Secrets in the Scottish Highlands
First of all, would you tell my blog readers a little about yourself?
Firstly, thank you so much Joanne for having me on your blog, I really appreciate it! I’m a full time author and work from my home in Hertfordshire. I live with my OH, two teenagers and two cats. Before becoming a full time writer, I did a variety of jobs alongside the writing, including being a copywriter, website manager and working in marketing. I’m a rubbish gardener but I really enjoy planting flowers in pots and seeing them bloom. I love reading, walking, Pilates and I started swimming regularly again this year when my brother challenged my sister and I do to a 1.4K open water swim which we all swam together. I don’t swim that far now, but I regularly visit my local pool and this summer I ventured to some open water swimming lakes too. I like trying new things and challenging myself because it keeps life (and hopefully me) more interesting.
In a nutshell, what is your Christmas book about?
It’s a Secret Santa story with a twist! My heroine Merry McKenzie travels to her aunt’s house in the Scottish Highlands to take care of all her pets while her aunt is away for Christmas. When Merry arrives she learns that her family have been responsible for providing Secret Santa gifts to the residents of Christmas Village for years – Merry is tasked with wrapping and labelling all of the gifts when they arrive. However, when the list of gifts and their recipients is destroyed, Merry, along with the hero (a local, very attractive vet), have to figure out exactly which gift belongs to whom!
How did you come up with the title for your book?
I don’t tend to come up with my book titles, this is done by my editor and the lovely team at Bookouture. As well as the content of the book, they look at what is working in the market and at what themes/subjects they can pick out of the book that will appeal to my readers. I love the title Snowflakes and Secrets in the Scottish Highlands because the story is filled with plenty of snow and secrets! It’s the first Christmas book I’ve ever had published without the word Christmas in the title.
How do you plan to celebrate Christmas this year?
We always spend Christmas day with family. If we wake up early enough my OH and I will go for a walk together before the kids get up (they are eighteen and twenty so that’s not as early as it once was). Then we start the day opening presents – my dad comes over and we unwrap everything together.
Then more family arrives (depending on who is in the country) and we play games, eat and play more games. Boxing Day we spend at a pantomime with family and friends.
You have £5 to buy a Secret Santa gift – what would you buy?
Oh, that is a tough but perfect question! First it would depend on who the present was for. If I knew, I’d tailor it to the person’s likes or dislikes, but if I didn’t, I’d probably get a chocolate bar and lottery tickets or a Scratch card. I love the idea that I might make one of my friends a millionaire and if they don’t win, they still get something sweet to enjoy.
What’s your favourite Christmas song?
I am a big fan of Frank Sinatra’s Christmas songs – I have an album which I play throughout December, I think my favourite is Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, it always makes me cry. I just listened to it again and I’ve got tears in my eyes!
What’s your essential Christmas food or drink?
I love a Snowball cocktail – advocaat, lemonade, ice and lime. I get a bottle at the beginning of December so I can drink them throughout the month. I never drink them otherwise, but to me a Snowball means Christmas is on the way.
What Christmas book are you looking forward to reading this year?
I’m good friends with Julie Caplin aka Jules Wake and her book The Christmas Castle in Scotland is coming out in October so I’ve already pre-ordered that. Jules and I always talk about the books we are writing so I’ve heard lots about this story and it sounds fabulous and very Christmassy.
How can people follow you or connect with you on social media?
I have a website: www.donna-writes.co.uk and readers can email me via the site
I’m also on:
facebook.com – DonnaAshcroftAuthor
twitter.com – Donnashc
instagram.com – donnaashcroftauthor
tiktok.com – @donnashc
And finally, what’s your favourite Christmas tree decoration?
I don’t have one particular one, but over the years we’ve collected a decoration from each of our holidays, I also still have all the ones the children made when they were little and there are some filled with pictures of the kids and their friends. Decorating the tree is special because it I feel like I’m revisiting memories.
Thanks so much for joining me today Donna. A happy coincidence that one of my questions is about secret santa gifts when that features in your book! Snowflakes and Secrets in the Scottish Highlands is available now from Bookouture. You can order a copy here.