Meet Michelle Vernal, today’s #AuthorInTheFestiveSpotlight | Christmas in the Little Irish Village | @bookouture @MichelleVernal

Today an author from New Zealand takes us to celebrate Christmas in Ireland! You’ll find out why below. Welcome Michelle. First of all, would you tell my blog readers a little about yourself? 

I live in Christchurch, New Zealand, with my husband Paul, our two teenage sons and tabby cats, Humphrey (super shy) and Savannah (a diva). I have written twenty-five books and have to pinch myself when I write that number! My stories have a serious underlying theme, but they’re written with warmth and humour. 

I was born in England, and my parents were from Liverpool. We emigrated to New Zealand when I was three. So I grew up listening to stories and picking up the Liverpool lingo. New Zealand is home, but the United Kingdom is a part of me. This is why most of my books are set in the Northern Hemisphere. As for Ireland, it’s a place dear to my heart as I turned twenty-one there on my first visit. I returned seven years later and got engaged to my now husband, Paul. My wedding dress was bought second-hand from a colleague and friend in my Dublin legal secretary days. I brought it home to New Zealand with me. 

In a nutshell, what is your Christmas book about?

Family, friendships, community and how love can find you when you least expect it.

How did you come up with the title for your book?

My fabulous Bookouture editor Natasha Lester takes credit for that.

How do you plan to celebrate Christmas this year?

Well, this Christmas will be very different for us. We are flying to the UK with our boys to spend Christmas with my birth family in Southampton. I was adopted when I was about 8 weeks old and met my birth mum Julie in later years on holiday to Crete and a few years later in Koh Samui, Thailand. I have a birth sister, brother-in-law, three nephews, cousins, aunts, and an uncle I have yet to meet. So it will be incredibly special to finally say hi and introduce my husband and our boys to them too. I’ll be singing Let it Snow as I would love a white Christmas.

You have £5 to buy a Secret Santa gift – what would you buy?

Well, that’s ten dollars here in NZ, so I guess it would be a big box of chocolates. Not that creative. All that energy has gone into writing my books, but most people love chocolate.

What’s your favourite Christmas song?

Easy, Band-Aid’s, Do They Know It’s Christmas. I’m a child of the eighties. I also don’t think Christmas would be Christmas without the Pogue’s and Kirsty MacColl’s, Fairytale of New York. If I’m allowed a third, I love John Lennon’s Happy X-mas (the war is over).

What’s your essential Christmas food or drink?

Ham on the bone with a dollop of cranberry jelly; for dessert, it has to be a good old Kiwi pavlova with lashings of fresh whipped cream and fresh berries. Yum. I love Lindor chocolates, a proper treat and New Zealand sauvignon blanc wine, but I’m not sure the sav counts as I love that all year round. Actually same goes for the chocolates!

What Christmas book are you looking forward to reading this year?

It’s not a Christmas book, but I’d love to get my hands on Lisa Jewell’s latest.

How can people follow you or connect with you on social media?

I am always on my Facebook page

And finally, what’s your favourite Christmas tree decoration?

I have three. A folk art wooden Santa decoration my clever Mum painted. A cut-out photograph of our oldest son he made when he was three at kindergarten. It’s glued to a red card and hung with a red ribbon on the tree. Thirdly is a handmade gingerbread man decoration, thanks to our younger son as a tot. All super precious.

Christmas in the Little Irish Village is published by Bookouture and available now.
You can order a copy here: Christmas in the Little Irish Village

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