My #AuthorInTheFestiveSpotlight today is crime writer Susi Holliday. Rather than a cosy Christmas romance, her novel The Deaths of December is about an advent calendar with a gruesome difference! I read this a few years back and when I wrote my review I said that I hope it would be the start of a series. Well, that’s what’s going to happen and so the book has been rebranded this year with a fabulous new cover. It will also include a sneak peek at the first chapter of the next in the series, due out in December 2023. You can read my review here – although the giveaway mentioned has obviously long since finished.
Welcome Susi. First of all, would you tell my blog readers a little about yourself?
Hello! I’m Susi Holliday and despite still having a day job as a pharmaceutical statistician, I’ve now written ten novels, a novella, and numerous short stories. I write under the names Susi and SJI Holliday, and my books are a bit of a mix – all very dark, but they range from Scottish-set detective mysteries to creepy psychological thrillers, with a bit of Black Mirror type Sci-Fi thrown in. I like to write fun, escapist stories about despicable people – and in real life I’m really nice – haha!
In a nutshell, what is your Christmas book about?
In The Deaths of December, a killer sends an advent calendar to a police station, and behind each door is a gruesome crime scene… but there are four empty doors, so Detectives Eddie Carmine and Becky Greene must race to find the killer before he strikes again. It’s basically the opposite of the cosy Christmas mystery, so if you prefer your festive reads a bit more bloody, you will like it!
It was first published in 2017 but is being re-branded for this Christmas as it’s now become the first in a series, with the next book to follow in late 2023 (and then late 2024!)
How did you come up with the title for your book?
It was a collaboration with the publisher – the first time that I have not come up with my own title, actually! They wanted something that best fit the story, and I think it works!
How do you plan to celebrate Christmas this year?
Hopefully in Spain with my other half, avoiding the traditional Christmas in favour of some winter sun!
You have £5 to buy a Secret Santa gift – what would you buy?
A Mr Men or Little Miss book with an appropriate title for the person it’s for – we actually did this one year when we had all the family at ours and used them as place settings. Caused a bit of a stir (in a fun way… I mean, nobody wants to admit to being Mr Grumpy or Little Miss Contrary, even if it’s true…)
What’s your favourite Christmas song?
It’s a draw between Last Christmas and Wombling Merry Christmas (I bet you can’t get that out of your head now!)
What’s your essential Christmas food or drink?
Cheese. All the cheese. There will be several cheese/meat/fruit boards over the festive period, wherever I am.
What Christmas book are you looking forward to reading this year?
Murder on The Christmas Express by Alexandra Benedict. This is her second one – she had The Christmas Murder Game out last Christmas – I really recommend it!
How can people follow you or connect with you on social media?
You’ll find me on twitter/facebook @SJIHolliday and on Instagram @susijholliday
And finally, what’s your favourite Christmas tree decoration?
Anything made of chocolate!
The Deaths of December is available from all good bookshops.
You can order a kindle copy here: The Deaths of December