Q:What do you call Kris Kringle when he goes on his wife’s health insurance?
A: A dependent Claus.
Ok, I admit that wasn’t funny. But hopefully it put you in the spirit to read this penultimate holiday author interview!
(Be sure to read all the way to the bottom for our holiday giveaway!!)
Name and LWP affiliation: Sue Featherstone (author)
Your blog (url): bookloversbooklist.com
Where do you live? I live in Wakefield, just a stone’s throw from Yorkshire Sculpture Park, the UK’s leading outdoor art gallery, and the award-winning Hepworth Gallery, which together with their sister galleries – Leeds Art Gallery and the Henry Moore Institute, both in Leeds – constitute the Yorkshire Sculpture Triangle.
The Hepworth, which has been described as the museum everyone would want on their doorstep, is artistically inspiring but I prefer YSP.
Set in 500 acres of parkland, just a mile-and-a-bit up the road from me, it’s home to one of the largest outdoor collections of Henry Moore bronzes.
Frankly, some of them are a bit weird – but, unlike other outdoor art galleries, the park hosts a changing programme of exhibitions so there’s always something new to see. And, come spring, nothing beats a stroll through the beautiful bluebell woods.
What are your chances of having snow on Christmas Day? Hopefully, slim to non-existent: other parts of the UK (Scotland, for instance) often get snow in December but, thankfully, it’s fairly rare in my part of Yorkshire. I understand the bookies have offered odds of 4/5 on a white Christmas but it’s not a bet I’m prepared to risk.
Do you have any favorite holiday traditions? Santa always used to leave a little note for my daughters thanking them for his mince pie and sherry. It was years before they recognised my handwriting…
Egg nog: Yes or No? Hmmm…egg nog is not very big in the UK although we do have an Irish cream liquer which is similar but not as virulently yellow. And tastes better too. It can be drunk neat at room temperature or some people like to add it to their coffee. I prefer it in a long tumbler, chilled with a couple of ice cubes. Oooh, I think I wouldn’t mind a glass right now.
Are you an artistic gift wrapper or a basic “paper & tape” warrior? Definitely a warrior rather than an artist. Prettily wrapped gifts are a joy to behold but, honestly, I just can’t be bothered. Life is too short to stuff a mushroom and it’s also too short to fiddle around with Christmas bows and ribbons.
Do you have any special holiday memories that include books? Are there any specific titles you remember? Books are a very personal thing and, I think, a difficult gift to get right. One woman’s good read is someone else’s charity shop donation. Take Great Expectations by Charles Dickens, for instance, which I was given as a child. Please, take it: I still think it’s a huge shame Magwitch didn’t bop Pip on the head and spare us all the agony of his interminable wittering.
What is your earliest book-related memory? Well, my earliest memories of reading are at the breakfast table: corn, sugar, salt, niacin, riboflavin, thiamine…the contents of a packet of Corn Flakes. Otherwise I loved almost anything by Enid Blyton – wouldn’t you have liked to be a pupil at Malory Towers too? I also enjoyed Noel Streatfeild (Ballet Shoes, The Painted Garden), Jane Shaw (the Susan books) and Elinor Brent Dyer (the Chalet School series). As I got older I started to read some of the books on my dad’s bookshelves – Erle Stanley Gardner (Perry Mason), Agatha Christie (Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple) and Nevil Shute (The Chequer Board and A Town like Alice). My first Christie read was Sad Cypress, which I still regard as one of her best murder mysteries.
Do you write/work during the holidays? Yes – if the writing itch needs scratching, I scratch.
Can you share what you’re working on now? I was lucky enough to sell my first short story to People’s Friend, a UK fiction magazine, a few weeks ago. It will be published in their Christmas special – in 2018. I can’t wait.
The fiction editor was very encouraging and I’m hoping to write, and sell, more stories this year. I’ve got a couple of ideas bubbling away right now.
And Susan and I are in the early stages of drafting the final instalment of our Friends trilogy. We’ve also started a murder mystery but I’m not completely happy with the way it’s going and a re-think is needed. (Must make sure I mention this to Susan before she reads it here!)
What are your goals for 2018? Professionally, I want to get the Friends trilogy wrapped up and then to knock the murder mystery into shape. I like the characters we’ve created – they have a lot of potential for development but I’m not sure we’re making the best use of them. So, there’s food for thought there. I also want to work on my short story writing and I’d like to do a bit of freelance journalism too. Personally, apart from planning a trip to Australia to visit my youngest daughter, a couple of camping holidays in France and a spa trip with my eldest daughter I’m open to suggestions. Any ideas?
Links to all the Lakewater Press participating blogs: