Welcome, Aurelia, thank you so much for stopping by.
Hi Téa, thank you for having me. It’s certainly a lot warmer over here than back home.
Let's start by finding out a bit about your debut book Christmas is Cancelled.
Where did the inspiration for Christmas is Cancelled come from and why a Christmas story?
I have a confession… Christmas is Cancelled was completely off the cuff. I saw a submission call-out from a publisher for ‘holiday’ stories way back in June, opened up Scrivener and stared at the blank page for a while. And then the ideas started to flow. Unfortunately, I saw the call-out four days before jetting off on holiday, and the deadline was soon after my return so the laptop went on holiday too. It was quite surreal writing a winter story under the blazing Majorcan sun, but I guess that’s something you’ve got used to now, living in Aus?
Anyway, I digress. The more I thought about what would be one of the worst things that could happen at Christmas, the more the characters and the story evolved. Although Dean did surprise me when he told me why he hated Christmas so much.
How did you come up with your characters? Did you draw inspiration from a real people or are they totally fictitious, or a bit of both?
The characters are completely made up, with no reference to anything or anybody I know. They just take shape in my head and I also like to go hunting for images, so I have a picture of them in my mind as I write. I’ve been known to interview my characters too, separately and together, to help get to know them better. Only the location is real, albeit I use fictitious names for the smaller towns and landmarks near where I live.
And now a bit about you and your Christmas which hopefully won't be cancelled! What or who are you hoping to find in your Christmas stocking?
I don’t suppose I can say Zac Efron here, can I? No? Shucks. In that case, I don’t really know… Christmas is all about the kids these days, especially with their birthdays so soon after, so my husband and I don’t really bother with gifts anymore. Although a Kindle gift card would never be turned away – just think of the books! And maybe a blu-ray featuring Zac Efron.
How do you and your family spend Christmas?
The day generally starts FAR too early, when aforementioned kids discover the stockings at the foot of their beds. They then bring them through as I—bleary-eyed—try not to notice the hour and fumble for the switch to illuminate the room with lamp-light. Once all the little things are unwrapped, and the bed disappearing under an avalanche of wrapping paper, it’s off downstairs to discover what Father Christmas has left. Nothing beats the light and joy in your child’s face when they open their presents on Christmas morning, it’s truly magical. After that, it’s off to visit my husband’s family and do it all over again and enjoy a veritable feast of a Christmas dinner.
What’s happening after Christmas? Anything you would like to share?
I have too many projects and plans than I have time. For example, I have one story that keeps getting shoved aside by bolshy newcomers but I am keen to get it finished and submitted during the Spring. I also have the debut of my raunchier alter-ego, Allie A Burrow, to look forward to in March. And if all that wasn’t enough, I am also working on a series called Peer Pressure, and I’d like to have at least the first book published before the year is out.
And a few fun questions for you…
Favourite Christmas Menu?
I’ve been vegetarian for well over twenty years, which narrows down my options immensely, but thankfully, I love roast potatoes, vegetables and Yorkshire puddings, plus whatever veggie equivalent my wonderful mother-in-law unveils on the day. Throw in a soup and a nice pudding—but not Christmas pudding, bleurgh, maybe Yule log or a veggie mince pie—and I’m happy.
Favourite Christmas tradition?
Maintaining the belief that Father Christmas is real. I don’t know how many more years we’ll be able to get away with it, but I love it and will keep it going as long as possible.
If you could spend Christmas wherever you liked where would it be and why?
I’m actually a bit of a homebird, and love having my own things and knowing where everything is. For Christmas Day at least. But ideally, I’d have some magical way of getting around so I could see my sister and her family, and close friends as well, who all live a couple of hundred miles away.
Thank you for winging your way to Australia at such short notice, Aurelia , I hope Father Christmas brings you and your family everything you dream of - and that Christmas is Cancelled is a raging success! From the sound of that first review you've got a winner! I’m off to read it now.
Thank you Téa, and may I wish you and yours a very merry Christmas (or happy holidays, yuletide blessings, etc) too.
A tantalising treat for Christmas...
Tears welled in her eyes, clouding her vision. She turned and wandered blindly toward the exit as the first tear escaped, forging a track down her cheek for the rest to follow. Tilly took in a lungful of air and then another. Having made a spectacle of herself once already, she really didn't want to be the cause of yet another scene.
The crowds swarmed around her, with students and family members heading home for the holidays only adding to the usual rush-hour melee of commuters. They jostled past, threatening to swallow her whole, as they rushed en mass in the opposite direction, using their briefcases and suitcases as a battering ram.
It was suffocating. She had to get out of there. Breaking into a run, broken heel or not, she raced through the doors and out into the biting December chill. Her waterlogged eyes struggled to adjust to the dark, dreary sky after the bright station lights, but she didn't dare slow down, desperate to escape the throng of festivities and merriment.
Carol singers assembled outside burst into a jovial rendition of "We Wish You a Merry Christmas," full of joy and happiness. Didn't they know Christmas had just been cancelled?
"Ooof!" Tilly smacked her shin against the edge of a low bench, too dark to see as she tried to dodge the growing audience. She ended up sprawled across the bench, dropping the handle of her suitcase with a loud clatter.
At least the pain shooting down her leg gave her an excuse to be crying. Unfortunately, it meant she had to stop running too. Not good. Whenever things got too tough, too intimate, or too confrontational, you could rely on her to make a run for it. Running away was what she did best...
A tall figure loomed in the edge of her vision, something vaguely familiar about the man's loping gait. In an effort to see him more clearly, she wiped her eyes with the back of her hands, then cringed inwardly at the black streaks now etched all over them. Great. She could add impersonating a panda to her day from hell as well then.
The mascara stung her eyes, rendering her unable to focus properly. She blinked furiously as the man strode past her, talking into a mobile phone in a deep voice that resonated throughout her body and made the fine hairs on the back of her neck stand on end. A surge of adrenaline rushed to her legs, numbing the pain as her subconscious told her to run. Now!
The cloaked figure stopped mid-stride as if he'd heard her gasp. "Mike, I've gotta go," he barked into the phone, hanging up instantly. He backtracked until he was standing right in front of her, his tone changing from a growl to one of surprise. "Basmati?"
Great. She hadn't heard the nickname for years—nine years, four months and...sixteen days, to be exact—and even then, only one person had ever actually used it. She screwed her eyes tightly shut, shaking her head from side to side. No. No way. There was absolutely no way this could be happening to her. Not now. Not today of all days... Talk about kicking a girl when she was down.
Buy links - http://www.breathlesspress.com/index.php?main_page=product_free_shipping_info&products_id=407
Goodreads - http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16284007-christmas-is-cancelled
Release date: 21 December 2012
Publisher: Breathless Press
Heat level: 3
Word count: 40,000+
Aurelia B Rowl is a contemporary romance author but you can also find her masquerading as Allie A Burrow, her raunchier alter-ego.
She lives on the edge of the Peak District in the UK with her very understanding husband and their two fantastic children aged 5 and 3, along with their mad rescue mutt who doesn’t mind being used as a sounding post and source of inspiration. They are all used to her getting too caught up with her latest writing project... or five!... and she is guiltily counting down the months until she has both kids at school full-time.
To find out more about Aurelia, or to check out what projects she's working on right now, you can visit her website www.aureliabrowl.com
You can also find her hanging out on:
Blog – blogspot.aureliabrowl.com
Facebook – www.facebook.com/aurelia.b.rowl
Twitter – @AureliaBRowl
Google+ – +AureliaBRowl
Pinterest – www.pinterest.com/aureliabrowl
Goodreads – www.goodreads.com/aureliabrowl