On Thursday, 6th December I had the honour to spend two hours in the studio of Radio Tamworth 106.8fm alongside my friends, Kiren Parmar. In two hours we managed to chat about book reviews, cooking tips (not mine), annoying habits word of the week and even, murdering folk who plot spoil!
If you wish to listen 'on-demand' please visit RadioTamworth106.8fm or this link.
I have a new addition to my writing tools kit. She's as essential as my MacBook, post-it notes and imagination... a brand new teapot. But, she's no ordinary teapot selected from the beloved Price and Kensington range, oh no. This special delivery was crafted by HandDrawnWorld and I love it!
For further details: follow @HandDrawnWorld on Twitter or visit via this link
To celebrate the beauty of Christmas Trees everywhere, I will picture and post a new beauty each day...
Wow! My third book ‘The Magic of Christmas Tree Farm’ is about to be published by Aria and I can’t believe a year has passedsince my debut novel ‘A Christmas Wish’ was released in 2017.
The idea for ‘The Magic of Christmas Tree Farm’ stems from the knowledge that not everyone enjoys the festive season. For some families, there is sadness and grief, for other folk relationship issues and break-ups but for the lucky ones, it is the most wonderful time of the year!
I have friends who buy presents in June and others who shop on the weekend before Christmas amongst the bustle of crowds – everyone has such a different routine regards this particular holiday. Personally, I like my house decorated on the 1st December which signals the beginning of present buying. Part of me feels cheated if I can’t enjoy my festive decorations for a whole month given the time it takes to unpack the loft and perform the transformation of the lounge. Despite loving or loathing the festive season – we all know we can’t avoid the age-old traditions, the annual invites and the fond memories of years gone by.
I wanted to explore the differences encountered by three women: Nina, Angie and Holly. Nina wants to cancel Christmas as it signifies the anniversary of her father’s death. Angie is eager to make amends this Christmas due to the disastrous year she has endured. And young Holly, she’s hoping for the best Christmas ever as she’s dating the hottest male at school.
Add into the festive mix the much discussed and yearned for moment when your stomach flips. Hollywood, Disney and true romantics constantly refer to this special moment when we encounter true love – a moment which has forever fascinated me. Nina has never felt it, Angie has but lost it and Holly… well, she’s currently experiencing it every time her and Alfie meet up.
‘The Magic of Christmas Tree Farm’ weaves the three women’s stories into a garland of festive delight and romance as each discovers what Santa has in store for their Christmas treat – and, it isn’t necessarily what they’d planned, hoped or asked for.
The majority of the novel is set in a fictional Christmas Tree farm located in a local village near to my home called Baxterley, Warwickshire. I never think of Christmas Trees as a farm crop until December arrives and I watch the local news reporter deliver their annual piece to camera regards the planting, care and sales of spruce. It intrigues me to think that someone has to nurture these spruces and firs all year round so we can enjoy our festive tree for a few weeks. Having researched the topic thoroughly, I found that growing, purchasing and caring for a real Christmas Tree isn’t an easy task. My fictional farm sells four species: Blue spruce, Fraser fir, Nordman fir and a Norway spruce - each has very different characteristics and histories which customers favour or dislike. The size seems particularly important: a teeny-weeny tree, a modest spruce or a jolly green giant seems to be the three categories favoured by customers. So, there is more to spruce buying than meets the eye – especially if you are craving the perfect Christmas on which to pin your memories. Worse still, if you are hoping to cancel Christmas, recreate previous Christmases or hoping to experience the best Christmas ever – as my three characters are planning. And then, what happens if it goes wrong? All the planning, the ideas and festive cheers goes AWOL and it’s not in your control to save or fix?
For those that love a Christmas read, I have packed the novel full of festive cheer and tradition, for those who aren’t interested in the December holidays there is plenty of romance and humour to delight and entertain whilst snuggled beside a cosy fire.
My aim is that every reader can relate to one of the females, one of their festive situations and hopefully, receive their own happy-ever-after by the final page of the story.
If anyone is wondering, on 1st December I shall be purchasing a Blue spruce, approximately five foot tall, so a modest height, to be decorated with silver garlands, bows and glass baubles. And knowing what I’ve learnt from my research, I’ll be watering it twice a day, every day until the dustbin men come to collect in January.
Update: on 1st December 2018, I visited my local Christmas Tree Farm and came home with not one but two Christmas trees! I have a beautiful Fraser fir with its distinct spicy smell and a tiny Blue spruce. I was hoping to buy a larger Blue spruce but there is a shortage this year. Never mind, it meant I could be slightly greedy and justify having both!
P.S. whilst buying my trees we spotted a peacock decoration - I couldn't resist! (My readers know that in each of my books a peacock is mentioned).
When did you first realise you wanted to be a writer?
As a child, I was taken to my local library at Polesworth in Warwickshire on a weekly basis. I remember my three green cardboard ticket-holders – I was amazed by the number of books available to borrow for free. I think that day was my true beginnings as a writer. Another monumental moment was when I read ‘The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe’ and C.S. Lewis took my hand and led me through the back of the wardrobe towards Narnia. I’m not sure if I’ve ever returned home.
What did you do as a job before becoming a writer?
I’ve had many occupations: waitress, banking, retail industry, fitness industry and currently in education. I’ve always written alongside my other careers.
How do you carry out the research for your novels?
Research changes for each book depending upon the knowledge I currently hold on a subject or event. I tend to focus on research prior to the planning stage, a little more after the planning stage and return to researching specific details after draft one has been written. Prior to draft one, I don’t always know everything that needs to be researched so it can feel like an on-going process as the novel evolves. By nature, I’m a curious person so research and learning feeds my inquisitive side. I love discovering new and interesting topics in reference books, library achieves or interviews.
Which aspects of your writing do you find easiest and most difficult?
I adore the initial draft one writing – a blank page which is waiting for a story is my idea of heaven. Some writers hate this stage but my imagination thrives without boundaries so the words simply flow. My second favourite stage is day-dreaming. Creating new characters, their names and locations occurs as I move through my daily routines so, I tend to muse and make notes as ideas surface. My least favourite stage of writing is around draft three, when the story is captured and structured on paper but additional details are needed so it’s a case of rereading and adding, as necessary. I literally argue with myself regards over or under writing sections – quite often I add, then delete and re-amend the same detail to the point of frustration. I’m never a happy bunny until that stage is complete and I can start the first edit.
What are your writing routines and where do you do most of your writing?
The majority of my writing takes place in the tiny spare room claimed a few years ago as my writing room. It’s made a huge difference having a dedicated space for all my papers, work notes and diagrams. I can write anywhere, so regularly change venue to local libraries, coffee shops or even on trains, when necessary. I tend to write early in the morning or late at night during the week, with weekends providing longer writing sessions during the day.
When you're not writing, what do you like to read?
I read everyday, though my chosen genre changes depending upon the stage that my own writing is at. When planning or drafting I tend to drift towards reading crime or classics but once my planned story is drafted I move back towards contemporary fiction. I think it’s a working habit to ensure I don’t mix ideas or be influenced by the author I’m reading.
How important do you think social media is to authors in today's society?
Social media is vital for me to stay in touch with my readers, other authors and bloggers. It makes my day when I receive an unexpected compliment from a reader who has loved my book – I literally walk about with a huge smile on my face.
Afternoon folks... I had a special author jolly this morning on Radio Tamworth 106.8fm with an interview conducted by Kiren Parmar. As always, Kiren was a delight to chat with - I can't believe that two hours simply whizzed by.
If you were busy and missed it, below is a useful link... enjoy!
A live link to RadioTamworth interview - simply press
If you follow my blogs, you’ll know how excited I become as October draws to a close. It isn’t just the beautiful autumn colours and seasonal delight which I adore but with each passing hour National Novel Writing Month nears. For all that I love of October, and I do truly love October… I love November more!
November means the arrival of a manic month of writing in which I attempt to write 50,000 brand-new, sparkly words alongside millions of other fabulous authors around the globe. Every other month of the year, I sit alone in my writing room plugging at the keyboard and sipping hot tea. For November, I imagine all my friends, known and unknown, crammed into my tiny room, alongside me, jostling for desk space to write their daily fix of 1667 words. Seriously, it doesn’t matter what time of day I write in November, I know I have company.
My 7th year is no different - I have my routine. I will sit at my desk on Wednesday, 31st October waiting for midnight to arrive – I will hear my local church clock strike and watch SkyNews as confirmation that my metaphorical starter gun has sounded. This is the night writing which I love. The rest of the world sleeps while us writers dash forth capturing as many words as we can. I will write until the early hours ensuring I make my usual start.
My project this year is the final 50,000 words of draft 1 for a brand-new book (NBARC) which I must deliver to my publisher on 4th January 2019. My followers will know that my previous three published books have all started life as a NaNoWriMo project - another reason why I am geared up for this annual event. It has proven to be so productive and viable for me as a writer. My plan is to have three writing sessions per day: morning, noon and night aiming for 2000 words a day… which will give me a word safety net if the unexpected occurs (which it usually does!). My calendar already shows several events: a Birmingham Chapter meeting, a RNA Winter party in London plus my usual weekly activities which help to guarantee that I won't become a NaNoWriMo recluse!
I know many authors who dislike the annual event. I understand their complaints, their quips and their avoidance. But, for me it simply works – so, why would I not return year after year?
At this moment on 30th October, I have less than twenty hours remaining in which I can polish my post-it note plot points and get ready to make this my best NaNoWriMo… but, I won’t know until 30th November when I submit for an official word confirmation.
To follow my progress either revisit this website (see my progress graphs on the opening home page) or follow @ErinGreenAuthor via Twitter.
For further details visit: NationalNovelWritingMonth
P.S. for those that know I am a tea monster - I have stocked up on my favourite brand @TwiningsTeaUK
Ever wondered how an author fills their spare time away from their writing? I suspect answer is as varied as the genres we write but my ‘down time’ usually finds me lost in other creative pursuits. Recently, I rediscovered my love of drawing, something I haven’t done for over a decade. Who knows how or why I abandoned my sketch pad but I suspect it was lost along the busy path of life. Anyway, I ‘found’ my pencils packed away and unloved in a bottom drawer, alongside a brand-new sketch pad. My talents are mediocre but that’s irrelevant, it’s the act of creating an image that I’m loving. In the last three months, I have welcomed the simple thrill of graphite upon paper, observing and sketching whatever takes my fancy. I’ve spent time browsing art supplies and have gained the same comforting feeling that I do when I browse book stores – the excitement of exploring new territory and possibilities renews your energy.
Whilst publicising my books, many bloggers and readers ask about my interest in ringing church bells. Again, this activity supports my lifelong interest in history and music - as a child, I used to listen to the church bells ringing at Polesworth Abbey. Two years ago, I enquired about learning and discovered that St Martin’s Guild, Birmingham have a dedicated school for bell ringers. It looks very simple, but there is an art to handling the bell and the ‘methods’ rung certainly stimulate the ‘little grey matter’. I recognise that I am fairly insular and independent by nature so the enjoyment of ringing within a group offers a contrast to hours spent alone whilst writing. I’ve meet some incredibly interesting people through bell ringing, who also feed my creative energy.
If you follow my social media, you’ll know that my dog is never far away whilst I write. He has a tendency to sleep in the chair while I do all the work but he’s part of my creative flow. I’ve never had a dog before and so, long country walks have become a new-found enjoyment in the recent years. Many authors use walking as a means to stimulate ideas and rearrange plotlines prior to their desk work and it’s fair to say it works. I regularly leave the house with ideas swirling about my mind to return with a completed plotline ready to write.
Over the years, I’ve learnt that any activity that enables my mind to remain creatively fresh and alert is advantageous in supporting my work. And, long may that continue.
It was excitement all round this morning when I was invited onto Radio Tamworth 106.8FM to be interviewed by the fabulous Kiran Parmar, as part of her weekly book show.
The interview was conducted over two hours and we covered a vast array of subjects from wedding proposals, retro jewellery, Mad dog 20:20, tea making and a lot of chatter about my three books.
If you missed the live interview here is the opportunity for you to listen via the on-demand player - follow the link below , sit back and enjoy!
We will definitely be doing another interview as this morning was so much fun!
On-demand player link: select
11:48pm on Sunday, 20th May 2018, I finished the final edits for book 3 'The Magic of Christmas Tree Farm' and was able to press the 'send' button submitting it to my publisher. I have to be honest and say the bubble of excitement that filled my heart was truly amazing. I simply love the story. It is probably the most personal story I have written for many reasons.
Firstly, having published two previous book there were many beautiful people I wanted to thank for their dedication and 'general loveliness' in supporting me since March 2017. These beautiful people have gone out of their way everyday to ask me: how I am coping with juggling the day-job and the dream? How's the writing coming along? Even, are you getting enough rest? Seriously, I have such a wonderful network of folk around me making sure that 'this girl doesn't do too much'. I feel truly blessed, to have them look out for me. I certainly wouldn't have coped with the 'juggle' any other way. Especially given that some folk are still yet to mention my achievement, but hey ho! Anyway, I wanted to acknowledge the beauties in a way that they would never imagine and so, I included either their forename or surname in book 3. Honestly, it was the biggest secret I have kept for ages! I finally burst, and had the delight of telling them when draft one had been successfully written. So, Kitty P, Sharon W, Jackie G, Becca H, Fielding, Salloway, Pardoe, Turner, Woodward, Mr Klym, Mr Phillips and Miss Read all find themselves in the plot. I can't tell you how excited I am for 4th September 2018 to arrive.
The story follows three women, Nina, Angie and Holly through their journey of self-discovery towards happiness. Their three stories slowly entwine and eventually end up at Christmas Tree Farm, a local supplier of spruces. The structure of the plot-line was intriguing and totally consuming to write. The end result is a story that will make you laugh, cry and possibly think about your own experiences in life. As the author, it has certainly made me think back in time to my younger days and question certain reactions.
The main character Nina, works at the Christmas Tree Farm all year around but she has a dilemma: should she date either of her best friends Bram or Zach? To hinder her decision, they are twins of her employer, so should she mix business with pleasure? Nina is cautious. Her twenty-five years have been difficult due to her father suffering from Multiple Sclerosis and she being his only carer. His death last Christmas Eve was the final blow, so this year she cancels Christmas as a means of coping... but Christmas Tree Farm has other plans for her. With the help of her close and trusted friends Kitty, Shazza and Jackie she finds a way to overcome the sorrow and shine like the 'diamond glints on snow'.
I apologise now, if this story makes you cry, but remember it made me cry at every stage of writing after draft one! The acknowledgements will reveal all and honour the 'beautiful people' that have paved my journey in 2017 x
Pre-order via Amazon: The Magic of Christmas Tree Farm 4th September 2018 (paperback copies will be available to order nearer publication date).