All I want for Christmas is… we hear from Graham Norton, Cate Woods, Jo Thomas and Olivia Beirne about which books are on the top of their wish list

All I want for Christmas is… we hear from Graham Norton, Cate Woods, Jo Thomas and Olivia Beirne about which books are on the top of their wish list

Can you believe that it is Christmas Day TOMORROW?! In the final blog as part of our Bookends Christmas author series, we asked Graham Norton, Cate Woods, Jo Thomas and Olivia Beirne, which books would you most like to find under the tree on Christmas morning?

A Keeper Graham Norton

Graham Norton, author of A Keeper

I still haven’t got around to reading Kate Atkinson’s new book Transcription or Normal People by Sally Rooney. I’m also very excited by the prospect of a new novel from David Nicholls next year!

More Than a Feeling Cate Woods

Cate Woods, author of More Than a Feeling

One of my favourite books of the year was Uprooted by Naomi Novik, a bewitching fairytale-inspired novel with a fantastic, kick-ass heroine, so I can’t wait to read Novik’s next book, Spinning Silver.

A Winter Beneath the Stars

Jo Thomas, author of A Winter Beneath the Stars

Milly Johnson’s The Mother of all Christmases. I love Milly’s books and I know this will get me right in the Christmas mood. 

The List That Changed My Life by Olivia Beirne cover

Olivia Beirne, author of The List That Changed My Life

So I never usually ask for specific books, I ask my family members to pick me out something (which we all tend to do for each other). Last Christmas our house was like a library. Saying that, I am really desperate to read Libby Page’s The Lido, Joe Heap’s The Rules of Seeing and Emma Cooper’s The Songs of Us.

From all of us here at Team Bookends, we wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Graham Norton, Jill Mansell, Holly Bourne and Beth Good tell us which of their characters deserve a special Christmas gift!

Graham Norton, Jill Mansell, Holly Bourne and Beth Good tell us which of their characters deserve a special Christmas gift!

Christmas is just around the corner now, and we couldn’t be more excited for mulled wine, pigs in blankets, and lots of presents under the tree! 

To get us in the mood ahead of the big day, we’ve asked four more of our fantastic authors to tell us which of their characters deserve an extra-special Christmas gift this year, and what they would choose to give them…

A Keeper Graham Norton

Graham Norton, author of A Keeper

When Elizabeth was a little girl, I wish her mother Patricia had bought her a puppy, so that she would have felt less alone.

Jill Mansell, author of This Could Change Everything

Definitely Zillah, everyone’s favourite character from This Could Change Everything (and named after my own glamorous grandmother.) She’s eighty three, incredibly stylish and glamorous, and I’d love to buy her something wonderful. I’d get her a stunning violet hat with a wide brim and a swooping green and purple peacock feather at the side. And a Chanel lipstick in fuschia pink with velvet gloves to match.

How do you like me now cover

Holly Bourne, author of How Do You Like Me Now?

I’d get Dee one of those dummies which makes your baby look like it has a moustache. I’ve been waiting my whole life to see a baby have one of those moustache dummies. If I ever have a baby myself, that will be one of the major reasons I choose to have one. 

Winter Without You

Beth Good, author of Winter Without You

Lizzie from Winter Without You, one of my heroine’s besties, who’s a complete darling. She loves to dance about, but hardly has a penny to her name,so I would get her an iPod and load it with great pop songs!

We ask Olivia Beirne, Cate Woods, Holly Bourne and Erin Kelly, who is the hardest person to buy for on your Christmas gift list?

We ask Olivia Beirne, Cate Woods, Holly Bourne and Erin Kelly, who is the hardest person to buy for on your Christmas gift list?

Stuck on what to get that one last person on your gifting list? Next up in our Bookends Christmas author series, we ask some of our lovely authors who is the most difficult person to buy for on their own Christmas gifting lists, and their advice on how to get around it!

Olivia Beirne, author of The List that Changed My Life

Definitely my Dad, without question. He’s never loved a present I’ve bought him. One year I thought I’d hit the nail on the head by giving him a framed photo of myself (which, looking back sounds incredibly narcissistic, but after four years of unsuccessful Marks and Spencer jumpers I was getting desperate) which I thought would be great for his new office. He put it straight in his room behind another photo. This year I’m going to buy him a snickers.

Cate Woods, author of More Than a Feeling

If you are male and too old for Star Wars Lego then I will spend fraught weeks scouring the internet for brilliant, witty gift ideas, before eventually giving up and buying you socks. Again.

Holly Bourne, author of How Do You Like Me Now?

Any male person. What do you get men? What does anyone ever get men? They always buy what they need the moment they need it, rather than waiting for Christmas. And, if you click the ‘presents for him’ box on an online store for ideas, all you get is silver whiskey flasks or cufflinks. I know no man who wouldn’t think I was literally insane if I gifted him a hip flask and some cufflinks. He’d be like, “what sort of crazy James Bond life do you think I live?!”

Erin Kelly, author of He Said/She Said

My dad. He has everything he wants and hates ‘clutter’ which means ‘everything’. We get around him by buying him restaurant vouchers for him and my stepmother.

The List That Changed My LifeMore than a feeling coverHow do you like me now cover

 

If you would like to hear more from authors such as Olivia, Cate, Holly and Erin, then sign-up to our Bookends newsletter here!

Joanna Nell, Karen Cole, Daniela Sacerdoti and Joanna Bolouri tell us which books they’re wishing for this Christmas!

Joanna Nell, Karen Cole, Daniela Sacerdoti and Joanna Bolouri tell us which books they’re wishing for this Christmas!

Over at Bookends HQ, we’re starting to get SERIOUSLY excited about Christmas: mince pies, trashy TV, and hopefully lots of new additions to our TBR piles! 

From feel-good romance to classic horror, four more of our wonderful authors share which books they’re hoping to find under the Christmas tree this year…

Daniela Sacerdoti, author of I Will Find You

I’m particularly book-hungry this year (for a change!), and very much in the mood for light, happy, Christmas stories. I’d love a selection of feel-good, romantic authors like Mandy Baggot, Trisha Ashley, Alicia Kingsley – anything with snow and glitter on the cover and a happy ending! I’ve gone through a bit of a witchy phase with some fantastic supernatural, dark books, so now I’m in the mood for some romance!

Joanna Nell, author of The Single Ladies of Jacaranda Retirement Village

I’m putting The Cactus by Sarah Haywood at the top of my (shamefully long) Christmas book wish list this year. I’m a big fan of the “never too late”message and this book sounds like my perfect summer holiday read for January.

Karen Cole, author of Deliver Me

I want to read Wonder, by R J Palacio, about a boy with severe facial deformities, which has been recommended to me by a friend. I also think The Woman in the Window, by A.J. Finn, looks interesting.

Relight my fire

Joanna Bolouri, author of Relight My Fire

Non-fiction would have to be You Are The Placebo by Dr Joe Dispenza. Fiction wise, Elevation by Stephen King.

Jo Thomas, Karen Cole, Cate Woods and Joanna Nell grant their characters’ Christmas wishes!

Jo Thomas, Karen Cole, Cate Woods and Joanna Nell grant their characters’ Christmas wishes!

We’ve all got those pesky hard-to-buy-for people on our Christmas lists, but it turns out the best people to buy for are fictional! In this latest blog post four of our fabulous authors positively spoil their characters with presents…

Jo Thomas, author of A Winter Beneath the Stars

I’d buy Halley, from A Winter Beneath the Stars, a new suitcase, one that looks different from everybody else’s! But then, if she had that, she may never have gone on the journey of a lifetime! So maybe just a new travel journal, to write down all her new adventures!

Karen Cole, author of Deliver Me

Hmm, I would probably by some paints for Abby as painting is her true passion and maybe the creative process would help her come to terms with all she’s been through.

Cate Woods, author of More Than A Feeling

I would buy a Christmas pudding costume for Dot, my lead character Annie’s six-month-old daughter in More Than a Feeling, because one of the best things about babies is that you can dress them up in ridiculous-slash-adorable costumes. Plus it would give Annie something to put on Instagram – and she really needs new material after that social media mortification in chapter 37…

Joanna Nell, author of The Single Ladies of Jacaranda Retirement Village

As those who’ve read The Single Ladies of Jacaranda Retirement Village will know, Peggy desperately needs a new swimming costume. I’d dearly love to buy her one for Christmas, but after her debacle with the “Miraclesuit”, I’m apprehensive. We all know that choosing swimwear is tricky at the best of times and after her marathon shopping trip with Angie, I’m not sure I’d get Peggy anywhere near a changing room. I think I’ll play it safe and treat her to a day out at Cadbury World instead.

Find out more from our wonderful authors as they tell us their ultimate Christmas dishes…

He’s making a list, and checking it twice…

He’s making a list, and checking it twice…

Next up in our Christmas author series, we asked our lovely authors Erin Kelly, Joanna Bolouri, Olivia Beirne and Daniela Sacerdoti a very important festive question: if you had to buy a Christmas gift for one of your characters, who would you choose and why?

 

Erin Kelly, author of He Said/She Said

Alice, the little girl from The Poison Tree, would be nineteen now. With parents like hers, she could probably do with a spa weekend or a course of therapy.

Joanna Bolouri, author of Relight My Fire

I would buy Phoebe from The List an iTunes gift card as she needs a better taste in music.

Olivia Beirne, author of The List That Changed My Life

Oh gosh that’s a good question. I think they’d all be terrible to buy for. I reckon I’d have to buy for Georgia and I think she’d really enjoy one of those cushion scarfs so that she could nap on the tube/in meetings/flick her sunglasses down so Sally can’t see her eyes when she’s talking. As I’m writing this, I realise that I would also really enjoy one of those and why haven’t I done all of those things sooner? 

Daniela Sacerdoti, author of I Will Find You

Oh, that’s hard…I would buy for all of them and feel bad if I forgot one! I think I would pick Cora from I Will Find You, and I would give her a voucher for John Lewis – I know a voucher can sound quite anonymous, but Cora loves weaving and sewing, and the selection of fabrics and craft materials in John Lewis is amazing…so I think she could go and have a little splurge on me. I would also like to make a girly package for Anna from Take Me Home, with a nice top and make up. Anna loves pretty things but she tends not to indulge herself, and treat her daughter instead (like most mums do!). So I’d like to spoil her a little.

He said she saidRelight my fireThe List That Changed My LifeI Will Find You

Bookends authors share their Christmas Day Routine

Bookends authors share their Christmas Day Routine

As homes up and down the country wake up to put the turkey in the oven and open their stockings, our Bookends authors share their Christmas Day routines.

Carmel Harrington, author of Cold Feet: The Lost Years

We awake early, courtesy of our two children – Amelia (7) and Nate (6). They scramble into bed with Roger and I and then we all run to see if Santa has been. Santa always leaves his presents in our living room, in big red sacks. Roger and I watch the children open their Santa gifts, then we all have breakfast. Fortified by my first cup of tea of the day, we sit down and open our family presents, which are stacked under our tree. We normally do Christmas lunch at home, but this year we are going to my parents, as are my siblings and their families. I predict laughter, food, drink, love and a lot fun.

Chrissie Manby, author of The Worst Case Scenario Cookery Club

The past few years have seen a lot of changes for my family and so I suppose we’re finding new Christmas traditions.  My sister and mum usually cook though.  If they do let me into the kitchen, they only worry that I’m going to undercook the sprouts.  Apparently, they need to go on around Bonfire Night.

Fiona Mitchell, author of The Maid’s Room

We open presents, put on Christmas music, then at around 10am, the eating starts with crisps. I spend the afternoon in the kitchen cooking which involves dropping things and burning my wrists in a bid to fit everything in the oven. Somewhere along the line there’ll be games including Uno. Then we’ll flop and watch a David Walliams drama, followed by a film.

Stef Penney, author of Under a Pole Star

Depends where we are, but it will include present opening (after a token walk and lunch), and Christmas Eve involves a ritual reading aloud of Astrid Lindgren Christmas stories. No television allowed.

Della Parker, author of The Reading Group

Smoked salmon and scrambled egg for breakfast. A walk in the forest. (I got my car stuck in the mud one year). Christmas presents after dinner which is at 2.00 pm. Then we often play board games or Charades if we can move. Amazingly, boringly ordinary.

Emily Phillips, author of Trying

I haven’t had a definitive Christmas routine since I got together with my husband Charlie and we got to rotating between being at one of our families’ houses for Christmas morning (and present opening – all of that hastily fashioned wrapping in the recycling!). What we do always seem to do is have a massively gluttonous lunch at one house and then go on to the others’ for the same again for dinner. I need to add some stretchier waistbands on Santa’s list.

Home Alone 2 or White Christmas? Our authors' favourite Christmas movies

Home Alone 2 or White Christmas? Our authors' favourite Christmas movies

We quizzed more of our fabulous Bookends authors on the movies they want to snuggle down in front of this Christmas.

Kirstie Allsopp, author of Kirstie’s Real Kitchen

Ooh difficult… It’s going to have to be National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

Emily Phillips, author of Trying

I adore Home Alone 2 for a festive reminder of how much I love New York when the decorations are up (and how gothically spooky Central Park can be). But in terms of sheer sing-along joy, it would have to be A Muppet Christmas Carol. I do all my harried Christmas eve wrapping to it every year. The bunny gets me every time

Stef Penney, author of Under a Pole Star

Actually a New Year’s movie – The Apartment. Does that count?

Laurie Graham, author of The Early Birds

White Christmas. But this year I’m hoping Captain Underpants will be out on DVD.

Fiona Mitchell, author of The Maid’s Room

 I adore Kind Hearts and Coronets. For me, Christmas should involve a black and white film in some shape or form, and this one is my favourite. For family viewing? You can’t beat a bit of Home Alone.

Christmas Quick-Fire

Christmas Quick-Fire

We’ve got more answers to our festive quick-fire quiz….

Elizabeth Gill, author of Snow Angels

Home or Away?

The joys of Cheshire. Love it when it snows.

Star on top of tree or fairy?

Gosh, it depends on what I get. I do the easy bits like turning up. They do the decorating. Always very tasteful.

Roses or Quality Street?

I don’t eat much chocolate so it has to be Green and Black’s.

Turkey or alternative?

I’m having sea bass!

Queen’s speech or It’s a Wonderful Life?

Neither. We don’t watch television until the middle of the evening when we are ready to drop.

Monopoly or charades?

We do those on-screen games, golf and tennis which I quite enjoy.

Lights first on the tree or lights last?

Lights last always and lots of them, usually white.

Kathryn Hughes, author of The Secret

Home OR Away?

Home

Star on top of tree OR Fairy on top of tree?

Neither, a Father Christmas, with a cotton wool beard, made from the inside of a toilet roll.

Roses OR Quality Street?

Neither are worth the calories for me – Thornton’s every time, especially the cappucino ones.

Turkey OR Alternative? 

Turkey

Queen’s Speech OR It’s a Wonderful Life?

We’re always eating when the Queen is on and I’ve never seen It’s A Wonderful Life. (or Game of Thrones!)

Monopoly OR Charades?

When I was a kid we played Monopoly every Christmas Eve. It was a tradition my parents have since confessed they hated! I can see why now.

Lights first on the tree OR Lights last?

Definitely first. It would be carnage the other way round.

Tracy Rees, author of The Hourglass

Home OR Away?

Home!

Star on top of tree OR Fairy on top of tree?

Fairy!

Roses OR Quality Street?

Roses!

Turkey OR Alternative?

Turkey!

Queen’s Speech OR It’s a Wonderful Life?

The film! Always the film!

Monopoly OR Charades?

Both!

Lights first on the tree OR Lights last?

Light’s first!

Stef Penney, author of Under A Pole Star

Home OR Away?

Away.

Star on top of tree OR Fairy on top of tree?

Neither – could be a giant, threatening, felt robin, or an old photo – maybe Robert Mitchum, or a weaponised Emma Peel.

Roses OR Quality Street?

Artisan chocolates only, please.

Turkey OR Alternative?

Alternative. But with sausages and bread sauce.

Queen’s Speech OR It’s a Wonderful Life?

It’s a Wonderful Life, if I really have to. The Queen’s Speech over my cold, dead body.

Monopoly OR Charades?

Charades, every time.

Lights first on the tree OR Lights last?

Lights first; are you drunk?

Helen Wallen, author of Baby Boom!

Home OR Away?

Home

Star on top of tree OR Fairy on top of tree?

Star

Roses OR Quality Street?

Quality Street all the way!

Turkey OR Alternative?

Alternative!

Queen’s Speech OR It’s a Wonderful Life?

Neither! (Sorry)

Monopoly OR Charades?

Charades

Lights first on the tree OR Lights last? 

First!

Check out more of our Christmas Quick-Fire Questions here

The Quick-Fire Christmas Quiz

The Quick-fire Christmas Quiz Part Two

The Quick-fire Christmas Quiz Part Two

We asked a few more of our wonderful Bookends authors our fiendish Christmas quiz!

Carmel Harrington, author of Cold Feet: The Lost Years

Home OR Away?

Home

Star on top of tree OR Fairy on top of tree?

Star

Roses OR Quality Street?

Quality Street

Turkey OR Alternative?

Turkey

Queen’s Speech OR It’s a Wonderful Life?

It’s a Wonderful Life

Monopoly OR Charades?

Charades

Lights first on the tree OR Lights last? 

FIRST!!!!

 

Fiona Mitchell, author of The Maid’s Room

Home OR Away?

HOME. We often visit our families in Edinburgh, but this year we’re at home.

Star on top of tree OR Fairy on top of tree?

A star which falls off every couple of days and takes some pine needles with it.

Roses OR Quality Street?

Quality Street. Just don’t go changing the shapes and wrappers like Roses have done.

Turkey OR Alternative?

An alternative. Probably chicken for my family, and a vegetarian strudel for me from a recipe I pinched off my friend, Simon.

Queen’s Speech OR It’s a Wonderful Life?

It’s a Wonderful Life 

Monopoly OR Charades?

Monopoly – the Singapore edition or the junior version.

Lights first on the tree OR Lights last? 

Definitely lights last, that way I can take them off again more easily when they won’t switch on.

 

Jill Mansell, author of Meet Me At Beachcomber Bay

Home OR Away?

Oh, we always have Christmas at home.

Star on top of tree OR Fairy on top of tree?

We have a homemade angel on top of our tree. Controversial!

Roses OR Quality Street?

Quality Street, please.

Turkey OR Alternative?

Turkey and a baked ham, plus every form of trimming known to man. (I will eat Christmas dinner leftovers for breakfast for the next week. Never get tired of it.)

Queen’s Speech OR It’s a Wonderful Life?

It’s a Wonderful Life. What a dream of a film that is. Let’s hear those bells ring…

Monopoly OR Charades?

Charades, definitely! Played enough endless games of Monopoly when the children were young to never EVER want to play it again…

Lights first on the tree OR Lights last? 

Lights go on the tree first, then you decorate the rest of the tree, then at least two of the strings of lights will break so you have to rush out and buy new ones and pile them on top of everything else, so technically they’ve gone on last but NOT OUT OF CHOICE.

Ed’s note: see picture of Jill’s rather gorgeous tree here, with no sign of last minute light panic.

Rosanna Ley, author of Little Theatre by the Sea

Home OR Away?

Home

Star on top of tree OR Fairy on top of tree?

Fairy

Roses OR Quality Street?

Quality every time

Turkey OR Alternative?

Alternative (as yet unknown)

Queen’s Speech OR It’s a Wonderful Life?

Definitely It’s a Wonderful Life

Monopoly OR Charades?

Could be both. OK, charades.

Lights first on the tree OR Lights last?

Has to be first. Lights on last?? Really?