Camembert, parsnips and sherry – we ask, what is your go-to Christmas dish?

Camembert, parsnips and sherry – we ask, what is your go-to Christmas dish?

Can you believe that it is December already? Here at Bookends HQ, we are MORE than ready for all the joys that the Christmas season brings – including the food! Next up in our Bookends Christmas author series, we’ve asked, what is your go-to Christmas dish?

Jill Mansell, author of This Could Change Everything

Coconut Lindt Lindors, amazing roast potatoes and a glass of sherry. Maybe not all at the same time. Then again, now that I’ve written it down it’s starting to sound rather delicious.

Beth Good, author of Winter Without You

Roast parsnips, for sure. I love them crispy brown on the outside and soft in the middle, and I don’t know why but they taste better at Christmas than any other day of the year.

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

My friends and I always have a girls’ night in on Christmas Eve, where we eat one baked Camembert each. Then we feel so ill afterwards that we can’t sleep when we get home, and spend actual Christmas day sleep-deprived, sweaty, groaning and messaging one another: “We’ve got to stop doing this each year. One cheese between three is enough.” But it’s sort of an unbreakable ritual now.

Cate Woods, author of More Than a Feeling

Nigella’s Christmas book introduced me to an Italian liqueur called Tuaca, which she winningly describes as panettone in a glass. A splash of this mixed with Prosecco is the perfect accompaniment to Christmas brunch: it’s like the beverage equivalent of ‘Good King Wenceslas’

This Could Change Everything coverWinter Without YouHow do you like me now coverMore than a feeling cover

 

For more content from authors like Jill, Beth, Holly and Cate, sign-up to our Bookends newsletter here!

Quick Fire Q&A with Jill Shalvis

Quick Fire Q&A with Jill Shalvis

We love catching up with authors and finding out a little more about them – we were lucky enough to catch up with New York Times bestselling author Jill Shalvis.

Your current TV obsession?

OH SO MANY. I love TV, so it’s all an obsession for me. Right now I’m marathoning Shadowhunters and Stitchers and loving them both.

Your ultimate comfort food?

Mac and cheese. Bacon. Cookies…

The last thing you saw at the cinema?

Guardians of the Galaxy 2 and LOVED it.

To dunk cookies or not?

NOT. I’m a cookie purist. 🙂

If you could star in any role?

I wouldn’t. I don’t like being in front of the camera, I like being behind it. 🙂

Your most-used cookbook?

Ha. Zero. I don’t cook much. Or at all. That’s what my daughters and husband are for. 🙂

Tea or coffee?

TEA! I have a little tea problem…

The show you wish had not been cancelled?

Hooten and the Lady.

Starter or dessert?

BOTH. I can have both, right?

The reality TV show(s) you would go on?

I love Survivor and Amazing Race but wouldn’t go on either. I want my own bed. 🙂

Check out Jill’s warm, funny Heartbreaker Bay novels, visit gorgeous Cedar Ridge, spellbinding Lucky Harbor or experience some Animal Magnetism in Sunshine, Idaho in Jill’s other unforgettable series.

 

Quickfire Q&A with Rosanna Ley

Quickfire Q&A with Rosanna Ley

Today we welcome author Rosanna Ley who delights us with a quickfire Q&A!

Author of the bestselling novels The Villa and The Saffron Trail, Rosanna returns with a gorgeous summer read about love and starting over The Little Theatre by the Sea – set in West Dorset and beautiful Sardinia. It is available in hardback now and will be out in paperback 1st June 2017!

My dream holiday destination…

is always going to be Italy. The Cinque Terre, Lunighiana, Elba, Tellaro…

If I were to be stranded on a desert island, my one luxury item would be…

Never-ending paper with everlasting pen attached.

The last song I listened to… OR The first album I ever bought…

Hunky Dory by David Bowie – still one of my all-time favourite albums.

My guilty pleasure…

Very dark chocolate (apparently very good for the brain!)

The last time I went to the cinema…

Beauty and the Beast in Brighton with my daughter. It was magical. I loved it.

If I had to choose between saying everything I think or never speaking again…

Definitely saying everything I think – this would be much better fun!

If I had to choose between appearing on Strictly Come Dancing or X Factor…

Absolutely Strictly – and I wouldn’t need much persuading…

When I was 5 years old I wanted to be…

A teacher.

If I could go back to any time in history…

I love the 1920s – I think I’d be a good flapper…

The best thing about being a writer…

is researching interesting subjects and places and then getting to travel there too!

Quickfire Q&A with Kathryn Flett

Quickfire Q&A with Kathryn Flett

We are delighted to have Books of the Month author Kathryn Flett give us a little insight into her life with this quickfire interview.

Kathryn’s second novel Outstanding is a witty and sharp-eyed modern morality tale about mothers and daughters and how we raise our children. It is out now and available to buy here!

 

If I had to go back in time and choose another career…

Interior Designer. In fact, I’m currently studying the subject at college part-time and loving it.

My most memorable meal…

Marco Pierre White cooking me sea bass in the ‘90s was a particularly memorable (and very long) lunch.

The last song I listened to…

A track on Michael Kiwanuka’s fabulous album, ‘Love & Hate’. I listen to most of my music in the car.

The book I’ve read the most times…

‘Rebecca’ by Daphne du Maurier — still as good as it gets.

My guilty pleasure…

‘Designated Survivor’, on Netflix: Keifer Sutherland as a reluctant, but nonetheless fabulous, POTUS and Natascha McElhone as First Lady. Addictive!

The item I have more of than anything else…

Books.

The last time I went to the cinema…

I took my sons to see Kong: Skull Island recently. Scary monsters for the kids + Tom Hiddleston for the mums = Result!

My favourite city in the world…

Sydney pretty much has it all going on, city-wise.  Shame it’s not a bit nearer.

The best invention ever…

The printing press.

The best thing about being a writer…

Typing The End!

 

If you liked this, why not catch up on Tracy Rees: Where I Write

Or

Find out what one thing Hilary Boyd would never, EVER give up ?

A Quick Fire Q&A with Daniela Sacerdoti

A Quick Fire Q&A with Daniela Sacerdoti

We’re delighted to welcome author Daniela Sacerdoti to Team Bookends and what better way to get to know someone than with a quick fire Q&A.

Author of bestselling novel Watch Over Me, Daniela’s latest novel Keep Me Safe is the first in a gripping new series set on the remote, beautiful island of Seal in the west of Scotland. Out on the 6th April…why not pre order now?

If I had to go back in time and choose another career…

Well, I would go back to my first career – primary teaching.

My dream holiday destination…

Iceland, Japan and New Orleans (to pay homage to Anne Rice!)

If I were to be stranded on a desert island, my one luxury item would be…

A survival manual, I suppose.

My most memorable meal…

Tea and toast after each of my babies were born.

The last song I listened to… OR The first album I ever bought…

A collection of 80s hits to listen to on my brand new Walkman.

The book I’ve read the most times…

The Anne of Green Gables series by Lucy M. Montgormery.

My guilty pleasure…

Latin American soap operas!

The item I have more of than anything else…

Books.

The last time I went to the cinema…

I took my boys to see Pets.

The thing I could never give up…

Coffee. I think that without coffee I’d be perpetually asleep.

My choice of superpower…

Beaming myself places like in Star Trek. I would beam myself in Scotland a lot.

The book (by another author) that I wish I had written…

Oh, it has to be Harry Potter! J.K.Rowling is just wonderful.

If I could pick any actor/actress to play my latest lead character…

Catriona Balfe from Outlander would be an amazing Anna.

The best play I’ve seen…

Romeo and Juliet, in London, with Juliet Stevenson.

The one piece of advice I would give my teenage self…

Send your novel off to a publisher. Don’t keep in a drawer.

If you enjoyed this why not try A Quick Fire Q&A with Kathryn Hughes

Or

My Perfect Weekend with Sheila O’Flanagan

Hina Belitz on her debut novel 'Set Me Free'

Hina Belitz on her debut novel 'Set Me Free'

Hina Belitz’s highly anticipated debut novel SET ME FREE, depicts the powerful relationship between a brother and a sister forced to flee their home in fear of their lives. We have an exclusive extract from a Q&A with Hina who discusses some of the themes within the book.

‘At the time of putting this book to press, much of the country was gripped by the domestic violence storyline on The Archers, and SET ME FREE explores this topic with incredible emotional intelligence from a teenage girl’s perspective. How did you go about researching this subject?

Part of my research was based on people I knew who had gone through such an experience, and it became clear that such relationships are highly complex and therefore incredibly interesting. Love appears to become confused with harsh and hateful behaviour to such an extent that the woman struggles to extract herself from the situation.  And interestingly, even though Mani is a teenager when she is subjected to this treatment, from the research I did, it doesn’t make any difference if the woman is older and/or highly educated. I watched a TED talk by Leslie Morgan Steiner which explained the twisted justifications and confused outlook that victims of domestic violence develop. The book, Women Who Love Too Much by Robin Norwood includes multiple accounts of women explaining why it was so hard for them to leave violent relationships. It seems that such women believe they are helping their partner become normal, that only they can fix whatever is making their partner so aggressive and violent. Often women subjected to such violence also believe they deserve the treatment they are getting. Finally, I was also intrigued by the controlling behaviour and hurtful language which accompany the physical violence. My goal was to depict life from the perspective of such a person by exploring Mani’s dilemmas and confusions in her marriage to Khan.

I met with Diana Nammi of the Iranian and Kurdish Woman’s Rights Organisation and spoke to her about the work she did to bring the murderers of Banaz Mahmod  (her father and uncle in a so-called ‘honour killing’) to justice. This inspired another aspect of SET ME FREE which is the difficulty the authorities have in establishing how seriously to treat such acts of violence.’

If Hina has inspired you to read her novel, SET ME FREE is out today in paperback and eBook here

A quick-fire Q&A with Kate Humble

A quick-fire Q&A with Kate Humble

Following her debut book, HUMBLE BY NATURE, TV Presenter Kate Humble explores the heartwarming relationship between man and his best friend in FRIEND FOR LIFE: THE EXTRAORDINARY PARTNERSHIP BETWEEN HUMANS AND DOGS. We caught up with Kate for one of our quick-fire Q&A’s,

If I were to be stranded on a desert island, my one luxury item would be…a scuba diving kit with a magic tank of air that never runs out.

The book I’ve read the most times…Grimble & Grimble at Christmas by Clement Freud.

My guilty pleasure…Cheese, the bluer and stinkier the better.

The thing I could never give upFreedom of speech.

The book (by another author) that I wish I had written…Picture Palace by Paul Theroux.

When I was 5 years old I wanted to be…A stunt rider in the circus

The comedian who makes me laugh the most…Miles Jupp

If I want to relax…I go for a big walk with my dogs and leave my phone at home.

The best invention ever…Gore-tex, I’d have disintegrated by now without it.

The best thing about being a writer…The final full-stop.

Pre order FRIEND FOR LIFE: THE EXTRAORDINARY PARTNERSHIP BETWEEN HUMANS AND DOGS here,

If you liked this, why not try…

A quick-fire Q&A with Chris Cleave

Or, 

Quick-fire Q&A with Victoria Walters

 

A quick-fire Q&A with Maggie O'Farrell

A quick-fire Q&A with Maggie O'Farrell

Sunday Times bestseller and Costa Novel Award-winner Maggie O’Farrell is about to release one of the most talked about books this year, THIS MUST BE THE PLACE. With just over a week until its release, we caught up with Maggie for a quick-fire Q&A…

My most memorable meal…I had just been on the Trans-Siberian express and had been surviving on noodles for a week. When I got off in Beijing I went to this amazing vegetarian Chinese restaurant; it was the most delicious thing I’ve ever eaten.

The last song I listened to…‘Train Song’ by Vashti Bunyan. She’s a folk singer from the seventies and she kind of disappeared. There were a couple of female folk singers who had big success in the seventies and then just vanished, dropped out of life. It’s a beautiful song.

The book I’ve read the most times…Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

My guilty pleasure…Chocolate, though specifically Charbonnel & Walker violet creams.

The item I have more of than anything else…Pens, I can never not buy pens. And shoes. Actually, probably pens, notebooks and shoes.

The last time I went to the cinema…I went to see Hail, Ceasar! by the Coen Brothers. I love the Coen Brothers; they’re among my favourite filmmakers. Wes Anderson is probably my favourite of them all.

The book (by another author) that I wish I had written…The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

The best play I’ve seen…Elsinore by Robert Lepage – he’s a French Canadian dramatist. This is his one-man version of Hamlet. It sounds very unlikely but it was the most beautiful, amazing thing. He played every single part simultaneously; he’s a genius. He managed to do it all with tricks of light and costumes and voices and it was mesmerising.

The one piece of advice I would give my teenage self…Not to give up, it’s all going to get better and also don’t over pluck your eyebrows.

If I had to eat the same meal for dinner every day for the rest of my life it would be…I would eat aubergine and tofu ho fun. Chinese food, I love Chinese food.

Pre-order THIS MUST BE THE PLACE here,

Enjoyed this? Why not try…

Quick-fire Q&A with Emma Hannigan

Or, 

Quick-fire Q&A with Harriet Evans

My Perfect Weekend Interview – Tasmina Perry

My Perfect Weekend Interview – Tasmina Perry

Long lie-in or up with the lark?
I’m the last in our household to get up any day of the week. My first words are usually “five more minutes…”

Full English or a super-food smoothie?
I’ve bought a Blendtec blender and have become obsessed with making smoothies. My freezer is packed with frozen raspberries and vanilla ice-cream for when I want the more decadent milkshake.

City break or an escape to the country?
I’ve just come back from New York and for the first time ever I found it a bit too frantic. I prefer to go and see my sister who has just moved to a hamlet in Kent.

Re-reading an old favourite or trying something different?
My kindle is stuffed with all sorts of discoveries, but I’m a devil for going back and re-reading my favourites like I Capture the Castle.

Cocktails or coffee?
I’ve never been a coffee drinker, but I’m a recent convert to iced lattes.

Action-packed or total relaxation?
My son and I do this thing called ‘London Sundays’ where we set off to explore the capital twice a month. I find it hard to relax and do nothing, although I’m trying to re-train myself!

Bookshop browsing or exploring a library?
I spent the summer in America and loved the library culture we saw over there. Libraries are real hubs in the community and get heavily supported.

Are you off to the latest exhibition or getting arty yourself?
I got into taking art classes when I went on holiday to St Ives. I’m also quite into photography, although I drive my husband mad — I’m always stopping to take pictures.

Radio 2 or Radio 4?
Radio 2. Their mix of music always makes me feel smiley and nostalgic.

A trip to the cinema or a DVD on the sofa?
I try to go to the cinema with my son after school on Fridays. It’s our end of the week treat!

 

Tasmina’s new  novel  THE LAST KISS GOODBYE is out this week in Hardback and E-book. Click here to pre-order.

THE PROPOSAL is out in Paperback and E-book now. Click here to buy.

If you liked this, why not try:

Learn more about  Tasmina Perry

Books on my Bedside Table – Emylia Hall

Quick-fire Q&A with Jo Thomas

Quick-fire Q&A with Jo Thomas

If I had to go back in time and choose another career…

I want to change career every week. Usually I want to be a different type of farmer. Right now I want to be an olive farmer.

My most memorable meal…

My 20th birthday on a beach in the South of France in a thunderstorm. The tarpaulin sides billowing. Special for so many reasons.

My guilty pleasure…

Watching rom coms. I love Love Actually and The Holiday. Can’t see them enough!

The thing I could never give up…

My camper van Dorothy! I love her. It’s my car, my office, my space. That and gin. Everything looks better after a good G&T!

The one piece of advice I would give my teenage self…

You get back what you put in, in life. The harder you work, the luckier you’ll become.

If I had to choose between appearing on Strictly Come Dancing or X Factor

Definitely X Factor. I love it when people reach for their dreams.

When I was 5 years old I wanted to be…

A zoologist studying monkeys. Really, I just wanted a monkey.

If I had to eat the same meal for dinner every day for the rest of my life…

Casanova started his day by eating 50 oysters for breakfast. I love oysters but not 50 a day. I’d have lobster, homemade chips and garlic mayo, what could be better? Or maybe a great bacon sandwich…

If I could play the starring role in any film…

Scarlett O’Hara in Gone with the Wind…. ‘Afterall, tomorrow is another day.’

My favourite cookbook…

It’s a tough one between Nigella, Jamie and Hugh F-W but it would have to be Nigel Slater’s Real Cooking. I love him! (That and my Hamlyn)

If I could play the starring role in any film…

I want to be Baby, of course, from Dirty Dancing. I want to do the lift in the water and I want Patrick Swayze to say ‘Nobody puts Baby in the corner’ or rather ‘Nobody puts Jo in the corner!’ Oh yes!

 

Jo Thomas’ latest novel THE OLIVE BRANCH is out in Paperback on July 2nd. Can’t wait? Buy it for your e-reader now!