I recently read Nicola May’s festive novella ‘Christmas Evie’ which I thoroughly enjoyed. You can read my review here. I decided to ask Nicola if she would mind being interviewed for Linda’s Book Bag and luckily she agreed.
Hi Nicola. Thank you so much for agreeing to answer some questions on my blog about your books.
Firstly, please could you imagine we are on a one minute speed date and tell me a little about yourself?
A fun and feisty brunette, Nicola May lives in Ascot in Berkshire with Stanley the cat. She loves Bristol Cream Blue Bottle Sherry, Dittisham in Devon and flapjacks and dislikes aubergines and negative people.
Aha. Now I get the sherry references in the book!
When did you first realise you were going to be a writer?
Twenty years ago. I started writing a comedic diary of events around my training for a half marathon, I realised I had a talent and the rest is history.
How easy is it to combine your own writing and running writing workshops?
I work as a marketing consultant as well as write, plus run the workshops so life is very busy indeed. I tend to run the workshops on a Saturday morning and just fit writing around whatever marketing contracts I am working on. There is rarely such a thing as a day off in my world anymore as if I’m not writing I always feel that I should be.
If you hadn’t become an author, what would you have done instead as a creative outlet?
I would have and still would love to be an actress. I actually think that a lot of writers are frustrated actors waiting to come out.
I think you might be right. I’ve never thought of that before.
Where do you get your inspiration for your stories?
To be honest I’ve led a colourful life so far, so I talk about what I know – early bereavement of a loved one, IVF, infertility, older woman/younger man relationships and internet dating are just a few to mention.
Which aspects of your writing do you find easiest and most difficult?
Once I’ve got a story on the go I find it easy to just flow with it. At the moment I have so much content inside of me, it’s like my hands are a funnel that is too small to get all my ideas down quick enough. The difficult thing about writing, I find, is to come up with the idea for the novel in the first place and then actually putting the first words down on the page. I always procrastinate as know once I start writing, life as I know it is over until I type The End.
What are your writing routines and where do you do most of your writing?
I actually do most of my writing in bed. I find it a peaceful environment and I’m less likely to jump up and start doing chores. When I start a novel there is not routine, it’s whenever I can fit it in around work and life.
When you’re not writing, what do you like to read?
I think Victoria Hislop is amazing. Also the delectable chick lit master Milly Johnson. And… not forgetting the magnificent Patrick Gale, who creates the most amazing dark characters.
‘Christmas Evie’ has a strong moral message. How hard was it to encompass that into an enjoyable read?
To be honest I wrote Christmas Evie in just 3 days. I am very spiritual and the message of love overriding the material world just flooded through me. I also pride myself in tackling difficult issues in an easy to read way to offer comfort to readers. Without any spoilers I also lost my mum when I was just 17.
Gosh I’m sorry to hear that.
I thought it was essential that ‘Christmas Evie’ had that time of year as a setting. What does Christmas mean to you personally and as a writer?
Being honest, since my mum died in 1983 Christmas has never been the same. I still love the time of year and spending time with my dad and siblings but the ‘empty chair’ will always be there. As a writer I love it as it is the only week in the year when I feel I can do nothing but eat mince pies and drink sherry.
I found Bea a little unlikeable to start with. Why did you choose to make her so brash?
I wanted a character to challenge Evie’s sweetness. I also like to bring in a comedy element and Bea certainly does that.
I think Bea works as a great counterpoint to Evie so you certainly succeeded.
If ‘Christmas Evie’ became a film, who would you like to play Evie and Yves?
Ooh. Well as I am a little bit in love with Eddie Redmayne, he would have to be Yves. Emma Watson would make a beautiful Evie. I am planning to write the screenplay once I have finished my next novel so watch this space.
If you had 15 words to persuade a reader that ‘Christmas Evie’ should be their next read, what would you say?
A magical Christmas novella with a feel good factor that carries messages of hope and love.
It certainly is Nicola. I’m sure it would be perfect for many this Christmas, especially those who have lost a loved one. Thank you so much for your time in answering my questions.