Staying in with Margaret Amatt

It’s an absolute pleasure to welcome Margaret Amatt to Linda’s Book Bag today as part of the blog tour organised by Rachel of Rachel’s Random Resources. My thanks to Rachel for enabling me to stay in with Margaret.

Let’s find out more:

Staying in with Margaret Amatt

Welcome to Linda’s Book Bag Margaret and thank you for agreeing to stay in with me.

Tell me, which of your books have you brought along to share this evening and why have you chosen it?

A Festive Surprise – it’s my latest (and final) book in a ten book series.

Gosh! I had no idea there were so many in this series. What can we expect from an evening in with A Festive Surprise?

It’s a Christmas romcom with a twist! It’s got all the festive ingredients you would expect – and want. I’m talking twinkly lights, mince pies, Santa’s grotto, elf suits and more. It also has a Scrooge-like character in Holly. She’s over Christmas and it isn’t even December yet. Enter Farid. He’s the hero with a difference – don’t worry he’s still a dreamy book boyfriend but he’s clueless about Christmas. He’s had a hard shift coming to Scotland from Syria as a refugee and some of our Christmas traditions not only baffle him but make him laugh.

I love the idea of a slightly different romantic lead man. Tell me more.

Holly and Farid are drawn to each other but there’s a world between them. But they soon discover they can learn from each other – that’s when the fun really starts!

Only when I started looking at Christmas through Farid’s eyes, did I see just how very odd some of our Christmas traditions are. Holly tries to explain some of them but lots of them she’s equally clueless about. As the learn and grow together they discover something special – not just about Christmas, but about places, people, family and love.

That’s the enduring message of the book – the heart of Christmas and home isn’t about ‘stuff’.

I think you’re absolutely right Margaret. Christmas has become far too commercialised and all we really need is our loved ones around us.

I love this quote from Farid in the book:

‘Maybe these things are like the decorations on the tree. The extra bits people add on; every year it grows as people add more and more. Some old decorations… ya’ni… they fade and are forgotten, but the heart of the tree is the same. That’s what we must find. The heart of Christmas. Not what each little extra bit means. Because different people attach different meaning to them. You might love the decoration that’s like a snowflake; I might like the red flower more. We must dig deep, find the heart and what the heart means to you.’

Oh yes!

What else have you brought along and why?

This is a photo of the Isle of Mull in winter. I started a love affair with this island over twenty years ago and it’s now the setting for all ten of my books.

I’m not surprised Margaret. What a stunning location. It makes me want to climb in the motorhome and head there right away.

The gorgeous romantic setting has played at my heartstrings ever since my first visit there. In fact that very visit was the seed for the first story in this series I wrote. That book eventually became book four and was based on my youthful naivety and lack of planning for that trip! I travelled to the island and got completely lost! I had no idea how big it was, thinking I could drive around the whole thing in about half an hour. How wrong was I? I discovered it’s about 40 miles long and has 300 miles of coastline!  It got me thinking what fun it would be to land a character there and give her a real need to find someone. I made it even worse for her by sending her on public transport!

That sounds very cruel! But also very appealing as a storyline!

Some years later, I was on holiday on the island again and had injured my foot. In the evenings, I wasn’t able to go out walks and just wanted to rest my foot. I started to crave books set on the island. There wasn’t a lot of choice in the fiction department. That was when I realised if I wanted one, I would have to write it myself. Now, I have ten! Earlier this year a bookshop on the island started stocking them too, so hopefully lots more holidaymakers will enjoy the series in situ!

What could be better? I love reading about the locations I visit. Thank you so much for telling me about your series and A Festive Surprise in particular. I know they can all be found here

A Festive Surprise

She can’t abide Christmas. He’s not sure what it’s all about. Together they’re in for a festive surprise.

Ambitious software developer Holly may have a festive name but the connection ends there. She despises the holiday season and decides to flee to the remote island of Mull in a bid to escape from it.

Syrian refugee Farid has made a new home in Scotland but he’s lonely. Understanding Nessie and Irn Bru is one thing, but when glittery reindeer and tinsel hit the shelves, he’s completely bemused. Determined to understand a new culture, he asks his new neighbour to educate him on all things Christmas.

When Holly reluctantly agrees, he realises there’s more to her hatred of mince pies and mulled wine than meets the eye. Farid makes it his mission to inject some joy into Hollys’ life but falling for her is an unexpected gift that was never on his list.

As their attraction sparkles, can Christmas work its magic on Holly and Farid, or will their spark fizzle out with the end of December?

A Festive Surprise is available for purchase on Amazon UK and Amazon US.

About Margaret Amatt

Margaret is a writer, mummy, wife and chocolate eater (in any order you care to choose). She lives in highland Perthshire in a little house close to the woods where she often sees red squirrels, deer and other such tremendously Scottish wildlife… Though not normally haggises or even men in kilts!

She has published nine books and written many more. Margaret won a short story writing competition in 2012 and her winning entry was performed live to an audience at Pitlochry Festival Theatre as part of their Winter Words Event. This spring boarded Margaret’s journey from writing for fun to novel writing – though she still enjoys every minute of it.

Margaret is also a keen amateur photographer, who enjoys drawing, reading, and talking about books.

You can visit Margaret’s website for further information, find her on Facebook or follow her on Twitter @amattauthor.

There’s more with these other bloggers too:

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