Sleighed! is out on Kindle tomorrow (15th Dec), although the paperback is available a day early. It’s Christmas at Vik castle and crimes are afoot. Join Penny and the rest of Losers Club to find out who killed Santa Claus and stole the Christmas Star diamond. The strapline in my newsletter this month is “suspend everything except your imagination.”
I loved writing this book. It has been Mariah Carey time in our house since October, much to the disgust of my family and any passing dog walkers who have had the misfortune to hear my warbling. But there’s simply so much warmth in these characters, and in the mere fact of writing a Christmas story, that it’s impossible not to sing. Perhaps the hardest challenge of all was to mute Sergeant Wilson’s incessant swearing. In the spirit of Christmas, I was aiming for a little more cosiness and a few less eff words. However, that does not detract from the plot, and Sergeant Wilson still manages to be outrageously awful to everyone.
I have been writing non-stop since March, so on the day that the Angels Share was published, myself and Mr V took ourselves away for a dirty special weekend in a stately home hotel. By that time, I hadn’t written anything in five days, I’d caught up on all the telly and I was boooooored. I told Mr V, “I need a project. I quite fancy writing a Christmas story.”
On the way to the posh hotel, we made a detour to Barter Books in Alnwick (aka book heaven), where I got chatting to a lovely couple. One of the men waxed lyrical about Agatha Christie, and it reminded me of my own Agatha Christie phase (courtesy of Granny’s overflowing bookshelves) aged eighteen. Yes, I was probably a very dull teenager – reading was my drug of choice. This chance meeting, coupled with the fact that we were off to a stately home, sparked the idea of a murder mystery where everyone was trapped in Vik castle. I set myself a ridiculous timescale, roped in a (bloody marvellous) circle of friends to read the book as I was producing the chapters and started typing.
This blog-piece is perhaps pure self-indulgence because it’s the only place I can explain the fuzzy, Christmassy bonhomie I’m feeling now that the book is out there. I genuinely love the book, mainly because it has been so comforting to sink back into the world of Losers Club. I love my friends and family for giving me their time. The cover art by Paul Francis is so perfect. And, really, I’m basking in the euphoria of not having to do any more writing until January. Although I do have this idea for a book about a…
I hope everyone enjoys Sleighed! as much as I enjoyed writing it. All the best of the season to you. Cheers x