In The Chair 51

Merry Christmas, Nell Peters!

SantaToymakerChairHow would you describe your Christmas in only three words? 

Nell: Stressful. Expensive. Chaotic.

If you could have a relationship with a literary festive character who would it be and why?

Nell: The Christmas classic It’s A Wonderful Life was based on a short story, The Greatest Gift, by Philip Van Doren Stern. I would like to befriend Clarence Odbody, dob 1653, who was George Bailey’s guardian angel and learn more about him – when he’s not too busy showing George the error of his ways, of course. The year Clarence was born, the Taj Mahal was completed, Oliver Cromwell became Lord Protector of England, and New Amsterdam (later New York City) was established. What was Clarence’s life like then as a clockmaker? Where did he live; what did he do apart from make clocks; did he have a family; how did he die? And why did it take him two hundred plus years to earn his wings?

If you had to exist for a week in a Christmas story … which one would it be?

imagesNell: A Christmas Carol – can I be Scrooge? Because I like saying ‘bah humbug’.

Dead or alive literary Christmas lunch: who would you invite, and what would you serve? 

Nell: I suppose all the takeaways would be closed? In that case, I’d grit my teeth and serve what the family have on Christmas Day – turkey, gammon, pigs in blankets, roast potatoes and parsnips, Brussels, carrots, cinnamon swede, broccoli and all the usual sauces etc. I always buy at least one Christmas pudding, but generally we tend not to have that on the day, opting for something lighter – perhaps just mince pies with brandy butter and/or cream. To share this repast, I’d randomly invite P D James, Jean Jacques Rousseau (I wrote a thesis on him – complete nutter, so may provide the cabaret), Agatha Christie (I may have asked her last time), Karl Marx, Peter James, and any Accent author who will risk my cooking. Oh, and my friend Allison Pearson, as we are terminally bad at getting together.

If you had to write a Christmas themed story in your current genre, what would the title be?

Nell: Silent Fright.

What do you dislike the most about Christmas?

Nell: Where to start? I was in Tesco last Sunday (20th September) with a son, looking for BBQ coals – but the aisle where we expected to find that sort of thing was stacked high with chocolate Santas, those huge tins of sweeties that only seem to appear for Christmas, and other festive-type confectionaries. That’s a full three months before the great day! Though I don’t have a religious bone in my body, I really loathe the drawn-out commercialisation of what is essentially a spiritual celebration. As our four sons have grown up and found partners/had their own children we have evolved into a huge family. Typically from Christmas Eve onwards we have a house full of people for several days (knew we should have downsized when they all left!) Our anniversary is 23/12 (regularly forgotten!) and the youngest boy’s birthday 24/12, so it’s one whammy after another.
More than anything, I find Christmas to be a sad time. Despite my whinging, I do love having everyone around, but that happens at other times during the year as well – it’s mostly at Christmas, which is an emotive time anyway, that I really miss those who are no longer with us. And at Christmas, in a once-a-year attack of social conscience, I am also mindful of all the lonely people, the abused, the homeless and have-nots for whom the celebrations of others must inevitably reinforce awareness of their plight.

original_personalised-christmas-wine-boxFavourite festive word?

Nell: My favourite word for Christmas doesn’t change from the rest of the year: WINE (plenty of it, but not mulled.)

Nell Peters was in the Christmas chair.  Published by Accent Press.

Web: http://ow.ly/Tfitk

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13 thoughts on “In The Chair 51

  1. Made me laugh. Wine is a fab word which we should use more often. I would love to talk to Clarence too – he would be a bundle of fun and information I am sure. With my family spread to the four corners, who cannot be bothered to be in touch, I shall not be celebrating Christmas – not religious anyway, too much of that growing up and going to a Convent – so for me it is another day. I shall avoid the TV and do some serious writing. I love that you have a huge family get-together and all the trimmings – have a wonderful day and a fab family time Jan and Nell. Wishing you both the very best for 2016 too. Nell Happy birthday to you and your son as well. 🙂

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  2. Thanks for your knid words, Jane! Just Elliot’s birthday on 24/12 – I was rather more sensibly born mid-July, same day as Harrison Ford and Jenny Kane 🙂 Our 29th anniversary on 23/12, though – I’d have got less for murder!
    Wishing you the very best for 2016 too – will Ms Birdsong come out of hiding, so we can all meet her? Looking forward to that …

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    1. I love it. I get words round the wrong way all the time. Glad someone else does. Harrison Ford – my American sister-in-law’s favourite actor and she called her son after him. He is an actor now as well. 29 years how wonderful. Congratulations. In June it will be our 45th. Rock and roll survivors. I am looking forward to getting her (the devine Ms B) out as well. I was going great this year and wanted to complete her and get her to the publisher this year but with Only One Woman supposed to have been out at the same time, I hung back and concentrated on other stuff. Now OOW is coming out in Feb 2016, I shall aim for some time after then for Ms B. Trouble is, she has been a pain….so much research and re-writing as the story took on a life of its own, so if I’d known it was going to be published much later than planned I could have stuck with Ms B and got her out before. Typical eh! Still you have been busy and productive and that is so cool. I think I am a slow writer. I’d love to come to your dinner party too…such interesting people…and WINE. Yay!

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  3. I have already laid your place at the table, Jane – next to me, so that Karl Marx can’t snaffle all the wine. He has a bad rep for that! Come as you are (assuming you have clothes on!)

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