Merry Christmas, Caroline Dunford!
How would you describe your Christmas in only three words?
Caroline: Champagne, Children, Challenging…
If you could have a relationship with a literary festive character who would it be and why?
Caroline: I’m sure there was a bit about Mr Darcy at Christmas, wasn’t there? (Actually I’ve always thought that once wedded Mr Darcy would be difficult and grouchy to live with.) I can’t say I have a thing for men with white beards nor am I particularly interested in sitting down and discussing accounts with the charitably challenged. Did Conan Doyle ever do a Sherlock Holmes Christmas story – or can someone write one, please? I’ve loved Sherlock since I was a little girl.
If you had to exist for a week in a Christmas story … which one would it be? Caroline: Oh dear, I think I am showing my sad lack of knowledge of Christmas stories from the modern era. I can think of lots set in the past, but honestly if you like your creature comforts like staying warm and having enough to eat an awful lot of those Christmas stories are not where you want to spend time. I think I’ll cheat and go for a ballet – The Nutcracker. I’ve love to see everything coming to life on Christmas Eve.
Dead or alive literary Christmas lunch: who would you invite, and what would you serve?
Caroline: Steven Moffat (so I could get him so drunk he’d write me a promise I could write for Dr Who), Jane Austen (for wit and incisiveness), Conan Doyle (I bet he’d tell the best Christmas Eve ghost stories), Robertson Davies (the late, incredible Canadian novelist), Dorothy L Sayers (because Lord Peter Whimsy is wonderful). I’d also let my husband and children come too – because Christmas is about family.
I’m vegetarian so I’d be having some kind of dead plant loaf, but I never try to enforce my diet on anyone else, so there would also be turkey (free range), loads of veggies, particularly fine roast potatoes, my signature onion and red wine gravy, followed by profiteroles filled with cream and lavishly coated in chocolate sauce, followed by after dinner mints and a cheese board. There would be Champagne at the start, a good full bodied red for the main and cognac and fresh, black bitter coffee for afters.
Caroline: I’ve done two. They are both short stories, The Mistletoe Mystery and What the Dickens? I much prefer the second. If I were to write another I think I’d call it – ‘It will all be over by Christmas’. But then my series, The Euphemia Martins Mysteries,is shortly going to crash headfirst into WW1.
What do you dislike the most about Christmas?
Caroline: I love the build up to Christmas. Christmas Eve is my favourite time. I hate the moment Christmas is over – whether that feels like the moment I swallow my last mouthful of Christmas pudding or the end of the holidays with the kids going back to school. For me Christmas is all about the preparation, people embodying the season of goodwill (why not do this all the time?), the buying of gifts and of course the Christmas parties. I love sharing food and presents with the people I love on Christmas, but eventually it’s over and at that point the next Christmas is soooo far away and I hate that!
Favourite festive word? Caroline: Pudding!
Caroline Dunford was in the Christmas chair: Author of The Euphemia Martins Mystery Series.
Published by Accent Press