Today I am thrilled to introduce you to Patsy Collins, a fellow "A Wish for Christmas" author. Patsy writes short stories and novels and lives with her husband in the south of England. We connected soon after we both were published on Alfie Dog. Thanks for stopping by, Patsy. Take it away!
1. Your story, "Granddad's Snowman," was included in Alfie Dog's holiday collection, "A Wish for Christmas." What was your inspiration for the story?
You've started with a hard one! I very rarely know precisely what inspired any of my stories. I'm sure my own grandad had something to do with this one though as I always have him in mind when writing about grandfathers. I was lucky to have him around until I was in my thirties so have lots of good memories associated with him.
He and my grandma lived close by on the family farm and I remember him gathering holly to bring indoors over Christmas and he'd get my brother and I to help choose the very best sprig to go on the pudding before we set it alight. We did of course make snowmen with him too.
2. What is your favorite holiday memory?
My childhood memories of Christmas involve a house full of people. My other grandmother and aunts and uncles all visited. We played daft games, sang carols (extremely badly) and exchanged gifts. I was the first grandchild, so you can imagine that I got made a real fuss of.
A huge meal would be cooked on the wood fired range. It included Brussels sprouts, roasted parsnips and potatoes grown on the farm and the pudding, made months previously and steeped in brandy, was served with cream from our cows. There'd be a turkey, joint of beef, bread and cranberry sauce as well as gravy. To go with that would be little sausages wrapped in bacon, sage and onion stuffing, baked onions and seasonal vegetables.
The pudding was a rich mix of dried fruits and nuts, treacle, butter, eggs, flour and spices. It would be brought flaming to the table. Once cut into slices we melted on a piece of brandy butter and aded cream, brandy sauce or ice cream. (Or in my dad's case all of them!)
The first Christmas with my husband was special too. We went away in our campervan, just the two of us. The cold weather was no problem to a pair of newlyweds.
3. Do you have any iron clad holiday traditions that your family insists on every year?
We always walk along the beach whilst dinner is cooking. Actually it's me who insists on that one. I also put out extra food for the birds as I like to see a robin on Christmas morning.
4. Reader's in the US think that England is the most Christmas-y place on earth, probably thanks to Charles Dickens. What would you like tell American readers about the holiday season in the UK?
Other than the snow, which doesn't usually fall until January, the Dickensian vision of Christmas isn't far off. That's because Dickens was writing about long established traditions. When I say long established I mean more than 2,000 years, as the winter solstice was celebrated long before Christianity. The Church cleverly incorporated the midwinter feast into its own calender, so people could continue to decorate their homes with greenery, eat rich food, sing and drink mead weather they stayed pagan or converted to the new religion.
We tend to be a bit cynical about Christmas over here and don't admit we like it until the last minute. Then we go overboard.
Btw, in England 'holiday season' is august – that's when the schools are off and many people take a vacation. Christmas isn't a holiday, it's just a few days off work, eating and drinking and getting together with family. A bit like your thanksgiving, I think?
5. Where can readers find more of your work?
There are links to my books on my blog. Patsy-collins.blogspot.com
If you'd like to read a scene about an English family Christmas you can find one in my romance, A Year and a Day.
Remember folks, "A Wish for Christmas," as well as some of Patsy's other works can be purchased on Amazon. For non-kindle users, Smashwords is a good option as well as going right to the source and downloading from Alfie Dog.
I'll have more interviews with "A Wish for Christmas" authors in the future, but in the meantime, to my US readers, please have a wonderful Thanksgiving.