Author interview with Ellen Faith

And what better way to kick off my favourite month than sharing my interview with the fabulous Ellen Faith? We're talking being a writer, her latest release Home for the Holidays, and of course Christmas, so without further ado, let's get started! 

B ~ Ellen, you've written and published not just one novel but two novels, the first being 'The Story of Us' and the second being your latest release 'Home for the Holidays'. I adored both, particularly 'Home for the Holidays' because I am a complete Christmas maniac. I understand this is a difficult question but, if you had to choose between the two, which one would you say you enjoyed writing the most? 

E ~ Ooo, this IS a tough one! I loved writing 'The Story of Us', it was my debut novel set in a place that holds my heart and will always be my baby, but writing 'Home for the Holidays' was like visiting old friends. I loved being able to fall back into writing about Lexi, Rosie and Ryan, it was so easy to get into that mind-set again and to bring Christmas - along with other members of their family - into the mix, was brilliant. 'Home for the Holidays' was an absolute joy to write and I hope that shows when people read it. 

B ~ Ellen, when would you say you first realised you wanted to be a writer? Was there anything in particular that triggered it off, or has it always been something that you've loved to do?

E ~ I've always lived in my own little world, always had my nose stuck in a book or being mesmerised by the theatre and I think it's stemmed from that side of me really. To be able to pull someone into another world and give them that escape from reality is something that I've always thought would be amazing to be able to do. I think something finally clicked in me a couple of years ago when I started to read more and more chick-lit and just wanted to try and write something I'd enjoy reading myself. 

B ~ Do you have a strict writing routine? Where do you normally jot your ideas down? Is there a particular place you go when you want to write?

E ~ I am the worst for routine. Seriously, there are times I need a rocket up my backside because I get distracted with other things and although I am always making notes, pinning inspirational bits on Pinterest, sometimes I can go a while in between writing stints. I've had to buy myself a dedicated notepad for all of my ideas so that I don't lose track and have started to plot a couple of new books, this way when I sit down to write, I know exactly what I'm doing and can spend an hour or more curled up on my sofa just writing. 

B ~ In 'Home for the Holidays', Christmas is upon Lexi and the gang. Did you have to do anything specific to get yourself into the festive mood whilst writing? Are you a fan of Christmas, or do you prefer the warm, breezy summer months? 

E ~ I can honestly say that writing this book was very surreal because I was planning Christmas for the gang in summer! I had Now That's What I Call Christmas on a few times (which I'm sure is supposed to be bad luck) and again, truly trust Pinterest came to the rescue to help me get into the spirit. I do love Christmas but if we could just have it in July maybe, then it would be perfect. I really wasn't built for the cold weather! ;)

B ~ Ellen, do you think you could describe your perfect Christmas to me? I'm saying you have infinite funds, so go crazy!

E ~ Oh wow, infinite funds? Really? I'm pretty excited now! WELL, I'd have to go shopping, obviously, and would love to plan a special trip to London to buy family and friends whatever they wanted, it would be rude not to. I'd go visit Selfridges window display, see the lights and maybe visit OXO for a post-Christmas shopping meal. I'd buy the biggest tree that I could fit in my house, colour co-ordinate it like the crazy lady that I am and then decide where I would take everybody for Christmas day lunch, because when you have infinite funds, why stay at home? 

Come Boxing Day, when the holiday slump hit, I'd let everybody know that we were flying to the Bahamas to escape the cold weather and see the New Year in in style. Or New York, that would be a tough call, it would depend how cold I'd felt over the holiday period haha. 

B ~ Are there any of your characters that you desperately hoped your readers would like? I mean, as the author, they're all like your babies, but any favourites? 

E ~ I really wanted readers to love Lexi and to be behind her 100% with the decisions she made and the things she did, to laugh and cry with her or for her. I think Rosie and Ryan were the two I really wanted people to love. Rosie is her best friend, she kicks her ass when Lexi needs it most, and Ryan, well, it could have gone either way after The Story of Us. 

B ~ What inspired you to write ‘Home for the Holidays’? It’s so gorgeously festive, with the added mix of Lexi meeting Ryan’s parents for the first time, and a very hormonal pregnant Rosie! What was you hoping to achieve by basing it mostly around Lexi and Ryan’s family?
E ~ A lot of people that had read The Story of Us asked whether there would be more coming from Lexi, so I knew I wanted to bring her back but wanted to make it worthwhile, I didn't want it to seem like I'd brought her back for the sake of it. Christmas seemed like the perfect time of year to do it and by incorporating Christmas, I knew that I could show the readers more of their pasts. You learn more about Ryan, his childhood, that he has a sister, and with Lexi, you learn more about her parents and her friendship with Rosie, Luke and Jason. I wanted readers to get a glimpse into their pasts and hopefully, Home for The Holidays did just that.

B ~ Reading about Lexi and the gang feels like coming home to a circle of close friends, or ever family. Was it difficult trying to form the bonds and relationships between them all?

E ~ It was difficult trying to make their friendship with Luke plausible. Luke has changed considerably over the years but as with any strong friendship, no matter how much a person changes, part of you still doesn't want to give up on what you had. I wanted that to come across while staying true to their characters. It felt so easy with Rosie and Lexi, and even Lexi and Jason to a degree, he was like her older brother, but Luke could seem uncaring at times.

B ~ During ‘Home for the Holidays’, Lexi meets Ryan’s father, who just happens to enjoy letting it all hang loose! I actually laughed out loud at this part, I couldn’t believe it! Do you think, as the author, that it was crucial to make the reader laugh as well as coo and smile?

E ~ That's something I love to do! Knowing you've made someone laugh is the best feeling in the world, and even though we all have different senses of humour, I hope that people do find something to giggle at at some point in the book. I think that if you can balance out the romance factor with some humour, you can get away with the mushy bits a bit more and it doesn't make people want to reach for a bucket!
B ~ Are any of the events that take place within ‘Home for the Holidays’ from your own experience? If so, which ones?

E ~ Haha well now, that would be telling ;) I can tell you that I do get a lot of inspiration from my life, friends and family.  Rosie and the Christmas tree though....totally happened. Not to me though so shhhh, it has to be our secret.

B ~ When it comes to writing Ellen, which part of the process do you find the most challenging?

E ~ Sometimes you can have a scene in your head that you know just has to happen, but when that scene is further on in the book than where you currently are, that can be tough. That's another reason I've started to plot properly with a pen and paper, it helps to connect the dots sometimes

B ~ Your main character Lexi is absolutely beautiful, inside and out. I found it so easy to relate to her throughout reading! Would you say that there are any similarities or differences between yourself and the character of Lexi?

E ~ It's funny you say that, a friend has recently started to read The Story of Us and said that it felt like she was reading about me! I don't think I'm half as brave as Lexi, but again, unfortunately a lot of the things in that book are things that have happened to me - the shame. I'd like to think that I'm as genuine and loyal as Lexi though, I certainly have her ditzy side!

B ~ Could you tell us what you’re working on next, Ellen? Or is it a secret? If so, could we have just a teensy, tiny hint? Pretty please? ;)

E ~ There will hopefully be three new books next year, if all goes according to plan. You'll get to meet some brand new characters that I hope you'll all love and maybe, just maybe, see some familiar faces too. My aim is to have my next book, Dear Darling, out February/March time and that's a Becca's Books exclusive right there :-)

B ~ Now, onto the Christmas questions! What usually happens in your own home during Christmas morning? Describe it for us!

E ~ Now that I'm older, Christmas morning tends to be more about having a relaxing morning, opening some presents in our PJs and making/receiving telephone calls from family. Then comes my favourite part, dinner! We usually go out for Christmas dinner and I can't wait this year as we're going to the venue where I'll be getting married next year. Eeeeep. Later on, we'll probably go to my future in-laws, eat more pickled onions and Celebrations than is necessary and catch up on the days events.

B ~ What’s your favourite part of Christmas dinner, and what’s your least favourite part?

E ~ I really hope we're talking food here or I'll look very silly indeed haha my favourite bits are stuffing and those little chipolata sausages, isn't that weird? And dessert, obviously. Least favourite, probably the mince pies, Christmas pudding or any other dried fruit concoction. And sprouts. Ugh.

B ~ What sort of present un-wrapper are you? Do you like to neatly tear the paper away, or are you more of the destroying the wrapping paper kinda’ person?
E ~ Oh I'm a ripper, I find an opening and wham, it's like a seek and destroy mission. I'm a mean present wrapper though and cover every gap I can find with cellotape, just so I can giggle to myself when the recipient tries to get in.

B ~ Could you tell us what the best Christmas present you ever received was?

E ~ I honestly couldn't tell you. I'm so lucky every single year with the presents I get so couldn't possibly pick one :)

B ~ Do you enjoy Christmas shopping?
E ~ I enjoy experiencing the shops at Christmas but the shopping itself fills me with dread. Not only do I worry about what to get people, then comes the horrific task of fighting through the crowds and queuing to pay. Online is the future.

B ~ What goes on the top of your Christmas tree?

E ~ Last year was a star, but when I was younger we had an old angel that would go on every single year, as far back as I can remember. I'm not sure what we'll put on this year as it's a new tree in a new house so we have to go get the new decorations soon.

B ~ And lastly, what will you be wishing for this Christmas?
E ~ A happy, healthy New Year. As much as I'd like Santa to bring me a Michael Kors watch or a bottle of Chanel No5, recently I've come to realise that material items are nothing without your health.

~ Author Bio ~

Yorkshire girl, born and bred.

Lover of cake, eater of cake and maker of cake. I really do love cake. 

When I'm not face down in a piece of cake, I'm normally reading, writing or looking for lolcat images. I'm a sucker for those little things, don't judge me too harshly will you? 

Ellen Faith can be found on Twitter & Facebook
Ellen's debut novel The Story of Us can be found on GoodreadsAmazon UK & Amazon US
Ellen's second novel Home for the Holidays can be found on GoodreadsAmazon UK &Amazon US

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