Publication day interview with Maxine Morrey

Today on Becca's Books, I'm absolutely delighted to be welcoming Carina author & Carina Christmas writing competition winner Maxine Morrey to the blog! Not only are we chatting all things writing, books and 'Winter's Fairytale', but today also sees the publication of Maxine's debut Christmas release, so MASSIVE CONGRATULATIONS are in order! Happy, happy publication day, Maxine!

Maxine, how did the idea for Winter’s Fairytale come about? Was there anything in particular that inspired you?
Honestly, I’ve no idea where the seed of the idea originally came from – I have quite a random brain and all sorts of odd things pop in! For some reason I had the desire to write a scene where the bride bops the Best Man on the nose. I’m really not the violent type, so don’t ask me why that even occurred to me! And then I got to thinking – being left at the altar is awful enough, but what if your job revolved around weddings…It just went from there really.

Winter’s Fairytale is a beautiful title that summons all manner of glittery, festive fantasies (at least for me anyway). Tell us, do you believe in fairytales?
Wow. Tricky question. There’s a lot going on in the world to suggest that there’s no such thing but I think they can still happen. I’d like to hope so anyway.

In Winter’s Fairytale, we’re introduced to Izzy and Rob. Can you tell us a little bit more about your leading lady and man?
Of course! I’d be happy to. Izzy is a talented bridal designer with a studio in London. She works hard, loves her friends and family and is sweet and caring – but not in a soppy way. She can definitely give as good as she gets when she needs to. She’s also got a real penchant for sky high heels!

Rob is definitely one of the good guys. He’s an ex-soldier from a very close family. His nature is to want to protect those he cares about. He has a younger sister whom he adores and the fact that something happened to her in the past, something he couldn’t fix, still gets to him. He can be a little stubborn – like most of us – but he’d do anything for the people he loves.

Maxine, you were the winner of the Carina UK #WriteChristmas competition. How did it feel to be told that you’d won?
Surreal. Amazing. Unbelievable. I was actually in hospital having just had surgery when I found out so I was sort of hoping it wasn’t just the drugs making me hallucinate!

How did you announce the news to your nearest and dearest?
I had to ring my husband to let him know what time I could come home from hospital so I told him then. I thought about waiting until he got there – but that didn’t last very long! Carina announced it the next day on Twitter so I took a screenshot of that and emailed it to another couple of people. I got a really lovely text back from some close friends telling me that they were currently dancing round their kitchen in excitement!

Now that your debut is published, what are you working on next?
That would be Book 2! A summer theme this time – just as we settle into long, dark nights and cold temperatures!

How long did it take you to completely finish writing Winter’s Fairytale?
I have to admit that when Victoria from Carina phoned to tell me I’d won, I’d only actually completed about four chapters! Having done the chapters for the competition, and loved writing them, I really wanted to continue but I’d decided to try for the SYTYCW15 competition, so I thought I’d get that done, then go back to Izzy and Rob when I was finished. As it was, my plans changed somewhat.
Victoria rang on the 13th August and the deadline was the 14th September. I ended up handing in the manuscript a couple of days early but it was definitely a full on month! I wrote most days, and tried to get a few thousand words done every day. I’ll admit to having a bit of a fried brain for most of that month! But, at the same time, it was actually an amazing experience because I was totally immersed in the story pretty much all day, every day!

On those days when you find it tricky to find motivation, what do you usually find helps move you along?
I’ve always found deadlines and panic to be pretty strong motivators!

Are you a planner, or do you like to see where your story takes you?
Argh, definitely not a planner! I’m not good at planning at all! I often have no idea where things are going until a character does something and I think ‘Oh, ok, I wasn’t expecting that but I like it!

What is your favourite writing accompaniment?
Just plain hot water – I usually have it in a flask to save keep getting up and down every five minutes, and just refill it over the day. (I’m a kidney short so I have to drink a lot to keep the other one happy.)

On a non-writing day, where would we usually find you?
Probably catching up with all the chores that got ignored whilst I had my head stuck in my writing! If my husband’s got a day off, we do try and get out for a wander around somewhere, just to change the scenery – and get tea and cake of course!

With Christmas fast approaching, and your fabulous festive title now out there in the world, let’s talk Christmas. When do you usually get the Christmas tree up?
Early December usually.

Is there a ‘knack’ to the way you decorate or not?
No, not at all. We actually don’t have tonnes of decorations – and our tree is a pre-lit one that you just plug in and it starts twinkling. No decoration necessary! It’s perfect for me! I realised years ago that I was a bit rubbish at decorating trees so we got this one and I love it. It’s getting quite old now and is well travelled so every year I’m always nervous that it might not work!

What is Christmas morning usually like for you?
Lazy, ideally!

What’s the worst and best present you ever received?
I was thoroughly spoiled with a Magimix years ago. It was a complete surprise and I still absolutely love it, and use the heck out of it!

I really can’t think of a worst present. The fact that someone’s gone to the effort at all is always lovely. Having said that, I did get an ironing board for my birthday many years ago – I can’t say I was terribly ecstatic about that! Ha ha!

Who prepares the Christmas dinner?
It totally depends on what’s happening. Last year we had it at our house so it was us – with some help from some supermarket pre-prepped veggies!

Do you have a favourite Christmas song?
I love ‘All I want for Christmas is you’, especially as it’s in ‘Love Actually’, but I also really like ‘Christmas (Baby please come home)’. Gah! Can I have two please?!

What about a favourite Christmas movie?
It has to be ‘Love Actually’.

What makes Christmas magical for you?
Just the chance to relax, with no particular agenda, and spend time with people you love.

Do you have any favourite Christmas books?
‘The Christmas Mystery’ by Jostein Gaarder is one I go back to time and again. It’s such a beautiful little book and very far removed from the commercialism that can surround us today. I’ve also got a big pile of the latest Christmas releases on my Kindle which I’m planning to start when December arrives so I’m pretty sure I’m going to find a few more favourites there.

Lastly, how will you be celebrating your own Christmas book release?!
There’s a bottle of fizz sitting here with my name on it – and a straw! So that’s Tuesday taken care of! I’m in London for a museum lecture a couple of days later so we’ve now arranged to go for a bit of a posh lunch in celebration whilst we’re in Town. Thoroughly excited!

Maxine, thank you so much for visiting Becca’s Books today! It’s been a complete pleasure chatting to you, & I hope you enjoy your special day!

Read on to find out more about Maxine Morrey's Christmas release 'Winter's Fairytale'!

Step into a winter wonderland and fall in love in the snow this Christmas…

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow…
A few weeks before Christmas and a sudden blanketing of snow has closed the roads and brought public transport grinding to a halt, stranding Izzy miles from home and in desperate need of rescuing.
That doesn’t mean she’s looking to bump into Rob and spend a cosy weekend holed up in his swanky flat watching London become a winter wonderland! Because Izzy and Rob have history…
Six months ago, they were standing in the vestry of a beautiful country church, while best man Rob delivered the news that every bride dreads on their big day.
But at the time of year when anything is possible, can Rob and Izzy let go of the past and let Christmas work its magic? Or will this be one holiday wish that Izzy lets walk right out of her life…

Maxine has wanted to be a writer for as long as she can remember and wrote her first (very short) book for school when she was ten. Coming in first she won a handful of book tokens - perfect for a bookworm! 

As years went by, she continued to write, but 'normal' work often got in the way. Finally, she really decided to go for it, and wrote. Really wrote. And after a while she had a bunch of articles, and a non fiction book to her name. But her real love is writing novels and the magical escapism it affords - for both writer and reader. After self publishing her first novel when a contract fell through as the publishers succumbed to the recession, she continued to look for opportunities. 

In August 2015, she won Carina UK's 'Write Christmas' competition. Her first romantic comedy from HarperCollins (Carina UK) 'Winter's Fairytale' is due out in November and is available for pre order now. 

Maxine lives in Sussex, England with her husband and when not wrangling with words, can be found adding to her To Be Read pile, sewing, walking and wondering when they are going to invent a robot for ironing.

You can find Maxine Morrey on Facebook | Twitter |
You can find Winter's Fairytale on -


  1. Oooo I'm excited to read this. I have it on my Kindle so might have to make it my next read! Great Q&A :) and happy publication day, Maxine!

    1. Thank you so much! I really hope you enjoy it!

  2. What a fab interview! And I love the sound of this book, definitely my kind of read :)

    Happy Publication Day Maxine!

    1. Hi Kate! Thanks so much! I'm so glad you enjoyed the interview, and that you like the sound of the book. I really hope you enjoy it if you choose to get it! x

  3. Thanks so much for having me on the blog, Becca! It was great fun! xx