Today I’m welcoming Hannah Pearl back to my blog to talk about her new Christmas release.
Hannah was born in East London. She is married with two children and now lives in Cambridge.
She has previously worked as a Criminology researcher, as a Development Worker with various charities and even pulled a few pints in her time.
In 2015 Hannah was struck down by Labrynthitis, which left her feeling dizzy and virtually housebound. She has since been diagnosed with ME. Reading has allowed Hannah to escape from the reality of feeling ill. She read upwards of three hundred books during the first year of her illness. When her burgeoning eReader addiction grew to be too expensive, she decided to have a go at writing. In 2017 she won Simon and Schuster’s Books and the City #heatseeker short story competition, in partnership with Heat magazine, for her short story “The Last Good Day”, which led to her signing with Ruby Fiction, Choc Lit’s “sister” imprint and Mistletoe and Mayhem at the Little Shopping Mall is Hannah’s seventh book with them.
Count down to Christmas with mistletoe, mayhem, meddling friends and mystery men …
There’s a saying about all work and no play – but there’s never a dull moment for Caroline working at Holly Walk Mall, especially at Christmas. When she’s not dealing with orders from Ian, ‘the manager who can’t manage’ as her friend Rachel puts it, she’s overseeing the usual late-night shopping sessions, Santa’s grotto construction and, most importantly, the sampling of many delicious festive treats at the Italian café her friends Nina and Marco own.
But when a new jewellery shop moves in and brings ‘mysterious guy with the cute bottom’ to Holly Walk, Caro isn’t yet aware just how much mayhem she’s in for in the countdown to Christmas. With strategically placed mistletoe, revealing cowboy outfits and even a bit of sleuthing, could this festive season turn out to be the liveliest yet for both Caro and her beloved Mall?
Hannah, how lovely to see you here again, with your second book this year. And this one very different to the last. ‘Mistletoe and Mayhem at the Little Shopping Mall’ as the name suggests is set in a shopping centre getting ready for Christmas. Where did you get this idea from?
I’m not sure, maybe it’s the frustrated shopper in me that used to love wandering around to find interesting gifts for people. I really miss that as I have to do most of my shopping online these days due to my health. My daughter now has the same love of gift buying though and often finds something really unique and thoughtful, which is great. I think mostly after the last few years I just wanted to write a funny, uplifting story, and so this seemed to be just the setting.
I don’t think it’s a spoiler to say that Marco and Nina have an amazing café and it’s Cara’s go to place for coffee and all manner of treats from ice cream sundaes to fabulous cookies. You had me at the glass of hot chocolate, loaded with cream and marshmallows, with a brownie on top, topped off with chocolate sauce and a flake. If you were to create your own signature treat, what would it be?
Even as I was writing it I wondered whether I’d ever actually brave a creation like that in real life! I’m not sure I could handle all the sugar without crashing! If I could have all of the elements separately over a few days… I have found a brownie recipe that I really like on the BBC site so when I can bake (or when I can persuade one of my kids to help) then that is a firm favourite.
And then we meet Damian, too gorgeous for words, so I knew this was just going to be a great book. But you’re not always kind to him, are you?
He does end up in a variety of costumes, most of which he would likely never choose for himself, but secretly I think he likes it, otherwise he wouldn’t be quite so quick to keep going back!
Cara or Caroline works in the Holly Walk mall and is in charge of sorting out late night shopping evening events for the run up to Christmas. Damian, I don’t think it’s too much of a spoiler to say has to dress up in very odd costumes. If you were invited to a fancy dress party, what would you go as and why?
The last time I went out to a fancy dress party I went as Deanna Troi from Star Trek: The Next Generation. It was a fab evening, though usually I’m more likely to be found curled up on my sofa with a blanket in the winter.
We’re coming up to Christmas, well there’s less than one hundred days to go, so you’re late-night shopping for last minute Christmas presents for your family in the Holly Walk Mall, you have a Christmas list, wish shops would you head for, what would you buy for family members and why?
I’d got to Mike’s sports shop to buy gifts for my brothers and my husband. I’d buy nice smellies for my daughter (and myself!) from Izzy and art supplies for both of my kids from Martha. I’d buy some really nice food from Marco and Nina for my parents, and I’d avoid the jewellery shop altogether!
Secret Santa – no limit on amount, you’ve been given a present, what would you hope it contains?
I’m really lucky to have a very big family, and so I usually try to start shopping early to make sure I get everyone sorted. I used to organise a Secret Santa for about thirty of us, which was always a bit of a juggle but brilliant. I’m really hoping we can all start getting together again before too long. My little brother is a master Secret Santa gift creator but I always get requests for people who want one relative to get them in the draw as she makes such lovely knitted hats.
For my dream gift, I’d be thrilled with chocolate or wine, but it’s always lovely to get something that you didn’t know you wanted until you open it.
And final Christmas question, tell us what does Christmas in the Pearl household have in store this year?
I have no idea! I’m hoping we’ll be able to see lots of family again. It’s so special to have time together and we really missed that during the lockdowns, though we understood why it was so important to stick to the rules. I’m just so relieved that we’ll all be vaccinated so hopefully a bit safer to get together again now.
Thank you for coming on my blog Hannah, and good luck with the book and can I be the first to wish you a very happy Christmas and New Year.
Thank you Anni, and thanks very much for hosting me on your blog x