I am delighted today to being talking to Juliet Archer about her fabulous new book – Hope, Mistletoe and a Christmas Promise.
Hi Juliet, thanking you for dropping into my blog to talk about your fabulous new book, Hope, Mistletoe and a Christmas Promise.
Juliet writes award-winning romantic comedy for Choc Lit and Ruby Fiction. She has been known to spend many happy hours matching irresistible heroes with their equally irresistible chocolate counterparts and says, ‘Watch out for the dark nutty ones!’.
When a Christmas promise becomes hard to keep …
Pip Smith knows she owes it to her family to hold on to the festive traditions that have been a comfort since the year everything changed – but this Christmas she’s going to need a miracle to keep everyone in her life happy.
After she’s dumped by her fiancé, an invitation to visit a friend in Hong Kong in the run-up to the festive season seems to offer Pip the perfect escape – and she’ll be home for Christmas, of course. Except her escape ends up becoming far more complex than she intended, when she becomes involved with arrogant American Ryan Hawke and his niece, Shelby – a little girl whose most heartfelt Christmas wish is for a proper family.
Will Pip keep her Christmas promise – or will it be more of a compromise, with the help of a little hope and mistletoe?
I don’t think it’s a spoiler alert to say this book is set in Hong Kong, it’s clearly a great setting and feels like somewhere you know well – tell me about your relationship with the country.
I’ve known Hong Kong ‘second hand’ for a long time, through my husband and his family. They spent eleven years there and, based on their stories and memories, it seemed such a wonderful place. Others think so too – the kids who grew up in the same area of Kowloon now organise an annual get-together in the UK. I’ve become a sort of honorary member!
Then, at last, I saw Hong Kong for myself during two visits with my husband and his sister in 2018 and 2019. We stayed in the Harbour Grand Kowloon Hotel, because that was built where they used to live. Naturally, I chose that hotel as the ideal holiday location for the heroine of my book!
Pip is going to Hong Kong for a two-week holiday. Where would you most like to visit for a two-week holiday (and why) assuming travel restrictions and money was no object?
When we were in Hong Kong, I used to gaze out of the hotel window at the South China Sea and imagine sailing off into the sunset. As I’d also like to try a cruise holiday, I could combine both of these dreams and go on a luxury cruise in the Far East with my husband. I’m just not sure two weeks would be long enough!
Ryan also does quite a lot of travelling, so – Pip or Ryan, which one of them is better at packing suitcases?
What a great question! It’d have to be Ryan: he does more travelling than Pip, and – as it’s mainly on business – probably has less to pack. He also knows how to cope with the climate – whereas Pip doesn’t even pack a sun hat.
I always manage to forget one thing whenever I travel anywhere, never anything crucial, but just really annoying not to have, what are you most likely to forget?
I have been known to forget an entire suitcase! I was so focused on getting other family members out of the door for a weekend trip that I left our case behind – thinking that my husband had put it in the car … Cue an unplanned shopping spree once we arrived at our destination!
Shelby refers to Ryan as Uncle Lion, as a child did you ever give an adult a nickname and why?
I had to consult my eldest sister on this one. She couldn’t remember me having any nicknames for adults, but apparently I did talk about a couple of imaginary friends at the bottom of our garden, Winky and Orly. I’ve no idea where they came from and I haven’t seen them since!
Ryan listens to jazz to relax, what music would you choose to help you relax? Can you listen to music while you’re writing?
I often listen to music to get me in the mood for writing a particular scene, but I can’t listen to anything while I’m actually writing – too much competition for the voices in my head, maybe?
As for music that helps me to relax, there’s lots to choose from: Adele, Diana Krall, Dire Straits, Enya, George Michael, Queen, Wham! – anything I can squawk along to. I also like classical music, particularly Chopin, Fauré and Rachmaninov.
Pip’s mum is all for keeping Christmas traditions going – tell me about Christmas traditions in the Archer household.
We have very traditional traditions, like leaving food and drink out for Santa and his reindeer, pulling crackers, playing silly games with various degrees of humiliation on offer. Surprisingly, we don’t tend to have turkey for Christmas dinner – but we ALWAYS have a Christmas pud!
Christmas decorations – are yours up yet? Do you stick to inside decorations, or will the whole street be stopping to marvel at your winter wonderland?
Inside only, I’m afraid – and a bit last-minute. We usually buy a real tree, although I keep meaning to buy an artificial one as back-up. The decorations remain largely the same year in, year out, and carry lots of memories!
Brussels sprouts – this Christmas might be the first year Shelby encounters them, how would you manage her expectations?
Think ‘fairy cabbages’, Shelby – and enjoy!
Best cracker joke ever?
What do you get when you cross a snowman with a vampire? Frostbite.
Tell me about your journey to publication, I know you are an award-winning author, how did that come about?
I’m a big Jane Austen fan and she inspired my early writing. I read that she never wrote a scene without a woman present – so I decided to feature the male point of view in my updates of Emma and Persuasion. At around the same time, Choc Lit was created to help unrepresented authors on the road to publication. They were looking for romantic fiction featuring the hero’s point of view and I was thrilled to be their first published author.
My first book, The Importance of Being Emma, was lucky enough to be shortlisted for the 2009 Melissa Nathan for Comedy Romance, and to win the Big Red Read Book of the Year 2011 Fiction Award.
Since then Choc Lit and Ruby Fiction have gone from strength to strength, and I’m proud to be part of their lovely family!
I always want to know when I finish a book by an author I enjoy, what’s next. So what are you working on now?
The long-promised sequel to One Summer Weekend, which will be Book 3 about the Smith Family. This time the focus will be on Jack …
Thank you for stopping by today, Juliet. Good luck with your new book and have a lovely Christmas and a very Happy New Year.
It’s been lovely being on your blog, Anni. Thank you so much for having me – and Happy Christmas to you and all your readers!
And here are the book links, you can find Juliet’s books here:
Choc Lit Website: Hope, Mistletoe and a Christmas Promise (choc-lit.com