Today is an exciting day! I am joined by Caroline to chat about her new book and you can check out my review later today.
So Caroline, Can you tell us a little about you?
I live in a village near the Cheviot Hills in beautiful Northumberland. I enjoy writing heart-warming contemporary fiction about love, life, friends and family. I love cooking, eating out with friends, a cheeky glass of bubbly, reading, and going for walks in our gorgeous countryside or on the beach with my husband and our lively cocker spaniel, Jarvis.
Can you tell us about your new book?
‘Christmas at Rachel’s Pudding Pantry’ is the fabulously festive second instalment about life at Primrose Farm. The Swinton ladies have to overcome huge challenges after the death of Rachel’s father; trying to hold the farm together whilst turning their love of baking into a new venture with the, The Pudding Pantry tearooms. There’s also a wonderful love story that develops between Rachel and Tom, the neighbouring farmer, which doesn’t always run smooth.
Can you tell us about the characters in this book?
There are four generations of women who hold the farm and family together: feisty and wise Granny Ruth, baking queen Mum Jill, gorgeous little Maisy, and hardworking single-mum Rachel, who’s trying her best to turn the farm’s fortunes around while juggling family, friends and more. They support each other through the most difficult of times. There’s also gorgeous Tom, the next-door farmer, plus a host of friends and characters from the local community.
Who is your favourite?
I think it’d have to be Granny Ruth. She’s such a dear and wise old lady, with a sense of humour and great warmth about her. You feel you’d like to turn up at her cottage for a cup of tea and a slice of homemade lemon meringue pie or some crumble and have a chat. Whatever your worries, she’d help put them in perspective and you know you’d feel better instantly. I think we all need a Granny Ruth in our lives!
What was the hardest part of writing this book?
Getting the emotions right for the sensitive scenes; exploring grief and the hurt when a loved one has committed suicide is a difficult subject. I did some research online about families coping with suicide and asked local farmers about the hard times in farming. When you’ve not experienced something directly, as a writer you want to make sure you treat the issues with respect and as much understanding as you can.
Do you have a favourite scene from this book? What is it and why?
The nativity play antics with Petie, Maisy’s grown-up pet lamb. I could envisage it so well as I wrote it and it still makes me laugh every time I read it. The scene captures all that festive mayhem, and the charm of small children and school plays at Christmas time.
What is your favourite place to write?
I do have a writing room, converted from the small bedroom at home, which is a really good place for me to write focus-wise. But I do love writing where I can see and be inspired by the local scenery, making notes as I go. So, I love going out on research missions, looking at how the seasons change, what flowers or plants are growing in the hedgerows, the smells, the colours, the skies, and getting the detail and atmosphere right. Or, you might find me chatting with a local farmer in their farmhouse kitchen over a mug of tea.
Where do you get your character inspiration from?
They are a real mix up of the characteristics of friends, family, myself, strangers who I might observe out and about, research, an image in a magazine, someone I’ve seen on tv, all stirred up with a big pinch of my imagination.
What is your favourite book and why?
I haven’t got just one, there are so many fabulous books out there and there will always be more to discover, which is why reading is so wonderful. I do have several favourites, for example, ‘Wuthering Heights’ by Emily Bronte, ‘Birdsong’ by Sebastian Faulks, ‘The Kite Runner’ by Khaled Hosseini and Audrey Niffenegger’s ‘The Time Traveller’s Wife’.
Do you prefer chocolate or sweets?
Chocolate every time! Good quality truffles and dark chocolates are my favourites perhaps with a salted caramel centre, though I’m happy to partake in all varieties! Meeting a real chocolatier and learning how to make my own truffles was wonderful research for my Cosy Chocolate Shop books.
What is your favourite season?
I’d have to say Summer – long days, walks in the sunshine, eating al fresco. But Winter, and especially Christmas time, comes a close second – log fires, friends and family gathered together, the twinkling of fairy lights and the smell of a real pine tree. Good food, cosy, magical times.
What do you love about writing?
I love being able to create my own worlds and characters, bringing my imagination to life whilst exploring what it means to be human, showing the ups and downs, and observing our relationships with each other. We are all so varied, that’s what makes all the different characters interesting to write.
Do you have a favourite childhood/teen story/novel?
As a child, I loved ‘The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe’ by C. S. Lewis. The idea of going through a wardrobe to a magical, snowy world and all the adventures that followed totally captivated me.
You have a day off – no children/work/responsibilities…what do you do?
That would be so rare! I work part-time at our holiday park as well as being a writer, I have two grown-up children and I’ve recently become a Grandma which I’m loving, but it all keeps me very busy. My day would start with a walk along the beach or in the hills with the dog, a cosy pub lunch with my husband or close friends, followed by a glass of wine back at home, and then a long, bubbly bath with a book to hand. Bliss.Christmas at Rachel’s Pudding Pantry by Caroline Roberts
Also by this author: The Cosy Teashop in the Castle, The Cosy Christmas Teashop, The Cosy Christmas Chocolate Shop, Rachel’s Pudding Pantry
Also in this series: Rachel’s Pudding Pantry, Christmas at Rachel’s Pudding Pantry, Summer at Rachel’s Pudding Pantry
Published by One More Chapter Genres: Chicklit, Christmas, Contemporary, Humour, Love & Romance
Cosy up with the new novel in the Pudding Pantry series, full of love, laughter, kisses under the mistletoe, and plenty of delicious pudding!
The first snow is falling over Primrose Farm, the mince pies are warming, and Rachel can’t wait to share a kiss under the mistletoe with her gorgeous new flame, Tom.
If only it was all comfort and joy . . . The arrival of Tom’s ex brings an unwelcome chill to the farm. And despite Master Baker Mum Jill’s valiant efforts, the new pudding pantry business is feeling the pinch.
With a spoonful of festive spirit, a cupful of goodwill with friends, and her messy, wonderful family by her side, can Rachel make this a Christmas to remember?