I am absolutely delighted to welcome Julia Williams to Me, My Books and I today.
Julia Williams has always made up stories. Until recently she thought that everyone else did too.
Julia was born in North London, one of eight children. She went to Liverpool University to study English where she met her husband, David. They live in Surrey with their four children.
Make a Christmas Wish is Julia’s ninth book.
Find out more:
Where did the idea for Make A Christmas Wish come from?
I had the idea to write about a ghost a long time ago – Livvy literally popped into my head fully formed, though all I knew at that stage was that she was ghost and VERY pissed off. I was thinking along the lines of Blithe Spirit by Noel Coward which features a dead wife who haunts her husband, but then I married it with Christmas so also drew on A Christmas Carol for Inspiration.
How do you decide on names for your characters?
With great difficulty sometimes! Livvy’s name came to me with her, but it took me a while to work out what to call Emily and Adam. Once I’ve fixed on names though, the characters start to really come alive for me.
Which of your characters would you like to meet in person and why?
I’d like to meet Livvy who would be your nightmare but fun friend on a night out. And Adam is essentially very kind, so I’d enjoy his company too. Emily probably wouldn’t be as much fun as Livvy but a tad more reliable! I’d also LOVE to meet Malachi, and the ghosts in Underworld.
What do you hope readers will learn from Make A Christmas Wish?
I’m not a big fan of fiction which aims to teach a lesson, but if anything I hope readers come away with the idea that you should cherish those you love.
There are always lots of Christmas books to read at this time of year, what makes Make A Christmas Wish stand out from the crowd?
It is difficult to be different in a very crowded marketplace, with so many talented writers out there, but I hope MACW offers something a little bit different. I’ve tried to make it both funny and sad, and I hope it draws on some basic truths about human nature. Though it’s a love story it’s not a straightfoward one.
Do you follow a plan when you are writing or do you let the story guide you?
I always have a plan! If I try to write without one it’s hopeless and I meander all over the place. I might not necessarily STICK to the plan though! And in the case of this book, my wonderful editor, Eli spotted lots of flaws with the original version, and made me work very hard till it was as good as it could be.
Do you think your writing style has changed since your first book?
Yes, I think it probably has. I try to write about more complex things now, and with each book I learn a little more.
Do you read reviews of your books? If so, do you let them influence your writing?
Yes I do, and no I don’t. If you listen to too many voices it can send you a bit nutty! And you’re not going to please everyone. I accept that not everyone will like my books, and that is fine so long as some people do! I always rely on the judgement first of my twin sister who reads the early versions, and then my editor, who is very very good at spotting things that aren’t working.
Pen or pencil?
Pen. And I write all my first drafts by hand.
Snow or sun?
THAT is unfair, I love both. But I think snow has the edge if I don’t have to go anywhere! Where I live in Epsom sometimes gets unusually heavy snow showers, and we had one year where the trains weren’t working, the roads were blocked so no one could go to work or school. So we had a mini holiday in February and it was fab!
Sounds wonderful (I love snow)! Any last words for your readers?
Thank you for reading the book! Without you I’d be a mad old crone sitting in an attic writing stories for herself. I hope you enjoy Make a Christmas Wish and wish you and yours a wonderful Christmas.
Thank you so much for answering my questions Julia, it was a pleasure to have you on my blog. I particularly enjoyed reading about the characters you’d like to meet!
Now check out the book:
Publication Date: 1 October 2015
“Last Christmas, when Livvy was knocked down in the supermarket car park she certainly wasn’t ready to actually be dead! For months now she’s floated on the edge of the afterlife, generally making a nuisance of herself.
And she’s not ready to go just yet! She’s furious about the new woman in her husband’s life and she’s worried about her beloved son who doesn’t seem to be adjusting to life without her at all.
This Christmas, Livvy is given one last magical chance to make everything right. Will she take it and give her family the perfect Christmas?”