I’m delighted to be taking part in the tour for Dreaming of Christmas by T A Williams.
Trevor is in my hot seat today and chatting to us about how his protagonist surprised him, which character he would like to be and lots more.
It’s the dream Christmas: snow, mountains… and, er, an ex-boyfriend. But can Zoe still find love in the Alps?
Dumped on Christmas Eve by her long-term boyfriend, it’s been a rough year for Zoe Lumsley. But then she gets an invitation she can’t refuse: an all expenses paid skiing holiday with old university friends.
The bad news: her ex, Grant, will be there with his new girlfriend. But so will her former flatmate Billy, the organiser, and in the meantime he’s done rather well for himself. As Christmas in the Alps approaches, it’ll be great to see the old gang. Some more than others…
Perfect for readers of Tilly Tenant, Holly Martin and Philippa Ashley, this is the perfect magical Christmas getaway from the bestselling T.A. Williams.
Welcome to Jera’s Jamboree.
Please summarise Dreaming of Christmas in 20 words or less.
A group of friends meet up ten years after university. Among them is Zoë and, awkwardly, so is her ex.
If you could choose to be one of your characters in your book who would you be?
I’d like to be Billy, the rich and successful host of the week in the snow. At university, Billy was a nerd – shy, scared of women and a bit of a loner. In the course of the next ten years he has made it big and, at the same time, has done his best to change his image but, as he admits to Zoë, it’s only a thin veneer. Underneath the revamped exterior and the trappings of success, the old shy Billy still lurks. I like this mixture in a man. So many heroes these days are brimming with self-confidence and totally sure of their good looks. Not all of us have that luxury and I suppose there’s a good bit of me in Billy because of his insecurity.
Was there anything about your protagonist that surprised you Trevor?
Yes, when I set out to write the part of the main protagonist, Zoë, I saw her as a fairly cynical, worldly-wise journalist who has been through a bad few months and is still struggling to come out the other side. What I hadn’t anticipated was the extent to which she was and is the agony aunt and shoulder to cry on of the whole group. This only emerged as I wrote the book and it endeared me to her far more than I had been expecting. She is the glue that holds the whole group together – and I wasn’t expecting that.
What scene did you enjoy writing the most?
Without spoiling the plot, there’s a scene in which Zoë is crouched behind a counter, observing different hotel bedroom doors along the corridor open and close as various characters emerge or disappear. It reminded me of one of the old farces I used to watch on the TV and brought a smile to my face.
Did you travel to any places as part of your research?
I always make a point of writing about places I know and have visited. Google Earth is great and the internet can provide all manner of information and pictures of places, but what it can’t provide is the atmosphere, the smells, the sounds, the feel of the place, things like how frozen snow under your boots creaks and squeaks as you step on it. My very first job after university was in the high Alps and I was able to draw upon the experience of those years when writing about life in the mountains. Little things like how cold on the bum chairlift seats can be or how snow manages to get into the weirdest places when you do a full head plant in a deep drift. Yes, the mention of ice in the underpants is drawn from uncomfortable personal experience.
Do you have a most creative time of day Trevor?
I’m a morning person. I get up pretty early and when I’m fired up, I can be at the computer by seven o’clock some days. Because of my dodgy back I have to force myself to keep getting up and walking around so that I don’t set solid! I’m not so good at night. I sometimes write in the evenings, but it’s rare. I usually read or watch cheesy sitcoms on the TV in the evening.
Do you have a favourite place you go to for inspiration or a favourite activity?
I have the good fortune to live in a little village in Devonshire. Most of my ideas come to me when I’m walking or cycling though the lanes. I don’t know whether it’s the peace and quiet or the pastoral scenery, but something seems to click out there.
Panster or plotter?
Pants all the way. I am very lucky to have an editor in Michael Bhaskar of Canelo who doesn’t insist on a detailed synopsis before I start writing. My previous publishers were much more prescriptive and I found that really tough. Although I start off with a definite setting, a definite main protagonist and a rough idea of how it’s going to end, my books always develop as they go along. This is especially true of the secondary characters. Inevitably these will pop up out of nowhere as I go along. I love the freedom this gives me and I reckon my books with this publisher are all the better for it.
Are there any tips you could share with new writers?
Never give up. It sounds obvious, but it’s vital. Even though I’ve now had fifteen books published, the first 20,000 words of a new book are always a challenge. And time and time again I reach a point, normally around the 50,000 word mark, when I seriously question whether it’s worth continuing. Writing a full length book is tough. Don’t let anybody tell you different. And once it’s written and you set out to find a publisher or agent, unless you’re very lucky, you will need all the stamina and resolve you can muster as the rejections start coming in. NEVER GIVE UP. Remember that.
Finally, can you share with us what you’re working on now?
I have just completed the first draft of Dreaming of Tuscany. I lived there for four years back in the mists of time and it’s an area I’ve always loved. My wife and I went back there this June just to remind ourselves what it’s like and I didn’t want to come back home again. This one is the story of a girl who finds herself hiding out in the midst of the Tuscan countryside. She’s a city girl and snakes, lizards, spiders and a big black dog are a shock to the system.
Thank you for being my guest today.
Wishing you success with all your writing projects.
T.A. Williams lives in Devon with his Italian wife. He was born in England of a Scottish mother and Welsh father. After a degree in modern languages at Nottingham University, he lived and worked in Switzerland, France and Italy, before returning to run one of the best-known language schools in the UK. He’s taught Arab princes, Brazilian beauty queens and Italian billionaires. He speaks a number of languages and has travelled extensively. He has eaten snake, still-alive fish, and alligator. A Spanish dog, a Russian bug and a Korean parasite have done their best to eat him in return. His hobby is long-distance cycling, but his passion is writing.
Connect with T A Williams
Don’t forget to check out the other hosts on tour.
Read all posts in the romance genre on Jera’s Jamboree.
Canelo on Jera’s Jamboree.
Snuggle with a book under a Parkview Creative blanket.