Today's 5 Q&A is with Lynn Brittney, author of Christine Kringle
1.) Who are you?
Well, I've been a professional writer for about thirty years *(gosh that makes me sound old!) but my career seems to have gone in definite phases. In my twenties I was a journalist; in my thirties I wrote about thirteen non-fiction books for both adults and children; in my forties I wrote plays for adults and children and, now, in my fifties, I write novels. I guess I can only spend about a decade in one particular genre before I have to move on! I still write plays (see www.schoolplaysandpantos.com) but, maybe, in my sixties, I'll try my hand at screenplays - who knows? Anyway, I wrote my first YA novel Nathan Fox: Dangerous Times (a historical spy thriller) when I hit fifty (it was cheaper than plastic surgery or a fast car) and Christine Kringle is my fourth novel to date.
2.) Where did the idea for Christine Kringle come from?
Oh I was depressed by the death of Christmas in the UK. Readers of the book may think that a town in England banning Christmas is far-fetched, but it isn't. Every year, for the past five years (at least) the Government and the local authorities have tried to eradicate Christmas as much as possible. It has started here again this year. National newspapers ran stories last week about nativity plays not being performed, even in faith schools; if they are performed, then wings have been banned on angels as they are a fire hazard (!! How we managed for a hundred years doing school nativity plays without any fatalities is a mystery to me); one town has banned Christmas lights from being strung across the street; several Santas have been told that they will not be insured if they don't have seat belts on their sleighs - and on and on. It's become so Bah! Humbug! in the UK that I felt moved to write something that would point out the stupidity of it all. And, also, writing Christine Kringle books is a) a way of putting myself in a Christmassy frame of mind and b) its a bit of light relief from my other books which are quite dramatic and require a lot of research.
3.) What is your favorite thing about Christmas?
My favourite thing about Christmasses past was the creativity of it all. When my son was small we would make lots of decorations and other bits of craft work for his school Christmas fair. It was all about the lead-up to Christmas really. The excitement of children and, of course, I was working as a drama teacher when my son was small and I was always doing the school nativity play. Now he is a man really (17) but my daughter, who is 11, and I manage to sew a few Christmas decorations, make cookies and do cakes etc. I am grimly determined to keep the spirit of Christmas endeavour alive! I expect that, even when I'm an old lady, I will still feel the need to make a Christmas pillow every year, or something.
4.) What are you asking Santa to leave under your tree?
I think that I am going to ask Santa to leave me a little commonsense and tranquility this year. I think I really over-extended myself in 2007. Nathan Fox was published in the UK in January 2007 and it was promptly nominated for the Waterstone's Prize, which was very exciting. A US publisher and German publisher bought the book and are releasing it next year. I wrote two other novels and decided to self-publish Christine Kringle, as well as adding some more plays to my catalogue for children. Add to that the emotional rollercoaster of family life (I have two teenagers - daily life is a drama!) and I feel a little exhausted now as I wind down to the end of the year. Of course, I find it difficult to stop writing (so many ideas - so little time) but I shall pace myself better next year. So, if Santa leaves me a nice little note saying "Thanks for the PR work on behalf of the Yule Dynasty, now put your feet up for a bit", I shall be more than pleased.
5.) What's next?
Well, Nathan Fox 1 comes out in the US and Germany; Nathan Fox 2 comes out in the UK in March; my agent is nagging me to finish Nathan Fox 3; and the many friends of Christine Kringle will be expecting a sequel. I have also, recently, re-acquired the rights of some of my adult plays from Samuel French and I am thinking of setting up an adult play website where amateur societies can purchase plays. I'm sure that somewhere in there I will finish another novel I have been working on. Oops! There I go again - we haven't got to 2008 and I'm already overbooked (no pun intended).
I would just like to say thank you to all the literary bloggers who have been so supportive of my books during 2007. I hope that I have thanked you all personally for the great reviews - if I haven't then it's a terrible oversight on my part. But I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and you can congratulate yourselves on doing such a wonderful job for the world of books.