Hi, Phillipa. Please tell me about your latest book.
Christmas in Cornwall is just around the corner…
But after last Christmas revealed a shocking family secret, Scarlett’s hardly feeling merry and bright. All she wants this Christmas is to know who her real father is.
So Scarlett heads to the little Cornish town of Porthmellow, where she believes the truth of her birth is hidden. She just didn’t bargain on being drawn into the Christmas festival preparations – or meeting Jude Penberth, whose charm threatens to complicate life further.
Everything will come to a head at Porthmellow’s Christmas Festival … But can Scarlett have the perfect Christmas this year, or are there more surprises on the way?
What was the idea behind it?
I got the idea on Boxing Day last year on a walk with my family. My daughter, who is a genetic scientist, remarked to me: ‘Just imagine if you got one of those ancestry tests for Christmas and it all went horribly wrong.’ I actually squealed in delight and was instantly desperate to write the story.
What would be your main character’s idea of a perfect Christmas?
Ha! My book is actually called A Perfect Cornish Christmas! Because that’s what Scarlett, the main character, wants to give her family at all costs. However, her ‘ultimate Christmas gift’ opens up a Pandora’s box of unwelcome secrets and she spends the rest of the year trying to put her fractured family back together. All she wants for the coming Christmas is to heal the wounds – and perhaps find love along the way.
What is your favourite Christmas tradition?
Definitely getting a real tree from Cannock Chase, near to where we live. I love heading out to the forest centre to choose one, the scent of the pine and getting the decorations from the loft.
Have you always wanted to be a writer? And if not, what prompted you?
Since I was a little girl, I loved reading and writing but – big BUT – I hardly ever made up stories. I preferred to write mini books about places we’d been on holiday, and topics that interested me. I went on to study English at uni and work as a copywriter and journalist.
All that changed when I watched Richard Armitage in the BBC TV series North & South in 2004. I was obsessed and out of the blue I wrote a ‘fanfic’ story based on the series. I shared it on an Internet fan group and knew then, what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. In 2006, my debut novel, Decent Exposure, was published and eventually made into a TV movie called 12 Men of Christmas. I’ve never really looked back since and still can’t believe how a TV series changed my life.
What’s your poison – high heels or flats?
I live in flats but my poison – and my treat – is a pair of heels. I absolutely love shoes and my husband calls me Imelda Marcos (who owned thousands of pairs, apparently.)
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Phillipa Ashley is the author of a string of Amazon Top 10 and Bookseller Heatseekers best-sellers. Before she became a full-time writer, she studied English at Oxford and worked as a copywriter and journalist.
She also writes rom coms as Ashley Croft and steamy romances as Pippa Croft.
She lives in a Staffordshire village with her husband and has a grown-up daughter. When she’s not writing, she loves falling off surf boards and following Poldark around in a camper van.
You can find Phillipa on Twitter at @PhillipaAshley, Facebook at @PhillipaAshleyAuthor and visit her website here.