On Christmas Day we’ll be relaxing with friends and family at home. A few years back we tried the ‘being away for Christmas’ thing – hated every minute of it.
Tell us about a usual Christmas in your home?
My children are just three of fourteen grandchildren with the first great-grandchild due in January. ‘Plenty’ is the theme for Christmas Day, from the mountain of pressies under the tree to the 15-pound ham in the middle of the table.
Any gift in particular that you’d love to see wrapped under the tree?
Anything to do with books or music that I can lose myself in over the summer months.
What is a typical Christmas lunch and/or dinner at your house?
Very traditional. I wondered whether the next generation might be getting tired of it. But at a recent baby shower three of my nieces practically crash tackled me to check that a ham, ‘Nana’s pavlova’ and those potatoes ‘cooked the way they were cooked last year’ would be on the menu.
Tell us, what is the one dish that gets served every single year? Is there a story behind this?
Pavlova. The recipe’s been passed down from my mum’s outback forebears. Given that December temperatures in western New South Wales soar into the forties a cool, fruity pav for Christmas dessert must have made perfect sense to them.
Essentials for an Aussie Christmas…
A quick-dry swimming costume, a hat the size of a beach umbrella and a good supply of ice-cold Australian Riesling – yum!
Your best Silly Season survival tip?
Not to make New Year’s resolutions. I used to make them. Now I just see the Silly Season as a platform for a wild bungy jump into the New Year. I’ve finally accepted that you never know where life will take you so you may as well close your eyes and take a flying leap of faith.
What will you be reading this Christmas?
Bill Bryson’s latest travel book, ‘The Road to Little Dribbling’. But not on public transport as I snort and giggle my way through his stories to an embarrassing level.
What have been your big achievements in 2015?
Teaming up with a talented critique partner, romantic-suspense author Lee Christine, and thinking through the writing process as never before.
What are your plans/goals for 2016?
To publish my fifth book – Sara and Cooper’s story. Sara has a landlord who wants to evict her, a 1960s Beetle that rarely starts, and a looming maths exam she’s all set to fail. Homicide detective Cooper Halligan, on the other hand, is something of a self-proclaimed maths guru, and the single biggest threat to the secret Sara’s guarded for years. I had a fabulous time writing it.
New Year’s Promise Anna Clifton
They’ve been colleagues, allies and best friends forever, but he wants more — and he’s not above using the magic of the Christmas season to get it.
When Business Development Executive Ellie Halligan is offered the job of a lifetime in Paris, it seems her chance to live a fairytale adventure has finally arrived. Her only hurdle is convincing legal eagle Justin Murphy — her boss and friend since childhood — to wave his boss’s wand and waive her four-week resignation period so that she can start her adventure by Christmas.
But Justin proves to be a demanding fairy godmother. He’ll let her go early, but not unless she spends time with him over the festive season up until New Year.
Ellie doesn’t know what to do. Is Justin finally looking at her romantically after all these years, or are far more threatening dynamics at play? Justin has a secret, and he seems to want to pull her back into a past she’d rather forget. But delving into that old pain might be the only way to move forward — and for Justin to finally be free.
Will doing this for Justin become Ellie’s final gift of love as she loses him forever?