Saturday, 9 December 2017

Let's Get Christmassy with... Vivien Brown

We’re getting festive here with some special peeps and today we get Christmassy with Vivien Brown

Hello Vivien

Please tell us a little about you and if you are a reader, Blogger or author.

I am primarily an author although I am an avid reader too, particularly of women’s fiction in its broadest sense – anything from romance to sagas to psychological thrillers with female protagonists. I have been writing short stories for women’s magazines for around twenty years (under another name). In fact, the first I ever sold was a Christmas story to Woman’s Weekly, about a family feud that gets resolved on Christmas morning, with the help of a department store Santa! These days I still write occasional short stories but prefer to concentrate on novels. My debut ‘Lily Alone’, a domestic drama about a very young child left alone at home, was published by Harper Impulse in October. Away from writing, I love cryptic crosswords, boyband concerts, horseracing, TV soaps and quiz shows.

What is your favourite Christmas memory?

I think waking up, as a small child, to feel that fat present-stuffed pillow case against my feet on Christmas morning, is very hard to beat. Still believing in Santa, still feeling the magic and wonder of Christmas Day, climbing out of bed while it was still dark and not noticing or caring that the bedroom was really chilly, with the windows all iced up on the inside! And then my sister and I lugging our pillow cases into our parents’ room and opening everything all over the bed. In those days, presents were not expensive, not technology-based, and didn’t get picked from the Argos catalogue or online. There was always a tangerine at the bottom, and usually a book or an annual from whatever TV show or character was popular at the time, although I could never abide Rupert - and still can’t! I like to try keeping the old traditions going as much as possible although, for my little granddaughter Penny, the pillow case has  been upgraded to a giant knitted stocking these days - seen here laid out on Christmas Eve, ready for Santa’s arrival.

What is your favourite Christmas food?

My absolute favourite food is chocolate, but I eat that all year round so I don’t suppose it really counts as a Christmas food, even though there is even more of it about at this time of year. This picture is from a day I spent learning how to temper chocolate and make my own truffles at the Chocolate Hotel in Bournemouth. But I would have to say my fave seasonal food is the humble mince pie, which I rarely have at any other time but Christmas, but I do like my own home-made ones so much more than shop-bought. I love rolling out the pastry, adding big dollops of mincemeat and finishing off with a Christmas shape on top – I have pastry cutters in the shape of a bell, heart, star and Christmas tree, as well as random rabbits, butterflies, doves, etc. I like to sprinkle them liberally with caster sugar while they are still warm – and that’s the best time to eat them too!

What is your favourite Christmas song?

I enjoy a rousing chorus or two of Jingle Bells, but when it comes to songs that really relate to the nativity story, I am a sucker for the sentimentality of Little Donkey, especially when hearing it sung by tiny school children at school carol concerts. I helped my daughter to knit all the people and animals for a nativity scene a couple of years ago and we were shocked that the pattern did not include a donkey. To us, he is a very important part of story, so we made up our own pattern for him to make sure the scene was complete.

What is your favourite Christmas photo? Please tell us why

I love my cats and still miss those who are no longer with us. They are just as much a part of the family as the humans are, and I like to make sure they get something special to eat at Christmas, and a new squeaky or flashing toy to try to distract them from pulling baubles off the tree. This picture is of my old cat Buster who never minded being dressed up in his special Christmas Day collar, which in reality was my daughter’s red hair scrunchie!

You can find Vivien at all these places …

Please come back tomorrow to find out what makes Val Portelli Christmas Christmassy


Viv Brown said...

Thanks for featuring me on your fab blog today. Looking forward to reading all the other Christmassy interviews too!

Natalie Kleinman said...

What a lovely piece. I really enjoyed reading it and I love the picture of you and Buster, Viv