I actually can’t believe it’s taken me so long to get Jaimie on the blog, as I’ve been a huge fan for almost a year now. Better late than never, right? With every book release, I am there on the day and her books are some of my most anticipated – trust me, she’s not an author you want to miss out on!
I was so excited when Jaimie said yes to featuring on my blog with an author interview, so I won’t keep you all any longer than need be – I’ll let you get on with reading the actual interview, which includes talking about her latest Christmas release, Snowflakes at the Little Christmas Tree Farm, her perfect movie casting for Leah and Noel, what Christmas Day looks like for Jaimie’s family every year and she even treats us to some new bookish news! Eek – get excited!
Welcome to BreakfastAtShelbys, I’m so honoured to have you on here! Why don’t we kick start this interview off with you telling us a bit about yourself?
Thank you for having me, Shelby! Hi, I’m Jaimie, I’m 34 and come from South Wales, UK! I write romantic comedies with guaranteed happy endings because I think we all need a bit of joy in our lives and I love nothing more than a book that leaves me feeling warm and fuzzy!
Snowflakes at The Little Christmas Tree Farm is your latest release, which I absolutely loved! Congratulations! Can you tell my readers – who may not have had the opportunity to hear about it yet – what it’s about?
It’s about a woman called Leah who, after catching her boyfriend cheating, gets a little bit drunk to drown her sorrows and accidentally places a bid on a property auction that’s just about to end for a little Christmas tree farm in Scotland… as you do! She wins, turns her whole life upside down to move to this idealistic, magical-looking tree farm, but quickly discovers that the place has fallen into disrepair and there’s absolutely nothing ideal or magical about it! Thankfully there’s a gorgeous but grumpy neighbour and his adorable little dog to help her settle in…
What inspired you to write Snowflakes at The Little Christmas Tree Farm?
I actually saw a Christmas tree farm up for auction! It was an absolute daydream for me, and I wished wished wished that I had the funds to put in a bid and run off to the other end of the country to become a Christmas tree farmer. Obviously I don’t, but the great thing about being a writer is that we get to explore ‘what ifs’ and live out daydreams through our characters, so while I couldn’t actually do it in real-life, it was amazingly fun to create a character who could!
Knowing nothing about Tree Farm’s, I gained so much knowledge throughout this story on how long it can take to grow trees worthy of selling, how much you sacrifice during bad weather, etc. Have you ever worked on a Christmas Tree Farm yourself, or did this book require quite some research?
Research, research, research! I can’t think of anything more magical than working on a Christmas tree farm, but I’ve never been lucky enough to do that. Luckily I love Christmas, I love trees and have a bit of experience of trying (and failing!) to grow pumpkins in my own garden so I thoroughly enjoyed learning everything I possibly could about growing conditions, different tree species and their different needs and qualities, and all the ins and outs of running a tree farm!
Gizmo, Noel’s dog, was such a lovely and useful side-kick for the pair throughout the book – do you have a small or big furry side-kick of your own?
I wish I did. I actually lost my lovely little dog while I was writing this book, and Gizmo became a tribute to him. I had a Chihuahua called Bruiser for fifteen years, who very sadly died in February this year. The book is dedicated to him, and Gizmo was my little nod to him. I used some of his quirks and chose the name Gizmo as it was always my second choice of name for him because of the big ears and resemblance to the creatures from the film Gremlins, so it was nice to be able to immortalise him in some small way.
I mentioned in my book review for ‘It’s a Wonderful Night’, that Netflix or Hallmark really needed to pick that up for a movie and I can say the same again for Snowflakes at The Little Christmas Tree Farm! Who do you think would be your perfect casting be for Leah and Noel?
I’m the biggest fan of Hallmark movies EVER so that would be my dream come true! Noel is easy because I always picture a celebrity while I’m writing and in his case, it was the actor Luke Evans. Luke doesn’t really do romantic movies but I’d love to see him as a Hallmark leading man, so he’d be my perfect Noel as long as he could grow his hair out to be long and scruffy! For Leah, I think Katie Holmes would be brilliant as I was picturing someone with long dark hair and a nice smile!
Do you have any fun behind-the-scenes facts you can share with us regarding the process of writing Snowflakes at The Little Christmas Tree Farm?
I had the idea for it over a year before I finally started writing it and I could picture the whole place instantly from the very first moment, and obviously after a year of planning, I really wanted to write it, but had to have my editor’s approval first and was completely convinced she would think it was the worst idea ever! I started writing it in October 2018, then had a break for Christmas and spent January doing revisions on my previous book, and then had February and March to finish Snowflakes off. When revisions came back in July, they were the worst revisions I’d ever had. So much of the book needed changing, and although it was hard work, it was so worthwhile because it really started to come together at that time!
How do you get yourself in to the festive spirit whilst writing out of season?
I light one of my Christmas scented candles and listen to a couple of Christmas songs on Youtube. This is the hardest part for me because I love writing in season and unfortunately it isn’t always possible, but I find it so hard to get myself into a festive mood when it’s 25-30 degrees on a sunny July afternoon!
What is the typical Christmas Day routine for you and your family?
Chocolate for breakfast! We get up early, stuff our faces, have family visit, stuff our faces, cook the dinner while stuffing our faces, spend the rest of the afternoon stuffing our faces while looking forward to the leftovers for supper… are you sensing a theme here?! Later on, we all go to bed feeling quite sick and no one can work out why!
What are your favourite foods to make on Christmas Day?
I do the traditional roast dinner but with a vegetarian roast because we’re all vegetarians, and then I mainly eat chocolate all day! I love a bit of pre-Christmas cooking though and love to have a go at making gingerbread men, cookies, and whatever festive recipes I’ve come across on Pinterest that year! Peppermint bark is an easy favourite, I’ve already made four batches this year!
What would you say is your go-to Christmas song and movie during the holidays?
My favourite Christmas song is My Favourite Time Of Year by The Florin Street Band. It’s not very well known but it’s so Christmassy! Here’s a Youtube link to share the festive goodness: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H10f2w7T5CU
My absolute favourite Christmas film is National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. I’ve watched it every year without fail for so many years I can’t even remember! It’s just not Christmas without the adorably optimistic Chevy Chase messing everything up for his good old-fashioned family Christmas! Elf is a good second favourite too!
Do you have anything in particular on your wish-list this year for Christmas?
Can I have more hours in the day? Particularly for reading festive books! I love nothing more than curling up with my Kindle with a lovely Christmassy rom com, so books and some uninterrupted reading time is what I’d like most!
If you could describe Snowflakes at The Little Christmas Tree Farm in three words, what would they be?
Festive, heartwarming, uplifting!
Lastly, do you have any future book news that you are able to share with us?
Of course! I’ve got another book coming out in the spring that’ll be called The Little Bookshop of Love Stories, and I’m currently writing next year’s Christmas release which is all about my favourite Christmas decoration – nutcracker soldiers!
Eek, the new book sounds like an absolute dream! Merry Christmas, Jaimie! Thank you so much for coming on the blog – I definitely don’t think this will be the first and last time!