Wednesday, 11 November 2015

What Happens at Christmas by T.A. Williams

Book Information 
Title: What Happens at Christmas... 
Author: T.A. Williams 
Release Date: October 22, 2015 
Genres: Chick Lit 
Publisher: Carina UK 

For the perfect Christmas…

When career-girl Holly Brice learns that her estranged father has died, she decides to take a trip down memory lane and find out about the man she never knew. Arriving in the sleepy little Dartmoor village, she’s shocked to discover that she’s inherited the cosy little cottage she remembers so fondly, a whole load of money –and her father’s adorable dog, too!

Head to snow-covered Devon!

And as the first snowflakes begin to fall and Holly bumps into her gorgeous neighbour, Jack Nelson, life gets even more complicated! Men have always been off the cards for high-flying Holly, but there’s something about mysterious writer Jack that has her re-thinking her three-date rule...

A fabulous, feel-good festive read, perfect for fans of Debbie Johnson and Carole Matthews.

Book Links 
Amazon US: 
Amazon UK: 


Welcome to Comet Babes Books

Can you tell us about What Happens at Christmas?
Up until the end of April this year I had no plans to write a Christmas book. In fact, I was 30,000 words into a completely different book. Then I got a call from my editor asking for ‘something Christmassy’. As you can imagine, the subsequent months were busy! The book is about a girl who has the unenviable job of sorting through the affairs of her dead father. She hasn’t seen him for years since he left the family home and moved away. She travels to a little Dartmoor village and to the cottage where he was living. It’s there that the voyage of discovery starts. By the end of it, she has learnt so much more about her father, has met three rather appealing men and has inherited a big black Labrador.

What is your favourite thing about Christmas?
I’m a bit of a Bah Humbug man myself. It’s too commercial now, too glittery, too tinsely. For me, the one redeeming feature of Christmas is the way it brings people together. In this busy world in which we live, at least it makes people (apart from Santa Claus impersonators) down tools and head home for a few days bonding with the rest of the family. So, moan as I may at the shops playing that awful music from the end of August onwards (well, that’s what it feels like), Christmas is a special time for people all over the world.

What are your future book plans?
I am currently writing another in the “What Happens” series. This one will be set in the Italian Alps where I used to live and work. Think mountains, snow, skis and, yes of course, a big black Labrador.

What inspired you to take up writing?
I’ve always written. Really. Ever since I was a little kid. And I’ve always told stories. My ability to make stuff up has got me out of quite a few scrapes over the years… ‘I’m afraid my homework must have blown off the table into the dog’s bowl…’ ‘Of course I wasn’t looking at your boobs; I was just admiring your necklace.’ That kind of thing.

Are any of your characters based on people you know?
There are elements of people I know in so many of my characters, but I couldn’t possibly expand on that. The one I can reveal, because he isn’t going to come back and sue me, is Merlin the Labrador, upon whom all my trademark Labs are based.

Do you have a support network for your writing?
As a man writing for women, I often need support for technical questions about clothes (do front-opening bras have one clip or more?), taste (do you prefer men’s bottoms to their stomach muscles? The answer, by the way, would appear to favour abs by a long way) and attitudes to men (do you ever feel attracted by a ‘bad boy’?). My most valuable resource for this stuff is my wife, closely followed by my daughter, with occasional help from former colleagues. The Carina UK author network also often comes to my rescue like when I wanted to know about expensive shoes.

What items are on your desk/where you write?
The computer, of course. I always write in the same place using a desktop computer, rather than a laptop. Alongside it is an iPad that I use mainly for social media. Sheets of paper and pens for odd notes, remembering characters’ names and so on. A bottle of water, a mug of tea (I drink far too much tea when I’m writing) and normally a map of the area I’m writing about. What I don’t have is music. I prefer dead silence and, as live in a sleepy little village, there’s lots of that around here – apart from the damn rooks and the church bells.

What's the worst advice you have ever received? 
That’s a really good question. Looking back on it, whoever it was who told me, ‘Before chatting a girl up, it’s always best to drink a few pints of beer’. Wrong.

What's the best/worst thing about social media?
First of all you have to bear in mind that until three years ago, I had no knowledge of social media. Since getting published I’ve had to get into all of this stuff and it’s been a very steep learning curve. I love the way Twitter introduces you to different people all over the globe with whom you would never have interacted otherwise. I’m in a number of Facebook groups comprised of authors, bloggers, publishers etc and it’s fantastic the selfless support you can get from these. I can push out a question (eg How can I get rid of an unpleasant character without bumping him off?) and within minutes I’ll have suggestions ranging from alien abduction to spontaneous combustion. Wonderful.

What advice would you give to new authors?
Very simple. Write what you want to write and what you enjoy writing. Accept that there will always be some people who don’t like your work and, above all, don’t give up, even when you are collecting rejection letters by the dozen. You are writing principally for you.

Have you ever heard a strange/different story that you thought would be great in a book?

I’m sure I must have, but nothing springs to mind. I’m glad you didn’t ask me how I get the ideas for my books, because in total honesty, I have no idea. They just sort of happen and, very often, a new idea/twist occurs to me as I am writing. That’s why my editor would agree that my initial summaries are rubbish. The finished article always turns out a lot different from the original plan.

Can you share a sneak peak at what you're working on at the moment?
Like I said before, the next one is set in the Alps. It’s about a girl who is setting up her own English Language school in a little Alpine town. She’s had a rough time over the past few years and she needs to spread her wings and do her own thing for a change. It isn’t easy, but my heroines are pretty tough and determined and this one, Annie, is no exception. Somehow, I reckon she’ll make it.


My thanks to you, Jo.

It was a stunning day – crisp, clear and with just a light offshore breeze. The sea first came into view in the distance beyond the broad expanse of sand dunes and beach that constituted Saunton Sands. The road then curled gently round the coast, offering magnificent views across the open cliff tops to the rocks and waves below. Visibility was so good, Jack was able to point out Lundy Island, lying twelve miles out in the Bristol Channel. Beyond that there was nothing until you reached southern Ireland and, from then on just the Atlantic Ocean all the way to the USA.

The sea looked like a sheet of corrugated iron as it neared the shore, with row after row of waves rolling in. They came into the village of Croyde itself and Holly started seeing signs for surf schools, surf shops and even a campsite called Surfers’ Paradise. Malibu it might not be, but Croyde was clearly a British surfing Mecca, even on a day like today when the outside temperature was in single figures. As they drove down the narrow access road to the car park, they could both see majestic waves rolling into the bay between the rocky outcrops either side. Jack parked at the far side of the car park among a vast collection of old VW campers, clearly the vehicle of choice for the surfing community, and turned off the engine. The engine noise was immediately replaced by the raucous cries of seagulls and the regular crunch of waves hitting the beach a hundred yards below them. From where they were parked, they were able to look down between sand dunes and a café directly onto the beach.

‘Look at those waves! Magic Seaweed said it would be a five star day and, boy, were they right!’ He sounded like a little boy on his birthday.

‘Magic Seaweed?’ She smiled at him, happy to see his obvious excitement.

‘The fount of all wisdom for surf dudes.’

‘So you’re a surf dude?’

‘I suppose I should really have a VW camper for true street cred, but the old Land Rover’s pretty close. And, of course, that’s an Al Merrick custom board tied to my roof. That’s worth loads of bonus points.’ He grinned at her. ‘Yeah, I’m a dude, or at least I like to think I am.’

‘This is the first time I’ve been with a dude. In fact, I’m not totally sure I know what a dude is, but so far so good.’ She gave him a smile. ‘So, if you’re a dude, what does that make me?’

He had no hesitation. ‘That makes you a babe.’ He grinned at her. ‘No question. Very definitely a babe.’

Holly rather liked the sound of that, but she didn’t comment. Scruffy Land Rovers and outdoor pursuits hadn’t featured too highly on her list of essentials for possible boyfriends so far. Anyway, she thought to herself, one pretty normal prerequisite was that the man in question should at least appear to demonstrate some sort of romantic interest towards her. Jack Nelson, nice and friendly as he was, appeared to show as much affection towards her as he did to Stirling the dog. She dismissed the thought and glanced back down to the beach, absently reaching back over her shoulder to scratch Stirling’s ears.

Firstly, my name isn't T A. It's Trevor. I write under the androgynous name T A Williams because 65% of books are read by women. In my first book, "Dirty Minds" one of the (female) characters suggests the imbalance is due to the fact that men spend too much time getting drunk and watching football. I couldn't possibly comment. Ask my wife...

I've written all sorts: thrillers, historical novels, short stories and now I'm enjoying myself hugely writing humour and romance. Romantic comedies are what we all need from time to time. Life isn’t always very fair. It isn’t always a lot of fun, but when it is, we need to embrace it. If my books can put a smile on your face and maybe give your heartstrings a tug, then I know I’ve done my job.

I‘ve lived all over Europe, but now I live in a little village in sleepy Devon, tucked away in south-west England. I love the place. That’s why you’ll find leafy lanes and thatched cottages in most of my books. Oh, yes, and a black Labrador.

I've been writing since I was 14 and that is half a century ago. However, underneath this bald, wrinkly exterior, there beats the heart of a youngster. My wife is convinced I will never grow up. I hope she's right.

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