My guest today is novelist Christina Garbutt. Christina and I both attended the Romantic Novelists’ Association annual conference in July but, unfortunately, we didn’t get to meet, which is a shame. Like me, Christina has written pocket novels for DC Thomson and, also like me, she is partial to chocolate muffins. Unlike me, however, she can actually bake them! Here’s Christina with her five photos. Enjoy!
I lived in a town a few miles north of Brighton for many years and we still love to visit family and friends who live there at least once a year. My first novel (well the first one accepted and published by a publisher) was set in Brighton and the pier features in a pivotal scene. This photo was taken about six weeks ago when we were visiting my brother. It may look as if we’re being affectionate but my son is using me as a seat because he didn’t like sitting on the stones and I’m eyeing up his ice cream hoping he won’t notice if I take a bite.
I grew up by the sea and I can’t imagine not living close to it. During the summer my family and I walk to this beach, we go swimming and try to do a bit of body-boarding. We also take a Frisbee and my husband valiantly chases after it as the rest of us throw it haphazardly across the sand. This beach is particularly special to me because my husband proposed to me on the coastal path on Christmas day fifteen years ago. The sea features in almost all of my writing and although I’ve created fictional beaches they are all based on the lovely Gower coast.
My garden used to belong to my grandparents. My grandfather was particularly proud of it and when I’m out there I can hear him talking to me about the plants and the moss in the grass, which was the bane of his life. Plants and nature also feature a lot in my writing and when the weather is good I like to sit in the garden and write. This picture was taken at an early summer barbeque. My husband loves the night sky and spends a lot of time trying to persuade us to enjoy it too. Normally it is too cold for me but during this beautiful summer we had a lot of time outside to enjoy it. Here my two children are looking at Jupiter in the early evening twilight.
My family and I are very close and this summer we all went on holiday to Italy. This photograph makes us all laugh because while the rest of us are sitting down after a large evening meal and many drinks my dad, who’s seventy, is running past at speed. He runs six miles every day and I’m in awe because I prefer to curl up with a good book. Italy was beautiful with long, white sandy beaches and the crystal blue Mediterranean. The novel I’m writing at the moment is set in an imaginary Italian island and I’m taking the food we ate and the sights we saw as inspiration.
I love eating cake. When I first moved back to Wales I decided I was going to bake more. I dutifully made twenty-four fairy cakes, which I planned to freeze and use in my children’s packed lunches. I have to admit I felt very pleased with myself when they were all in the oven but when they came out they were as hard as biscuits. I’d forgotten to put the flour in. Since then I’ve accepted that I’m never going to be a master baker but I do enjoy writing about food. My next My Weekly Pocket Novel, (Murder at Melveryn Manor) which is due out later this year features these double chocolate muffins and I’ve included the recipe. They taste nicer than I can make them look and they are simple to make so long as I remember to include all the ingredients.
Thank you so much for taking part, Christina. Love the look of those chocolate muffins! I do envy you, living close to the sea. Good luck with your new book.
Christina Garbutt is the author of three contemporary romances all of which contain elements of a love for the sea and good food.
She worked in publishing for many years before she had her daughter. One look at her daughter’s newborn face and she realised that she wasn’t going back to work in an office.
A few years ago she returned, with her family, to live in Wales so that they could all enjoy living by the beach. When Christina isn’t writing she can be found reading or spending time with her family.
Her ebook, The Locket of Logan Hall, is due out on 17th September.
When widowed Emily finds a locket hidden in an antique writing desk she becomes determined to reunite it with its owner and she enlists the help of her boss, Cameron. Over one blisteringly hot summer the pair follow clues around the English country-side. But as the summer draws to a close will Emily realise that her own chance of a happy ending is right in front of her? Or will she be too afraid to take a second chance at love?