Meet TOM KELLER – the new Aussie teacher who is volunteered by the Head of St Piran’s primary school to help Cerrie with her beloved Christmas play. He’s admittedly gorgeous and an instant hit with her colleagues, but is there more to him than it seems?
Tom appears at a time when Cerrie is feeling most vulnerable: it’s the first staff meeting at St Piran’s School since her very public break-up with her ex (and Deputy Head of the school) David, and everyone is watching them to see how they react to each other. In a surprise move, Gloria Masters the Head introduces Tom and completely upstages Cerrie’s former flame. But Cerrie’s relief is short-lived when Gloria announces Tom will help Cerrie with the play.
I loved writing Tom because he begins as a bit of an enigma and I liked the slow reveal of his personality, as seen through the effect he has on everyone else. He was also a bit of a surprise: I wrote Somewhere Beyond the Sea before Christmas in St Ives and in the original draft of the novel Cerrie was married and we never heard about her home life. When I decided to focus on her story in Christmas in St Ives, I wanted to give her a love story of her own. I was as surprised as Cerrie and her school colleagues when Tom Keller appeared! I then went back to Somewhere Beyond the Sea and rewrote Cerrie’s scenes to fit the story, which made her a much stronger character. I love it when serendipities like that happen in my writing!
Here’s an excerpt from Christmas in St Ives – this is the first time Cerrie and Tom lead a rehearsal together and Cerrie has just asked him to play the music she’s written for the play:
But there’s more – CHRISTMAS IN ST IVES isn’t just a lovely Christmas story set in the most gorgeous place in Cornwall, it’s also a prequel to my next novel, Somewhere Beyond the Sea which publishes in June next year. This means you’ll get to meet the main characters from the novel in this festive treat – and as the first chapter of Somewhere Beyond the Sea is included at the end of the novella, you’ll be able to read it eight months early!
Everyone thinks I write Christmas books because my novels have often been published around that time, but this is the very first time I’ve published a Christmas story and I’m over the moon with it. I’ve packed my love of St Ives, Cornwall and Christmas into this story, with a huge dose of love, laughter and more than a touch of sparkle. I really hope you’ll fall in love with CHRISTMAS IN ST IVES as I have – and that you’ll want to find out what happens to Seren, Cerrie, Kieran and Aggie next… xx
All this year, I’m vlogging about writing and publishing my seventh novel, A Parcel For Anna Browne. This week, key words, Christmassy book plans and books I’m excited about reading this year!
I’ve been having a lot of fun working on some new projects before the page proofs for A Parcel for Anna Browne arrive. Which gives me lots of time to answer your fab questions which this week come from Katie Marsh, Julie Williams and Jennifer Joyce. What were my three key words for writing APFAB? Am I writing a Christmassy book this year? And which books am I getting very excitedabout reading this year?
p.s. This week’s YouTube-nominated freeze-frame is entitled, ‘Where did you get that hat?’