Being a friend at Christmas!

Today, I am joined by local writer, Carol Thomas, who writes for both adults and children.

Published by Ruby Fiction, an imprint of the award-winning publisher Choc Lit, Carol’s contemporary romance novels have relatable heroines whose stories are layered with emotion, sprinkled with laughter and topped with irresistible male leads. While her children’s books have irresistibly cute, generally furry characters, young children can relate to.

It’s been an unusual year, Carol, how have recent events affected your writing?

Unfortunately, due to bookshop closures, the release of my novel Maybe Baby in paperback has been put back until next year. It is still available as an ebook and in audio so not a big deal, but you know how us writers like to hold, smell and gaze lovingly at our paperbacks.

Other than that, I have been fortunate in that I have been able to get on and complete two projects while home-schooling three of my children.

I was delighted to finish my latest novel and send it off to my publisher. While I know some writers were struggling to get words written, the final part of this really flew for me. I think this was partly due to discovering a new rhythm for writing. Where I normally try to force words out during school hours, I was writing from about three to seven o’clock each evening – a time that is usually filled with school pick-ups, getting tea ready and running the children to various clubs. It seemed to work well.

I am also thrilled to say, I have finally illustrated my children’s book, Being a Friend at Christmas. I wrote the story well over a year ago but hadn’t had time to finish it until lockdown. In this time, I found drawing quite therapeutic, and it was something I could do while supervising my children with work.

I know you have recently released Being a Friend, please tell us a little more about it:

Yes, unlike my novels that are traditionally published and need a six month lead in, my children’s books are self-published and so once prepared and edited can go straight out into the world. Aimed at under-sevens, Being a Friend at Christmas is the second in my Little Pup series of books (though each can be read and enjoyed independently).

In this story, Little Pup is looking forward to his first Christmas in his new home. But he also remembers the dogs he has left behind in the shelter. He has a plan to ensure they have a happy Christmas too but needs Father Christmas’ help to make his wish come true.

It sounds a heartwarming Christmas read. As you won’t be able to take it into schools and nurseries to promote it this year, have you managed to work out any alternative ways to connect with readers?

It is a shame, but I was fortunate, as I am a teacher, I managed to scrape in a visit to the reception classes of the school I work in just before lockdown. It was lovely to share the first in the Little Pup series of books, and to work with the children, seeing their enthusiasm for the story and the characters was wonderful.

Little Pup’s looking forward to Christmas 
and he knows just how lucky he’s been
because some dogs are still in shelters, 
a warm home and best friend yet a dream. 
Hoping a small gift of kindness, 
will help them feel loved, not alone, 
Little Pup has a wish that might come true, 
when Father Christmas visits his home!

I also arranged an author talk for our year sixes via Skype with local author Lexi Rees (who writes for 7-11-year-olds), and that worked very well. I think that is something I will take inspiration from moving forward. I am more than happy to chat to schools and nurseries in this way, or for (supervised) children to get in touch and share their reading experience with me.

At the end of the first Little Pup book, children were asked to name the puppy. It was wonderful to hear the names chosen. In Being a Friend at Christmas, Little Pup asks readers to make their own Christmas wish, and I hope some of those will be shared with me too. I can be contacted via my website:

That’s great and I wish you every success with Being a Friend at Christmas and hope to see your novel, Maybe Baby, on bookshop shelves next year!

Carol’s Little Pup books will make ideal stocking fillers for all young dog lovers.

About Being a Friend at Christmas (Little Pup book #2):

“A lovingly illustrated, and beautifully written, Christmas story you’ll want to share again and again!”

View the book trailer: Purchase link:

Also, by Carol Thomas: Finding a Friend (Little Pup book #1).

When Little Pup finds himself at the shelter,

he doesn’t know quite what to do.

Big dogs all around, feeling lost and alone,

Little Pup needs a friend… but who?

“A delightfully written and wonderfully illustrated picture book, with a heart warming’ tail’ of friendship.”

View the book trailer: Purchase link:

About the author:

Carol Thomas lives on the coast in West Sussex with her husband, four children, guinea pig, two hamsters and lively Labrador. She has been a playgroup supervisor and has taught in primary schools for just over twenty years – but we don’t mention that as it makes her feel old!

Find out more about books by Carol Thomas by visiting her:

Published by Isabella Muir

Isabella is passionate about exploring family life from the 1930s through to the 1960s and beyond. She has published six Sussex Crime mystery novels set during the 1960s and 1970s, a standalone novel dealing with the child migrant policy of the 1950s and 60s, several novellas set during the Second World War, and two short story collections. All available in paperback from your local bookshops, or online as ebooks. Her novels are also available as audiobooks, and have been translated into Italian.

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