Christmas Countdowns with Katey Lovell

It's Christmas! Well, almost. We've got a month to go, which means that of course, I'm an overexcited festive mess, reading every Christmas book I can get my hands on.

One of my favourite Christmas books this year is Joe and Clara's Christmas Countdown, and I was lucky enough to get to ask Katey Lovell a few questions about her book and Christmas.


1. I love that Joe and Clara’s Christmas Countdown is set in a youth club. What gave you the idea to use this as a setting for a Christmas romance? 

As a teen I spent my Sunday nights at a fantastic youth club - some of my happiest memories are of that time and I'm still friends with people I met there.  In the novel Joe talks about some of his own teenage memories, such as competitions to see which of his friends could fit the most strawberry laces in their mouth and reminiscing about his favourite band Foo Fighters.  The part with the strawberry laces actually happened, and although we didn't talk about Foo Fighters (I'm a bit older than Joe and Clara are) we did all adore Nirvana so the Dave Grohl link is a bit of a nod to my youth club friends.

I wanted the book to be about reaching out to others - initially it was going to be set in a food bank - but my own experience of youth groups, as well as working for a charity who are always fundraising for resources, meant a youth club was the perfect setting for Joe and Clara's Christmas Countdown.

2. Out of all the characters, I definitely love Deirdre the most. Do you have a favourite?

I also really love Deirdre!  She's larger than life with her tall tales about clubbing at the Hacienda and being eyed up by Duran Duran's Simon le Bon and she's got a heart of gold, so she's probably my favourite.  That said, all the characters become like family when you're writing about them and I think most authors will admit to liking even the 'baddies'.

3. When does your countdown start for Christmas? 

I'd love to say I wait until advent, but that's simply not true.  I'm not one of those people who has a tree up in October, but I did start squirrelling away presents earlier in the year and some of the meet-ups with family and friends were pencilled in the diary back in the summer.  This year Christmas will officially start for me on November 30th as that's the only time I'll see my best friend over the festive period.  Nativity plays, Christmas fayres and family meals will follow in the lead up to the big day, which this year will be a quiet one with just my husband David and our son Zach.

4. What’s your favourite festive book?

When I was younger I was a Sweet Valley Twins/High addict and there's a book in that series called The Christmas Ghost.  It's based on A Christmas Carol and I still reread it now.  Other than that I love Carmel Harrington's Every Time a Bell Rings and the traditional The Night Before Christmas, which also features in Joe and Clara's Christmas Countdown.

5. Finally, it’s the question that splits nations. Brussel sprouts, yes or no? 

Hmm...I normally have one 'just because it's Christmas' although I'm not really a fan.  But I suppose I can't imagine Christmas without them, so it'll have to be a yes!


Joe and Clara's Christmas Countdown is out now in paperback and ebook and is definitely worth a read.

Check out my review here...

And buy yourself a copy from Amazon here!


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