The story behind the story #9 – Christmas Puds that require health warnings, David Essex and driving in the snow.

The story behind the story #9 – Just Another Winter’s Tale

Given that ‘Just Another Winter’s Tale’ is on a kindle countdown deal this weekend (99p/99c), it seems like a good idea to share how my own real-life experiences have influenced my writing of this book.

I personally love this feel-good book, just because I adore Christmas, snow and romance 🙂 ‘Just Another Winter’s Tale’ tells of a single woman, Emily, who crashes her car in a snowstorm on Christmas Eve. Sam appears on the scene – he’s on foot because he’s also broken down, albeit in a far less spectacular manner.

Emily accompanies Sam to a nearby village, in search of food, comfort and shelter. What she wasn’t expecting to encounter along the way, was to fall for a seriously sexy guy. As the freezing snow piles up around the window ledges outside, safe within their warm, snug accommodation, two strangers quickly discover how things can hot up when desire is allowed to run its natural course. As one of my wonderful readers puts it:

“Unashamedly romantic and feel good, Fenella Ashworth would have you believe that crashing your car is the gateway to romantic and sexual fulfillment! This book is excellent! Hot, romantic and relentlessly joyous.”

So, which parts of this story are personal to my life experiences?

  1. Driving in Snow
    I’ve mentioned it before, but I do love a good bit of snow! We really don’t get enough here in the UK. What I don’t appreciate, however, is driving in it. It completely screws with my head when the flakes are large and falling hypnotically across the windscreen. Similar to watching strobe-lighting, it makes me go quite dizzy 🙂 And then, if the car starts to skid? Well, I’m ashamed to say that the following paragraph completely describes my reaction to driving a car which slides on ice. In this scene, Emily is quite literally me:

    “Never able to remember whether you should turn your wheels into a skid, or out of it, she tried both options with minimal consequence, with her foot pressed down hard on the brake pedal.”
  2. David Essex
    Just like Emily in the story, my hands-down favourite Christmas song is ‘Just Another Winter’s Tale’ by David Essex, written by Mike Batt and Tim Rice. The first few lines, for me, are simply perfect. In just a few words, it instantly conjures up an entire scene in my head filled with longing, heartbreak and desire, that I hope to emulate in my own writing:

    The nights are colder now,
    Maybe I should close the door.
    And anyway, the snow has covered all your footsteps,
    And I can follow you no more.
    A Winter’s Tale lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

    I mean seriously…when combined with the melody, how beautiful is that? The song was released in 1982, so almost 40 years ago, but for me, it is timeless. I’m not sure if this song is globally popular, or if it’s more of a UK thing. But given I know people all over the world access this website, for those of you who might not have had the pleasure…. you’re welcome 😉

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J3c18V3ChIs
  3. Putting a health warning on the Christmas Pud
    In my family, the Christmas Pudding is always a talking point. When I was young, I remember my mum wrapping coins in cling film and sticking them inside, in an attempt to recreate the British tradition of hiding a silver sixpence in the pudding. Alas, this was neither a good idea for my uncle’s dental work, or when we started using the microwave to heat the damn thing up! And then comes the other great tradition involved with Christmas puddings; setting fire to it! This is normally done by liberally dousing the cooked pudding in alcohol, putting a naked flame to it and standing well back. As this task is normally undertaken after consuming FAR too much red wine and champagne, the dessert course of Christmas lunch really ought to come with a health warning, at least in our house. Emily’s family have a similar approach to my own experience! This section of the story always makes me giggle:

‘I might need some help with the Christmas pud,’ admitted their mother, slurring slightly.  The two girls turned, to observe a significant volume of their father’s best brandy being poured over the steaming dessert.

‘Stop!’ shrieked Jane.  Quickly releasing her sister, she shot forwards to remove the bottle from her mother’s unpredictable grasp.

‘Jesus!’ groaned Emily, as they gazed down at the Christmas pudding, literally floating in alcohol.  ‘If we set fire to that, it’s likely to remove all of our eyebrows, and potentially take the entire house with it!’

‘Go and sit down, Mum,’ ordered Jane.  ‘We’ll bring everything through in a minute.’

Giggling, Emily began to help her sister decant off the bulk of the liquid.

‘The alcohol will burn off, won’t it?’ queried Emily, pulling a comical face.

‘God!  This has got disaster written all over it!’ exclaimed Jane as she precariously struck a match and held it above the pudding, leaning back considerably in fear of the damage that could be inflicted.

The brandy caught fire with a satisfying whoosh, flames licking higher than either of them were entirely happy about.  Cautiously, they made their way into the dining room.  As Emily turned off the overhead lights, they began to sing ‘We wish you a merry Christmas’ nervously, the rest of the table quickly joining in.  Taking special care not to place the pudding beneath the light fitting, Jane carefully lowered the plate onto the table, before stepping back in relief.  Once the blue-orange flame had naturally extinguished, as the alcohol vapour was burnt off, the pudding was served up.

‘Wow!  That’s strong!’ gasped Sam as he took his first mouthful.  It was practically one hundred percent proof.

‘You haven’t got any brandy butter or brandy sauce yet,’ chided Emily’s mother.  Emily and Sam’s eyes met across the table, making it incredibly hard not to giggle.

‘What the hell?’ exploded John, easing a metal lump wrapped in cling film, from his mouth.

‘Ah yes!  I remember now!’ nodded Emily’s mother knowingly.  ‘I’ve hidden some coins in the pudding.’

Everyone looked at her, as though she’d lost her mind.

‘It’s tradition!’ she explained.  ‘An age-old custom, where a silver six-pence found in the Christmas pudding was said to bring good luck to whoever found it.  Of course, these days, we are forced to make do with a five pence piece.’

‘I almost lost my fu…. sodding tooth!’ exclaimed John, causing much guffawing around the table, as he attempted to moderate his language.  ‘I don’t call that very lucky!  Unless you’re my dentist, who I’m sure would be appreciative of the extra work…’

~~~~~~~~~

‘Just Another Winter’s Tale’ is available from Amazon.comAmazon.co.ukAmazon.com.au and Amazon.ca. It can either be purchased, or read via a Kindle Unlimited subscription. Here are the links to sign up to a free 30-day Kindle Unlimited trial on Amazon.co.uk  or Amazon.com.

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The latest news from Fenella Ashworth can be found at http://www.fenellaashworth.com.
Fenella is a British author of contemporary erotic romance for 18+. All of her stories are available from Amazon and Kindle Unlimited. Her most popular books are ‘One Hot Wynter’s Night’, ‘To Love, Honour and…Oh Pay’ and the Daniel Lawson Series.

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