It's very nearly Christmas and, temporarily jobless and homeless, Noelle is back at home with her parents. However, a phone call from her cousin Joe, who runs a house-and-pet-sitting service, saves her from a festive season of Whist, boredom and overindulging. So Noelle is off to France to mind a dozen South American mammals. She arrives amidst a blizzard and quickly discovers that something is definitely wrong at the farm. The animals are there all right, but pretty much nothing else, no power, no furniture and, disastrously, no fee. Add to that a short-tempered intruder in the middle of the night, a premature delivery, long-lost relatives and participation in a living crèche, and this is shaping up to be a noel that Noelle will never forget. Fa-La-Llama-La is a feel-good, festive and fun romcom with a resourceful heroine, a hero who's a bit of a handful and some right woolly charmers.
Summary & Cover taken from Goodreads.com
Length: 165 pages (Kindle)
Publication Date: October 15th 2016
Welcome to Turning the Pages Stephanie, I'm happy to have you on the blog! Now lets get to some fun questions shall we?
1. How did you come up with the title for Fa-la-Llama-la?
‘Deck the Halls’ is one of my favourite Christmas carols, and the ‘Fa-la-la-la-la’ refrain changes easily to Fa-la-llama-la. I’ve been known to sing that to my llamas. The title is also a bit of a one-person rebellion! There are already loads of seasonal books out there with ‘Little’ and ‘Christmas’ in their titles. I could have jumped on the bandwagon and gone with ‘The Little French Llama Farm at Christmas’ but a) that’s far too long and b) I always prefer to be different!
2. Who was your biggest supporter during the writing process?
None of the llamas, I’m afraid to say. They weren’t impressed at all! Husband Chris is my greatest supporter and is always encouraging me to keep writing when, like all authors, the self-doubt creeps in. And I like to think the children are secretly a tiny bit proud of me. Maybe!
3. Do you use friends and family member as sound boards for ideas?
Not really. I tend to work away on my own and do a big reveal when I’ve written the last word. However, I do eavesdrop and people-watch and that can provide wonderful material for novels.
Yes, I’m close to finishing my cozy mystery, ‘Hens, Haircuts and Homicide’. This is the first in a series of three or four novels featuring Holly, a hairdresser, who inherits her cantankerous gran’s cottage in France. In the series there will be assorted poultry in cameo roles, crimes to solve and two handsome cousins, one a gendarme (policeman) and the other a farmer, vying for Holly’s heart. I’m having a great time writing the novel and I think it will make for fun reading, with plenty to chuckle about.
I’m also writing the sequel to ‘Heads Above Water’, which was the memoir of our first couple of extremely eventful years here in France. Renovating two hovels, starting a business, becoming a llama farmer and dealing with exploding toilets does make for an interesting life. The new book, ‘Total Immersion’, takes up where ‘Heads Above Water’ left off, as life continues to throw challenges and the unexpected at us. Never a dull moment.
5. What are your top three favourite holiday movies?
The Muppet’s Christmas Carol, Arthur Christmas and Love, Actually.
6. Do you like a white Christmas or one without snow?
Oh, a white one, please. We get long, cold, grey winters on the whole here in central France. There’s usually enough to snow us in for a few days, the record being ten
days our first winter here, but it tends to come in January. We had one white Christmas several years ago and spent the whole morning following animals tracks in our fields.
7. What inspired you to write your book?
Loving Christmas and owning llamas! I’ve started several Christmas novels but not finished them. This time I was determined to stick it out. And llamas are a bit unusual and also very characterful so I decided they’d be great to include. Over ten years of owning them, and running a llama trekking business for a while, I’ve accumulated a lot of experiences to weave into a novel.
Callan Mulvey as Nick, and Kaya Scodelario as Noelle. My llamas will play themselves!
9. What is your favourite Christmas tradition? Food? Song?
I love carols so we usually go to a carol service in the run up to Christmas. We have all the usuals food-wise for Christmas – mince pies, turkey (home grown), Christmas pudding and Christmas cake, and too many chocolates. We go for a family walk on Christmas Eve, although this year we’ll be one member short as my daughter is in Australia until next autumn. I guess it’s mainly the family togetherness that I like the most.
10. How have you found navigating the world of book bloggers, publishers and social media? Do you have any advice for new authors?
I’ve worked in publishing for thirty years, first as an in-house editor and then as a freelance, so I’m fairly au fait with the world of publishing. Most of my books have been traditionally published (I’ve authored 30+ children’s books that were published by presses in Ireland, where I lived for fourteen years). They’ve been translated into five languages. These days I tend to self-publish.
Book bloggers are wonderful and a total godsend for indie authors, who can struggle to get their book noticed. Thanks to these generous bloggers and their voracious appetite for books and their amazing enthusiasm in spreading the word, self-published writers can reach an audience. Readers can discover hidden gems they’d otherwise miss.
I’m not too bad with social media. I was the first in the family to get onto Facebook, and onto Twitter, but that’s it. I’ve toyed with Pinterest and Instagram, but that’s all. I suspect I’m simply failing to see their full potential. Maybe I’ll have another go with them at some point. I’ve blogged at www.bloginfrance.com pretty much since we moved to France in 2006, and I run a book blog myself at www.booksarecool.com.
Advice to new authors: build an author platform, be persistent, be as professional as you can when you publish (i.e. use an editor and be sure to produce a classy cover), and most of all, keep writing.
11. If you could go back and give yourself one piece of advice about writing your book, what would it be?
Publish it earlier than mid-October. I should have had it out early September, but I suddenly decided to rewrite the ending. I’m glad I did, but it made me run rather late with getting publicity going.
12. If you could tell your readers one thing about you that not many people know what would it be?
That I swam competitively until I was thirty-seven and have broken my nose twice in high-speed collisions with pool ends!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Hi, I'm Stephanie Dagg. I'm an English expat living in France, having moved here with my family in 2006 after fourteen years as an expat in Ireland. I now consider myself a European rather than belonging to any particular country. The last ten years have been interesting, to put it mildly. Taking on seventy-five acres with three lakes, two hovels and one cathedral-sized barn, not to mention an ever increasing menagerie, makes for exciting times. The current array of animals includes alpacas, llamas, huarizos (alpaca-llama crossbreds, unintended in our case and all of them thanks to one very determined alpaca male), sheep, goats, pigs, ducks, geese, chickens and turkeys, not forgetting our pets of dogs, cats, zebra finches, budgies and Chinese quail. Before we came to France we had was a dog and two chickens, so it's been a steep learning curve. I'm married to Chris and we have three bilingual TCKs (third culture kids) who are resilient and resourceful and generally wonderful. I'm a traditionally-published author of many children's books, and and am now self-publishing too. I have worked part-time as a freelance editor for many years after starting out as a desk editor for Hodder & Stoughton. The rest of the time I'm running carp fishing lakes with Chris and inevitably cleaning up some or other animal's poop. Visit her website. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter
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