Hello everyone! Today I am so pleased to welcome author Liam Livings to the blog.  Liam is here to talk to us more about his upcoming release, Christmas Serendipity, due out on December 8th.  Liam has also brought a great excerpt, as well as a giveaway for a copy of the book. So please join me in giving Liam a big welcome. 

 

First I’d like to thank, Joyfully Jay for having me as a guest on the blog today. I’ve answered some questions other authors had sent me from their readers. Hopefully the responses are interesting for those who are interested in reading my stories. Christmas Serendipity is published by JMS on 8 December.

Character development is important to me when I read. I am always curious whether characters are based on people the author knows and research, or if they are based are pure fiction.

This varies. For my first novel, Best Friends Perfect, it’s quite autobiographical. The two best friends of Kieran, Grace and Hannah, are heavily based on two of my closest friends. They both know this. What happens in the story with those characters if fiction. In other stories, I may take a particular character trait, phrase, mannerism from a real person, but I’ll build on that, and change the it, so they aren’t actually that person.

 

What inspires you?

It could be a snippet of a conversation overheard on a train or bus. It may be a song lyric which sparks an idea for a scene, which grows to a story. With Christmas Serendipity, I watched the opening scene unfold in front of me between two women outside a pub in a Cornish market town. I frantically took notes of what happened, what they said, everything, on my phone, and as we left the pub, I thought I wonder what happens to those two now. That was the premise of Christmas Serendipity.

With my current WIP, which was my Nanowrimo novel, it was a few paragraphs from one of my dog-eared favourite books, Angels, by Marian Keyes, and some lyrics from an Abba song which when combined, gave me the premise and inspiration for the story. I put them together and thought, I wonder what would happen if… And I was off!

 

How do you feel when you reach the end of the story? Sad? Happy? Relieved?

I think there are so many ‘ends’ to a story that it’s different each time. There’s the end of the first draft, which I feel relieved about, for actually getting there.

Then there’s the end of the content revisions when I’ve picked the first draft out of a drawer and read through it, like a reader, not as someone who’s written it. That is a bit more scary, as it can show how what I thought I’d put on the page, isn’t actually coming through at all, and that means lots of content revisions.

Then there’s reaching the end when I go through with beta readers’ comments/suggestions. This is often quite enlightening, as I’ll have completely missed something a few point out to me.

If I’ve spent a long time with the characters, the Best Friends Perfect manuscript was over 200,000 words, written on and off over 18 months or so. As I re-read that and came to the end, I felt sad, that I wouldn’t be spending time with those characters for a while. I’m doing edits on that at the moment, so the characters are back with me.


About Liam Livings

Three things about him – there are five more on the website, one is a lie.

1) He lives, with his partner and cats, where east London ends and becomes nine-carat-gold- highlights-and-fake-tan-west-Essex.

2) He was born in Hampshire with two club feet (look it up, it’s not nice) and problem ears, needing grommets: this meant he was in plaster from toe to groin until he was two, and had to swim with a cap and olive oil soaked lamb’s wool over his ears – olive oil bought from a health food shop, before it was sold by supermarkets.

3) He started writing when he was 14: sat in French lessons during a French exchange trip, for want of anything better to do, he wrote pen portraits about his French exchange’s teachers. He wrote for his school’s creative writing magazine and still writes a diary every day.

 

How to get in touch with Liam Livings:


Christmas Serendipity

Christmas SerendipityJust before the Christmas holiday, in a snowy small town in England, refugees of Christmas bad luck, handyman, plumber Christian and office worker David find themselves thrown together at miss Organiser, Cathy’s non-family Christmas.

Christian thinks the world has ended as his parents get used to him being gay, and disinvite him to their Christmas. David has just been fired from his waiting job, and is still getting used to the fact that he has dumped him. Although David’s ex was a useless cheating, money grabbing waste of space, he was at least, David’s useless, cheating, money grabbing waste of space. And now David doesn’t even have that. He’s not in the mood for a night out with his best friend, camp Tony, just before Christmas. Instead they retire to Cathy and Tony’s place, to find a quiet Christian.

With Cathy’s organizational skills  and enthusiasm, these four spend a non-family Christmas together, making the best of it. Together they drink, eat and play their way through Christmas, surprising each other at how it turns out, and how well they all get to know one another during the short break.

Refugees of serendipity and luck, David and Christian realize that spending the holiday season together may be just what they both needed, when they both needed it. They find that apart from both just escaping from awful relationships, they also have much more in common.


Excerpt

We talked late into the night, moving onto Cathy’s special Christmas spirits. “Only to be drunk at this time of year,” she explained. She appeared with a tray of snowballs—yellow advocaat and lemonade, foaming with a little red cherry perched on top of each one. “This’ll send us to sleep,” she advised.

We took it in turns to throw more wood onto the fire, until we ran out. Cathy announced she was going to bed. She’d made up the spare room for Christian, and she pointed to the sofa in the corner for me.

I looked at her, feeling slightly light-headed from the alcohol, and started to ask if she’d show me how to make it up. Before I could say anything more, somehow she’d managed with just one hand, to turn it into a bed and cover it with perfect duvet and pillows.

“Thanks, Cathy. Night.” I stood up, a little unsteadily.

She kissed my cheek. “Night boys.” And she made her way up the stairs.

Tony followed, waving goodnight to us both.

And then there were two. I’ll admit I did consider, for a brief moment, just following Christian to his room. But I decided he wasn’t that sort of boy, and really, neither was I. So instead, I opted for an awkward goodnight hug/kiss, standing over the remains of the Indian takeaway in the middle of the floor. The gentle glow from the fire and a few candles around the room gave the only light. He kissed my cheek and I his, before lingering for a moment too long on his neck, holding the hug as long as I could manage without seeming creepy. I felt his breath on my neck and I felt myself responding in my boxer shorts. We both pulled back and stared into each other’s eyes, his warm breath mixing with mine as I breathed in and out. He smiled. I stared into his deep blue eyes and kissed him again, this time with our tongues exploring each other’s mouths. He gently bit my bottom lip and a jolt went to my groin. I felt his hand on my bum, trying to pull me towards him, despite our legs being a few feet apart, separated by the takeaway. We fell onto the sofa, his small frame landing gently on my muscly chest. He sat astride me, leaning down and continuing to kiss me. His hands caressed my pectoral muscles under my T-shirt, tweaking my nipples, harder and harder.

Maybe he was that sort of boy, and maybe I was too.

****

Christmas Serendipity will be published by JMS on 8 December.


Giveaway

Liam is offering up a copy of Christmas Serendipity to one lucky reader. Just leave a comment at the end of the post to enter.  The contest closes on Tuesday, December 10th at 11:59 pm EST.

  • By entering the giveaway, you’re confirming that you are at least 18 years old.
  • Winners will be selected by random number. No purchase necessary to win.  The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning.
  • If you win, you must respond to my email within 48 hours or another winner may be chosen. Please make sure that your spam filter allows email from Joyfully Jay.
  • Winners may be announced on the blog following the contest. By entering the contest you are agreeing to allow your name to be posted and promoted as the contest winner by Joyfully Jay.
  • Prizes will be distributed following the giveaway either by Joyfully Jay or the person/organization donating the prize.
  • By entering you are agreeing to hold Joyfully Jay harmless if the prize or giveaway in some way negatively impacts the winner.
  • Readers may only enter once for each contest.  Duplicate entries for the same giveaway will be ignored. In the event of technical problems with the blog during the contest, every effort will be made to extend the contest deadline to allow for additional entries.
  • Void where prohibited by law.
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