Bláithín O’Reilly Murphy’s story, Sealed with a Christmas Kiss, was part of the collection More Than Mistletoe, published on 25 October 2021.
Bláithín kindly answered a few of my questions.
1. Tell us a little about More Than Mistletoe.
More than Mistletoe is the debut Christmas anthology from The Christmas, of which I am 1/12. It’s a fabulous collection of twelve festive romance stories, all a little different, some very surprising but full of all the festive feels. Many are prequels, including my own, Sealed with a Christmas Kiss – which is a prequel to my novel It started with a Gift – out late 2022. And some are stand-alone shorty stories; all the stories are written by very talented writers.
2. What inspired the book?
The book was inspired by the fact the twelve of us had made this great connection while waiting to see who, amongst us, would win the Penguin Christmas Love Story Competition that we’d all entered. When the winner was announced, and the publishing contract awarded we twelve did not want that to be the end of our story and so we decided to put aside competition and collaborate together to produce and publish a collection of Christmas love stories. More than Mistletoe is our collective debut to the world!
3. Are you a plan, plan, plan writer or do you sit down and see where the words take you?
I’m a bit of both. I always have a short outline, with a few plots [major and minor] planned out. The overall story arc is in place before I begin, but often I don’t know or haven’t decided on key plot points until I’m actually writing them. I need the structure of where I’m headed with a story, but also like the surprise of the detail and the twists and turns that evolve naturally as my characters take hold of the pages.
4. Is there anything about the process of publishing a book that surprised you?
For me, it’s that the real work begins again after the book is published. As writers, you sometimes forget about all the ‘non-writing work’ that’s involved with being a writer! Marketing, admin, and promotion are not what you instantly think about when you start writing a book – and often it’s the largest part of it!
5. What do you do when you aren’t writing? What do you do to relax and get away from it all?
Don’t laugh, I love to organise – anything, everything! Think Monica from friends – but my ‘Monica Closet’ is organised within an inch of its life! I’m the person my friends call to organise their closets, kitchens, playrooms. I just love it! I’ll deliberately let little areas in my house get a little disorganised – just to have the joy of organising them. – Yes, I’m that person.
I also love to bake. Although I’m a stress baker – the worst kind. Cause I’m also a stress eater; you can see where this is going! I’ve been on a real pie kick lately. I recently tried two new pie recipes, a Fresh Strawberry Pie, that was described as a little slice of heaven and dear God it was! And for Thanksgiving, I got a little fancy with the crust of a Sea Salt Carmel Apple Pie. [Check out my insta for pics! https://www.instagram.com/whatbladidnext/ ]
I also love to read cookbooks – I’m in the middle of The A to Z of Pasta by Rachel Roddy; what that woman can’t do with words and food isn’t worth eating or reading about!
6. If you could only read one book for the rest of your life which book would it be?
Ok, first; what torture.
And honestly, the answer might be different tomorrow but today I will say Little Woman by Louisa May Alcott. It’s long been a firm favourite that’s stayed with me since childhood. Its got such depth, imagery, love, loss – brilliant female characters that grow into themselves.
7. I like to end my Q&As with the same question so here we go. During all the Q&As and interviews you’ve done what question have you not been asked that you wish had been asked – and what’s the answer?
Well now, that is a question. Now is that time when my mind is drawing a complete blank. As a writer, you’d imagine I have a lot to say or would like to say. It’s a bit like choosing only one book to read! Thinking of just one question is such pressure! Chose wrong and you could look like an egotistical plonker!
So lets go and sound like an egotistical plonker lead questions and answer – 😉
What’s the big ‘pie in the sky’ writer dream/ goal/ target that you have?
Ah! the writing empire I want!
That would be a massive catalogue of best selling titles. Multiple movie deals and a TV show or two. I want people to be excited about my releases! I want to evoke feelings and emotions in people and inspire others to write, create and participate in something outside their comfort zones. I want to leave a mark.
See, told ya – egotistical plonker right here!
About the Book
More than Mistletoe, the debut anthology from The Christmas Collective, is an eclectic and inclusive mix of stories, with swoon-worthy characters, second chances and happy endings.
Between the pages, you will discover classic romance, festive thrillers, LGBTQ+ love stories, hilarious romcoms and historical settings, these stories really do span the whole spectrum of festive fiction.
Featuring twelve up and coming new authors, this refreshing, diverse and romantic read, is a must-have for Christmas 2021 that will leave you reaching for your Christmas jumper, gingerbread cookies and a mug of hot chocolate!