15 December: Natasha Carthew

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Author Natasha Carthew joins our Christmas calendar!

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Natasha Carthew is from Cornwall where she lives with her girlfriend of nineteen years. She has had three books of poetry published. Her first novel Winter Damage was nominated for the 2014 Carnegie Medal and shortlisted for several national awards including the prestigious Branford Boase Award 2014. The Light That Gets Lost published in Winter 201.

Name three things on your Christmas list this year! Book Vouchers (behind every good writer is a great reader); new hiking boots (I walk everywhere and my old boots are full of holes); a puppy (really!)

Christmas is a time of family traditions – what are your best (or worst!) family traditions? The best is hunting down the Christmas tree; as kids we used to ‘find’ one in the local woods, but these days my girlfriend and I spend a full day travelling between barns, farms and garden centres in pursuit of perfection. I also love foraging for things like fir cones and holly to make into decorations.

What is your favourite story to read at Christmas? Winter Damage by me! I wrote this book outside in a particularly cold winter and because it was my first work of fiction I read it every Christmas to mind me of that time. It is set in a snowy Cornwall over two weeks running up to Christmas so technically it is a Christmas book and is best read in front of a roaring log fire (and with a box of tissues.)17205326

If you could have Christmas dinner with anyone (alive today or person from history) who would it be? All my favourite writers, songwriters and musicians so we could have a huge party filled with readings and acoustic music (too many to mention here).

(Love the sound of this; what a brilliant idea!)

You have often spoken about your love for the Cornish countryside and the outdoors. What would be your ideal view if looking out of your window from home at Christmas time? The one I am lucky to look at every day; green fields, woodland and part of Bodmin Moor, but perhaps it could do with a little more snow, especially at Christmas.

You write both poetry and prose. Your novels have been described as ‘lyrical’ and having their ‘own poetry.’ Do you think it’s possible to 9781408835876separate the two forms of writing and if you had to choose between the two, which would it be? At this time in my career I would choose fiction writing. I’m a storyteller and I find sometimes I can’t say all I want to with poetry, but saying that I am working on a longer, book-length poem at the moment. I don’t think there’s any need to truly separate poetry and prose and thankfully readers are becoming more open to untried/lyrical writing such as mine.

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Reader’s question from children at the Inkpots Writers’ Hut; we are often told keeping a journal can help our writing. Do you keep a journal? If not, what do you do to help inspire you? Keeping a journal or ideas book can definitely help with your writing. I have a memory book where I stick things like photos, ticket stubs and flight tickets which I have been doing since I was really young and I also include any poetry I have written so the book records a kind of timeline of my life (like a diary). I also have a beautiful leather-bound journal where I write ideas for new books and collect inspirational quotes and pictures for settings, characters or whatever.

(Great advice!)

Turkey or goose? Nut Roast (I’m Veggie).

Real or fake tree? Real!

Mince pies or Christmas pudding? Mince Pies (Homemade).

Stockings – end of the bed or over the fireplace? Fireplace.

Christmas Eve or New Year’s Eve? Christmas Eve.

Thank you for joining our festive author calendar! Happy Christmas!

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Find out more about Natasha at www.bloomsbury.com and follow her on Twitter @natashacarthew.

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