1. What was the best Christmas present you ever received?
A Playmobile pirate ship. I was, I think, four or five. It was the most massive thing ever. My late and much beloved grandmother bought it (possibly on the cheap – there was no stopping that woman when she spotted a bargain) on something like the third stop of a seventeen-stop coach tour of Europe and carried it with great difficulty through seven countries. It was a regular feature in the bath for a good couple of years.
2. What was the best Christmas present you ever gave?
Two years back I spent a bit of my first publishing advance on a sorely-needed laptop for my wife. I am very bad at keeping secrets, but I managed to keep that one. The look on her face was fairly priceless.
3. If you could only give one book as a gift this Christmas what would it be?
Who on earth only gives one book? That seems to me to be an odd thing to do. Even dividing by the massive JFB bias I’d have to say at this point in time it’d be a toss-up between City of Stairs and Your Brother’s Blood. They’re the best books I’ve read in a while.
4. What is your favourite Christmas song?
Fairytale of New York. Has to be. Even though it has been done to death over the past half-decade or so. A close second is Tim Minchin’s ‘White Wine in the Sun’, which as an expat I can’t really listen to without it getting really dusty in the room.
5. If someone gives you a present you don’t like do you: a) only use it when you are with them b)Return it c) Re-gift it?
I have to say that I don’t really have a go-to in this scenario. I don’t really get presents from people who don’t have a clue what I want, like or use.
6. Christmas puddings – yay or nay?
At the risk of being thrown out of the country – nay. In fact, Christmas Puds are on a very short list of things I would rather not eat. I don’t even know what it is about it that I don’t like – it’s just not for me.
7. Finally, what are you currently working on?
A timely question! At the moment my dance card is relatively full. I have just shipped the last book of the Valhalla Saga off to my beta-reader. I am working on a handful of film things that are currently slorping their way through the vast mire of Development. Novel-wise, I’ve got two different things I’m playing with, and I am also waiting for news on a super secret thing that I cannot tell anyone about just yet. I also look forward to working on a half-stone pound Christmas weight gain, followed by the constructing of a solid January guilt trip.