JFB Christmas Advent Day 15 – A quick Q and A with Sebastien De Castell

de Castell, SebastienFirstly apologies. Due to illness in the JFB office we were unable to open Day 16 of the Jo Fletcher Books Christmas Advent. But fear not, today you will get two treats from our lovely advent, starting with a quick Q and A with Sebastien De Castell, author of Traitor’s Blade.

1. What was the best Christmas present you ever received?

My brother John and his lovely wife Terry once gave me this long, wool coat for Christmas. I had no idea what it was (turns out, it was a greatcoat) and couldn’t imagine what I was going to do with it. Over the years I kept finding myself in all kinds of odd situations – working on a night shoot as an actor, travelling somewhere far away, needing to look formal at a meeting while not freezing to death – and every time I found myself turning to that coat. A few years after I got it I started working on a fantasy novel where I wanted my characters to have something different from the usual knight’s armour. You can probably guess how the rest goes.

2. What was the best Christmas present you ever gave?

I found one of those blank books they sell at stationary stores but this one had a strange silvery medallion on the front and all the pages were of a sort of woven blue cloth-like material. I was often on the road as a musician in those days, leaving Christina (now my wife) alone on weekends. I found a bunch of different little presents – weird things like a poetry keychain or a lighter shaped like a knight’s helmet – and placed each one between two of the pages which I sewed together. I then wrote a very short (terrible) poem as a kind of clue for each one so when I was on the road Christina could have a little surprise whenever she wanted.

3. If you could only give one book as a gift this Christmas what would it be?

I think it would have to be The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón. It’s a terrific story that has something in it for everyone and it also happens to be about a secret cemetery of forgotten books – who wouldn’t want to read about that?

4. What is your favourite Christmas song?

Ugh. I’m not a Christmas carol kind of guy. That said, I once had to sing and play Feliz Navidad for about twenty-five minutes non-stop so I’m going with that one.

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 usually try to tell them honestly that it’s not something I can see myself using but appreciate the thought behind it. I’d rather they get the money back and spend it on something that someone will truly enjoy. That’s why books make such great gifts – they’re easy to store and you never know when it might be just the thing to inspire you!

6. Christmas puddings – yay or nay?

Desserts that aren’t made of chocolate are an abomination and must be eliminated from our culture and our world.

7. Finally, what are you currently working on?

A few things like . . .

1. Final edits on Knight’s Shadow (with the delightful Jo Fletcher herself!)
2. Writing the draft of Tyrant’s Throne (working title of Greatcoats Book 3)
3. Just wrote the first draft of a fun dark YA portal fantasy with three other collaborators that’s kind of a Narnia meets Game of Thrones sort of thing.
4. Waiting to hear back about the future fate of Spellslinger, my other fantasy series.
5. Desperately hoping for time to get back to my strange mystery novel that I’m lovingly referring to as ‘Nancy Drew meets Memento.’
6. Learning some rather odd Top 40 songs for a couple of musical gigs coming up.
7. Planning a move to France in 2015 for a couple of months.
8. Writing this list and realizing I’m going to have to cut back somewhere . . .

Merry Christmas!

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