Today I’m thrilled to welcome West Camel and to learn more about his Christmases past and present. I really have enjoyed reading these posts as I put them together, I hope you have too.
What is your favourite Christmas memory?
I once introduced a Swiss/French boyfriend to an English Christmas. For him, back home, all the excitement would be over once he’d gone to bed on Christmas Eve. It was so great to show him how the pleasure extends for days here.
Where will you be spending Christmas?
Here in London with friends, who host me most years. I live in the Stockwell area of South London, so I do the half-hour walk to their place in Pimlico through the deserted streets and across the river. It’s eerie and strange – but at the other end there’s a feast.
Do you have any Christmas traditions?
The tree only goes up once I’ve finished work for the year. So that can be as late as Christmas Eve. Computer goes off and I dash out to get a tree – must be real, must be big. I nearly always haggle down the greengrocer (‘they’re selling them off at half-price outside the tube station’, etc, etc) and get a cheap one.
What was your best ever Christmas present?
When I was 10 my parents bought a piano. I was told my actual present was the lessons, but no one else played, so the instrument was all mine! I’d longed for one for years and years. In the week leading up to Christmas I really believed the big object in the hall, draped with a blanket, was a cocktail cabinet for the neighbour. But on Christmas morning it was unveiled.
What was your worst ever Christmas present?
I do remember going to my grandparents to exchange presents one year, when I was around 18, and a committed goth. I was chatting and had their present, unopened, in my hands – it was soft, thick, a fair size. My brother said something, and I looked up to see him wearing the most hideous, garishly coloured body-warmer I’d ever seen. I froze – knowing that now I had to unwrap the body warmer that was in my hands, put it on and say it was lovely, just as my brother was doing. I pulled apart the paper and found a simple black sweater – which perfectly suited my goth attire! So not my worst-ever present, but it was a close shave…
Favourite Christmas tipple?
I’m a big fan of mulled wine. I love making it, drinking it outside, drinking it inside…
What are you hoping for this Christmas?
Mainly two weeks of holiday – reading, friends, family, lots of good meals, cinema trips maybe. Maybe even the ballet. And late nights and late mornings.
Have you got a Christmas message you would like to share with readers and bloggers?
December marks the first anniversary of the publication of my debut novel, Attend. Bloggers and readers have loved it – and I’m hugely gratefully for the messages of appreciation and for all the great reviews, interviews and features. The blogging community is hugely important to helping get odd, genre-bending books like mine to a wider public. More power to your reading elbows! Have a wonderful festive period all of you and keep up the wonderful work in 2020.
About West Camel
Born and bred in south London – and not the Somerset village with which he shares a name – West Camel worked as an editor in higher education and business before turning his attention to the arts and publishing. He has worked as a book and arts journalist, and was editor at Dalkey Archive Press, where he edited the Best European Fiction 2015anthology, before moving to new press Orenda Books just after its launch.
He currently combines his work as editor at Orenda Books with writing and editing a wide range of material for various arts organisations, including ghost-writing a New-Adult novel and editing The Riveter magazine for the European Literature Network. He has also written several short scripts, which have been produced in London’s fringe theatres, and was longlisted for the Old Vic’s 12 playwrights project. Attend is his first novel.
Books published by Orenda Books
My thanks to West Camel for taking part in this feature.
The giveaway includes all the books featured in the above photo, 18 fabulous books in total. The competition is open to UK residents only. Competition will close on midnight on the 19th December and please note the prize will be sent directly from the publishers (hopefully in time for Christmas) and you must be following my blog.
To enter click on the link and good luck Orenda Books Christmas bundle 📚🎁🎄