…our guest blogger is Ananda Braxton-Smith. As well as writing YA fiction and non fiction, Ananda sings Appalachian and bluegrass music. Her other claim to fame is that she was born on Valentine’s day.
What does Christmas mean to you?
It means family. And great piles of food. And another attempt at a different sort of Christmas ‘tree’. Last year I built a bamboo pyramid and hung it with shells and starfish and tiny buddhas. This year I’m just going to drag a big old branch inside, and make glittery cards with words on them. I’ll hang one word a day and I’ll start six days before Christmas and finish six days after. Words for important things like love, of course, and peace,
and the names of my family—but also words like yes! and yum!
And maybe onomatopoeia, too.
What was your favourite Christmas present ever?
That’s hard. I’ve had soooo
many Christmases now. But my hubby bought me a celtic cross years ago I loved for a long time before I lost it. And a big bag with a fabulously coloured Ganesh (the Hindu god of removing obstacles) from my sister-in-law is still one of my fave things
And anything my sons manage is great.
What was your worst Christmas present ever?
Soap. I always think it’s vaguely insulting.
What book will you be reading this Christmas?
Origin of Species by Charles Darwin.
I know, alright, but I like that sort of thing. It relaxes me to have somebody else thinking so hard. Also, I keep reading people talking about his theory of Natural Selection and they all get sooo het up. I have to find out for myself.
Mark Twain’s autobiography. He wrote it and told his lawyers it wasn’t to be published until 100 years after he died! It’s just been released.
And I hope to catch up with some of the books from the kennel I haven’t had time to read this year.
If you ever had the chance to meet Santa what would you say?
Why didn’t you ever bring me my black pearl, my wolfhound or my rowboat?
Did you ever appear on Santa’s ‘naughty’ list…if so, what did you do?
I ate his cake. Still do. Now I drink his Baileys too.
Did you ever sneak a peek at your Christmas presents?
No. I like surprises. Nice ones. I do shake, rattle and smell the parcels, though, all the time hoping there’s no fine glassware. That’s only natural.
What’s your favourite Christmas song?
‘Santa Baby’ by Eartha Kitt.
Oh, and the last verse of ‘Silent Night’.
Have you ever kissed someone under the mistletoe?
Not lately. Mistletoe’s hard to come by, and the plastic version just doesn’t seem right. But I do kiss people under the mountain ash.
What food do you always eat too much of at Christmas time?
What don’t I? Great big platters of king prawns, gravelax (a salmony thing my mum makes), éclairs, pavlova, cherries, you name it. If it’s on the table I eat too much of it. It’s only natural, isn’t it, like the shaking of presents.
If you could invite 5 people to your Christmas dinner who would they be?
Do they have to be alive? No? Well, Jesus I guess. (I’d invite Gautama Buddha but he probably wouldn’t come because of my great attachment to food and presents. And he might be a bit quiet.) Then there’s Stephen Fry; he’d be good value. Billy Connolly. Elizabeth the First … and her master chef.
Which reindeer is your favourite and why?
From the literature available, it’s a bit hard to tell what each reindeer is like, personality-wise, but I’ve always had soft spot for Donder. I don’t know why. I don’t think he would have been the sort of reindeer who’d laugh at others, or call them names.
That Vixen, now, she’s a different story. You can just tell.
If you had your own reindeer what would you call it?
I would call my reindeer Ward, so I could shout On Ward! On Ward!
What decoration do you put on the top of your Christmas tree?
I have an angel. She’s woven from raffia and is sprayed gold. She is so old her gold is rubbing off now, but I don’t care.
Read more about Ananda and her books at the Black Dog Book website.
Don’t forget to leave a comment below for your chance to win a fabulous Christmas prize pack. Leave a comment on any of our posts between the 9th-20th December for your chance to win. The winner will be announced on Tuesday, 21st December.