Sunday, December 22, 2013

[12 Days of Romance] The Santa Next Door by Stephanie Cage #giveaway #interview

Sue Edmonds swore off men after her feckless husband left her struggling to care for their four-year-old daughter Trudi and maintain their ramshackle Victorian home. But her mysterious neighbor might tempt her to change her mind. 

Bryn Thomas once found peace and happiness in music but that was before his heart was broken. Now it stirs up painful memories and provides little comfort. That is until he finds himself sharing Christmas carols with his young neighbor and her beautiful mother. 

As Sue sees Bryn playing Santa, she is touched to discover his gentler side. Can she hope for a Christmas miracle and the fulfillment of Trudi's Christmas wish for a dad?

Having been born and educated in the South of England, including a degree in English Literature at Oxford University and an MA in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University, Stephanie Cage now lives and writes in the beautiful county of Yorkshire. She is a member of the Romantic Novelists' Association with three published e-books to date: The Santa Next Door and Desperate Bid from The Wild Rose Press and Perfect Partners from Crimson Romance.  Perfect Partners is now out in paperback too, so she finally feels like a 'proper' writer!  When she is not writing, she also enjoys dance and musical theatre and is a frequent guest on Book It, a literary show on local radio.

Mulled grape juice
This is a great drink to serve at parties for the people who have to drive home!  It has the flavour of Christmas but without the alcoholic content of mulled wine.  Take a carton of red grape juice and a carton of orange juice (around a liter of each).  Mix them in a saucepan along with a few cinnamon sticks, a sprinkling of grated nutmeg and ginger, and a couple of halved satsumas or clementines.  Simmer gently for around half an hour, until the spices have thoroughly infused.  Strain and serve while still steaming hot. 

1)    What inspired you to write a holiday romance story?
The Santa Next Door was inspired by a very bad drawing I made in the snow.  I had the idea of drawing a snow devil instead of a snow angel, and then I started to imagine a hero who saw Christmas and all its trappings very differently from other people, and to imagine what might have happened to dampen his view of Christmas, and what it might take to make him happy again.  That’s how Bryn, Sue and her adorable four-year-old, Trudi came into being, and then I just wanted to tell their story.  

2)    What has been your favorite holiday-themed romance to read?
I don’t know!  My favourite book is mostly the one I’m reading at the time, and right now that’s Vonnie Davis’ Santa Wore Leathers.  It’s feisty and funny, and I’m enjoying the exotic feel of Christmas in Florida – for a Brit used to the holiday season being damp grey with the occasional flake of snow, sunshine is something of a novelty.

3)    Do you have any special holiday traditions?
Our best tradition when I was growing up was always having steak and chips on Christmas day because my family weren’t huge fans of turkey.  Then, for a while, I always went to the pub and then to the midnight carol service with one of my old school friends, to see in Christmas, but that one seems to have fallen by the wayside too.  Maybe it’s time to start a new holiday tradition... if that’s not a contradiction in terms! 

4)    What was your favorite childhood toy?
My computer. I was such a geek!  

5)    What do you do on a holiday eve?
A Christmas movie and mulled wine.  And a frantic tidy-up before the family come over on Christmas day!
Snow ball fight or Snow Angels?
Snowball fight – or snow devils!
Sleigh Ride or Skiing?
Sleigh ride – I’d probably break my leg if I tried skiing. 
Hot Apple Cider or Eggnog?
I usually go for mulled wine, but failing that, hot apple cider.
Fave Holiday Song
Santa Baby – it’s cute, funny, great to dance to, and has been recorded by singers from Eartha Kitt and Mae West to Madonna and Kylie. 
Fave Holiday Dish
Christmas pudding with custard.
Fave Holiday Movie
Can I have two? Arthur Christmas and Olive, The Other Reindeer.
Fave Holiday Decoration

A bauble decorated with a picture of Sydney Opera House. 


  1. Hi Melinda! Thanks for having me. Hope you're all set for Christmas now!

  2. Hi Stephanie,
    Congratulations on the release of your book. Your holiday eve of a movie and wine sounds great. I spend mine helping my mom wrap presents. We do usually have a Christmas movie on while we're wrapping though. Best wishes for great sales.

  3. Thanks Katherine! We usually try to get our presents wrapped the weekend before Christmas, though we don't always succeed!