9780751545586I bought my Christmas cards in the January sales. My first decorations were ordered from the internet in March. But I did, with some difficulty, manage to hold off eating my first mince pie until August.

In the past three years, I’ve morphed from Mrs Bah-Humbug! to Mrs Christmas and, to be honest, it was an overnight transformation. I used to be of the school that Christmas was all very well, but it would be nicer if it came round, say, once every five years; it always seemed to be such a lot of fuss, expense and organisation.

Then, when I moved publisher to Little, Brown, a few years ago, I was asked if I’d be interested in writing a Christmas novel. Like any obligingly author I said I’d give it a go – omitting to mention that I wasn’t actually all that keen on Christmas

So I set out to write my Christmas story in July. I created a heart-warming story and a lovely set of characters and Wrapped up in You was born. As I started to write it – in the hottest period of the year – I felt quite a buzz. A few chapters in and I suddenly found myself longing for snowy days, long wintry evenings, roaring fires. Then I realised that, for the first time in many years, I was positively looking forward to Christmas. In fact, I couldn’t wait for it to come. I got even more excited as publication day and, inevitably, Christmas came closer.

From someone who’d groaned when the festive goodies started to appear in the shops in September and who turned off the radio when Christmas songs came on, I was now dashing out every five minutes to buy more essential seasonal bits and bobs. Michael Bublé’s Christmas album played night and day. My partner, Lovely Kev, was beginning to despair about the amount of glitter and sparkly products that were being brought into the house on a daily basis. Previously having been an oasis of minimal good taste, my house was turning into a tacky Santa’s grotto. And I loved it.

After years of sitting on the sidelines of Christmas, I’d found myself slap-bang in the middle of it and fully embraced it. Why had I wasted so long in wishing the festive season away? Now my third Christmas novel, Calling Mrs Christmas, is out and we are fully into the festive swing.

In giving full reign to my previously undiscovered Christmas side, I found that I love putting the Christmas tree up, wrapping the presents, cooking all the Christmas food. And that’s where the idea for my book came from. In Calling Mrs Christmas, Cassie Smith, sets up her own business as a Christmas planner. It meant hours of research on the internet, looking at decorations and festive crafts – in June. Hurrah! Now I get to think about Christmas all year round, and if I could have any job other than being an author, then I’d like to be a Christmas planner too.

Now to help you with your Christmas purchases, Tesco Books are giving you the chance to win a £500 Tesco voucher! To win, tell us in the comments section below…

What is your favourite thing about Christmas?

I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas!
Love Carole

Buy your copy of Calling Mrs Christmas in store today! 

Terms and Conditions

1. This prize draw is for one person to win £500 worth of Tesco vouchers

2. The Winner will be selected at random from the entries received in accordance with these terms and conditions by a member of the Little, Brown Book Group Marketing team whose decision will be final.

3. The Winner may see their name posted on the Tesco Books Blog and possibly other websites and Twitter accounts affiliated with the prize and Carole Matthews.

4. There is no purchase necessary to enter.

5. The prize draw opens at 10.00am BST on 24th October and closes at 11.59 GMT on 29th November 2013. Any entries received outside these specified times and dates will not be eligible for entry into the competition.

6. The prize draw is open to anyone aged 16 or over except employees of Little, Brown Book Group, their families, or anyone professionally connected to the competition either themselves or through their families.

7. Only one entry per person allowed. Second or subsequent entries will be disqualified. Entries will not be accepted via agents, third parties or in bulk.

8. Little, Brown Book Group is not responsible for contacting or forwarding prizes to entrants who provide unclear or incomplete information or for entries lost, misdirected, delayed or destroyed.

9. Little, Brown Book Group reserves the right to alter the prizes or cancel the prize draw without notice.  No cash alternatives to prizes will be provided.

10. The Winner will be contacted via email within two weeks of the closing date.

11. By entering the competition each entrant agrees to be bound by these terms and conditions.

12. This competition is being organised by Little, Brown Book Group 100 Victoria Embankment, London, EC4Y 0DY.