Tuesday, October 22, 2013


1) Can you give us a brief overview of Coming Home for Christmas?

Coming Home for Christmas is a story about family, but it’s also about finding that one person who makes everything in life right.  Allie Richfield has grown up with her sister and mother in a lovely, but small, family.  She takes a job as House Manager for the Ashford estate where she encounters a larger and more dysfunctional family, The Marleys. 

Heading it up is the 92-year-old grandmother, Pippa, who has three grandchildren: Robert, who controls the Marley home and wants to sell it, Kip, a well-known playboy, and Sloane, a divorced mother of two children. 

They’re all coming home for one last Christmas gathering before Robert sells Ashford out from under them.  All Allie has to do is plan it.  What she finds out is that pulling off this last family Christmas might be harder than it seems, and the choices she makes while at Ashford may be the biggest ones of her life.

2) What's your favorite quality about your heroine/hero?

I like how Allie isn’t intimidated by the Marley’s money.  This family is extremely wealthy, and, while she feels some insecurity internally, she doesn’t treat them any differently because of their wealth.

3) What made you want to write Coming Home for Christmas?

I heard a song by The Frames called “Falling Slowly,” and Robert Marley was born.  From there, I wrote the story around him.

4) How long did it take you to write Coming Home for Christmas? What is your writing process like?

Well, I’d only just had my second son, so some days I was writing and many others I was tending to two boys, my eldest only being three at that time.  It’s a blur.  I’d say, it took about a year.

In terms of writing process, usually I get some sort of inspiration either from a song or a play on words, a picture… lots of things.  Once I get the idea, I play around with characters and build them.  Then, I put a loose plot together, set the characters in that plot, and watch them go!  How they handle a particular situation is related to each character’s personality.

If I get stuck, I listen to music.  I keep everything written down across tons and tons of spiral notebooks, whichever one is handy.  I use them like scratch paper almost.

5) Your book is about family and the holidays. What’s your favorite Christmas tradition in your family?

My favorite Christmas tradition is building a gingerbread house each year with my boys.  You may even find a reference to it in Coming Home for Christmas!

6) If Hollywood comes calling and asks you to sign over the movie rights for Coming Home for Christmas, who would you like to see play Allie, Robert, Kip, Sloane and Pippa?

(This was tough because I didn't have anyone in mind when I wrote the characters, so I had to search for people who looked like what was in my head.  Hair and eye color can change, but here are the closest ones...)  

Allie:  Emilie de Ravin

Robert:  Paul Walker or Chris Pine

Kip:  Alex Pettyfer

Sloane:  Kristin Scott Thomas (I know she isn't Sloane's age, but her face was almost exactly what I saw when I was writing Sloane.)

Pippa:  Ellen Burstyn

7) How do you think of titles?

I will sometimes find a play on words or other idiom to use as inspiration for the story, but this particular title was chosen by my publisher.

8) Tell us about your cover art design. How involved were you in its creation? Was the concept yours or did you rely on a professional?

The publisher handled the cover design.  

9) What are your thoughts on love scenes in books? Do you prefer to read/write sweet/romantic encounters between your heroes and heroines
or spicy ones?

I prefer sweet as I would rather leave it to the imagination, and I tend to be on the more conservative side personally.1

10) Why do you think Christmas is such a romantic time of year? Do you have a favorite holiday romance (book or movie) that you like to reread/rewatch every year?

I think Christmas is about family and coming home, and what’s more romantic than finding that one person who will love you enough to help you build a family and a home?  I think that’s why it’s only fitting to think of romance when we think of Christmas.

I don’t have a favorite romantic Christmas movie/book that I watch/read every year, but I do really like the movie Love Actually, which is set at Christmas.  I loved the idea of peeking into the lives of all of those random faces at the airport and seeing their relationships. 

11) What are you working on now?

Book two for Bookouture, about a city girl who comes home to her roots.

12) Who are the authors who inspire you?

I love Sophie Kinsella/Madeleine Wickham, Jill Mansell, Harriet Evans, and Emily Giffin to name a few

13) What genres do you like to read? Do you stick to one or are you eclectic in your reading tastes?

I tend to read all variations of women’s fiction, nonfiction if it involves travel in some way, but I’m a little eclectic as well, and I’ll venture out if the book grabs me.

14) What was the last book you read that really WOWed you?

An Offer You Can’t Refuse by Jill Mansell;  I just loved this book.  There wasn’t one thing in particular, it was a symphony of small things that just totally worked for me.

15) If you could invite any five people (living or dead) over for a dinner party, who would they be and why?

1.  Kate Middleton – She lives so far from me that she’d have to stay the night, and I’d get to rifle through her suit case. (She’s my fashion idol.)
2.  Ellen Degeneres – It wouldn’t be a party without her!
3.  Bill Bryson – I want to see if he’s as funny in real life as he is on paper.
4.  (Another Bill!) Bill Cosby – His stories are fantastic.
5.  Julia Child – I don’t cook, so we’d need some good food!

Fast and Flirty 

Who (besides your husband) would you like to kiss under the mistletoe?
Absolutely no one.  My husband is that guy.

Favorite holiday beverage?
Beer. (But not regular domestic; usually imported or microbrew.)

Which of Santa’s lists will you be on this year (Naughty or Nice?)
Nice, of course! ;)

Favorite holiday tune?
All I Want for Christmas is You, Mariah Carey

Favorite edible treat at Christmastime?
Chocolate Orange

Best holiday gift you ever received?
A six-pack of Hoegaarden

Dream place to spend Christmas?
London or New York

Author Bio:  When Jenny Hale graduated college, one of her friends said, "Look out for this one; she's going to be an author one day." Despite being an avid reader and a natural storyteller, it wasn't until that very moment that the idea of writing novels occurred to her.

Sometimes our friends can see the things that we can't.

While she didn't start straight away, that comment sowed a seed and several years, two children, and hundreds of thousands of words later, Jenny completed a novel that she felt was worthy of publication.

She is currently at work on her next novel.

When Jenny's not writing, I'm a District Teacher of English to Speakers of Other Languages, a mother of two boys, and a wife to a very supportive husband.

Book Blurb:  Christmas is a time for family... isn't it?

Allie Richfield loves Christmas, so when she lands a job as House Manager for the amazing Ashford Estate—which includes organizing the Marley family festivities—she is in her element. With a budget bigger than her life savings and a team of staff, how hard can it be?
As one-by-one she meets the Marleys, she’s about to find out...

Allie’s new boss, Robert, might be gorgeous, but he’s also colder than the snow outside and refuses to come home for Christmas. Robert’s playboy brother, Kip, flirts with her relentlessly; and his sister, Sloane, arrives home with baggage—both the divorce-kind and the Louis Vuitton kind. Their ninety-two year old grandmother, Pippa, spends her day grumbling at them all from her mobility scooter.

With Robert intending to sell Ashford, it’s the Marley’s last chance to create some happy memories in their family home—and Allie is determined to make it happen... even if it takes a little Christmas magic! With the festive spirit in full swing, she might even discover a little happiness of her own...

Buy Coming Home for Christmas:

Connect with Jenny Hale Online: 





  1. Sounds like a super cute holiday read. I look forward to checking it out.

    I'm also a big fan of "Love Actually." While it's not exclusively a Christmas movie, it always puts me in the holiday spirit when I watch.

    Congrats on the new release.

    1. Thank you so much, Laura! I really liked how Love Actually was set at Christmas, and the holiday was just in the background. Christmas is a nice backdrop for the themes of both family and romance.

  2. love the cover and premise for the novel. Hope it does really well for you. Can't believe your fave present is a 6 pack, mine might be that too, but not of beer!!! Good luck!

    1. Thank you, Susan. I do love Hoegaarden, and for a while we couldn't get it where I live, so the hubby hunted it down as a surprise. ;)

  3. Great interview!

    This book sounds like such a fun read. What's better than a chick lit book based around the holidays??? I can't wait to get my hands on this one!

    1. In my opinion, there's NOTHING better than a chick lit book at Christmas! ;) I hope you enjoy it!

  4. This is definitely going on my wishlist! And Thanks for the interview! I love finding out what authors read! A lot of what I read is recommended by authors. LOL OMG I'd love to have dinner with Ellen! I like all sorts or love scenes but the sweet ones I sometimes prefer those as well. It depends on my mood.
    Thanks so much for sharing ladies!
    Tobi <3

    1. You're welcome, Tobi! Hope you check out Coming Home for Christmas! If so, you'll have to let me know what you think! I'm on facebook and twitter. :)

  5. I love family holiday stories! I'm a mama author, too, Jenny, and I'm so impressed that you wrote this after your son was born! Great interview!

    1. I'm glad you liked the interview, Samantha! My favorite time to write is after I put my boys to bed; I lie down in the hallway between their rooms with my laptop. The light acts as a nightlight, and they fall asleep while I write. Hope you check out Coming Home for Christmas!

  6. Great interview! Coming Home for Christmas sounds like a great read and I LOVE the cover! :)

  7. I love Hoegaarden too - Belgium beer rocks! Your book sounds fab - looking forward to reading it.

    1. Glad to hear it, Meredith! You may even find a reference to Hoegaarden in the book! ;)

  8. Great cover and I love the choices of actors to play the characters in Coming Home for Christmas!

  9. Sounds like a fun read - and just in time to get in the mood for the holidays! I wanna come to that dinner party - with both the Bills and Ellen it would be sure to be a laugh a minute! :)

  10. What a fun interview and the book sounds adorable! Christmas stories are just about the top of my list.