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Candy Canes and Buckets of Blood by Heide Goody & Iain Grant - Book Tour

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Christmas is a time for families to come together.
Guin Roberts can’t think of anything worse than visiting a Christmas market with her new family. Guin is perfectly happy with own company and doesn’t want that disrupted by her wisecracking stepbrother and his earnest mum.
Their Christmas celebrations are invaded by a sleigh full of murderous elves. And it doesn’t matter if they’ve been naughty or nice — these elves are out for blood.
Can the family band together to survive the night? Or will Santa’s little helpers make mincemeat of them all?

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Guest Post


As writers, we always get asked “Where do you get your ideas?” and the answers are usually dull and basically boil down to ‘stolen from favourite books or from TV series with a little bit of an added twist from somewhere else’. That’s how, in the past, we came to write books that could be described as ‘Private Benjamin meets The Witches’ (A Spell in the Country) or ‘The Office meets Men in Black’ (Oddjobs). However, occasionally, ideas come from somewhere else. And it turns out that 2019 was The Year of Dreams!

Not many weeks apart, Heide and I both had dreams that inspired stories. Heide had a dream about a family in which one of the family members had decided to rent out part of their brain to someone else. I can’t remember what the mood of the dream was, whether it was funny or sombre or scary, but that concept turned into the book Jaffle Inc, which came out earlier this year.

My dream? Well, actually it was two dreams in the same night. Here goes.

Dream #1
My family was staying in a family room of a hotel.  I’m not sure which member of the family I was in the dream — whether the child in the bunk bed or the father in the double bed. It was dark outside and the lights in the room were down low. Whether I woke within the dream or simply became aware, I don’t know, but I saw a figure creeping across the floor. It was child-sized but thin-limbed and clearly inhuman. It wore a little hat and was very obviously a Christmas elf. I instinctively knew then (as one does in dreams) that it meant us harm. I also knew that if I looked behind the curtains or opened the room door, there would be dozens more of the creatures just waiting to come in and hurt us. In the dream, I stayed very still and pretended to be asleep.

Dream #2
It was Christmas and my family and I were in a quaint English town looking at gifts in shops. The shops had Georgian windows and old-fashioned counters and, frankly, we might as well have been on the set of a Charles Dickens film adaptation. This particular shop contained snowglobes and ornaments and trinkets. My wife or my mum (it’s a Freudian worry how much those two are interchangeable in my dreams but, as with the previous dream, I can’t be sure if I was boy-Iain or adult-Iain in the dream) was particularly interested in a snowglobe. She thought it would be a charming thing to have on the mantelpiece at home and she was trying to negotiate a price with the shopkeeper. It was at that point that I realised the shopkeeper was not a normal man. Yes, he was man-shaped and had the skin and the outer clothes of a man but, apart from that, he just wasn’t right. It was as if he was a glove puppet, made from human stuff but operated by something deeply inhuman. It was at that point I realised that it was getting dark, the town was shutting up for the evening and if my wife/mother bought that ornament then something very bad but entirely unspecified would happen.

When we wake from dreams, it’s often easy to work out where fragments of the dream come from. The hotel in the dream was partly based — the bunkbeds and lights at least — on a family holiday to Bournemouth some forty years ago. The room itself was definitely the hotel room I stayed in for the Fantasycon convention in Scarborough a couple of years ago. The elves? Their size and manner undoubtedly owed something to the Gremlins movies. The quaint town was possibly Chester or Castleton, with shades of the Birmingham Christmas market. And the man who was not a man? Maybe a smidge of the Other Father in the movie version of Coraline.

But these dreams gripped me even after waking. So I told Heide and I let them stew for a while and then, in a very short time, I wrote the first 20,000 words of a novel in which a perfectly ordinary family visit a Christmas market in a quaint English town and, finding themselves, stuck there after dark, take a room in the only hotel in town. They don’t get a good night’s sleep…

Author Bio

Heide lives in North Warwickshire with her husband and a fluctuating mix of offspring and animals. Iain lives in South Birmingham with his wife and a fluctuating mix of offspring and animals. They aren’t sure how many novels they’ve written together since 2011 but it’s a surprisingly large number.

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