It’s Day 10 of my Twelve Books for Christmas blog, where I introduce you to twelve romance books to warm your heart and make you feel all Christmassy. 🙂 They’ll all make wonderful presents for a friend, or you could even treat yourself. Today’s festive treat is Christmas by the Coast by international bestselling author, Mandy Baggot. Isn’t the cover gorgeous? Let’s find out a bit more about the book, then Mandy is going to talk to us about researching the story.
After a terrible heartbreak, Harriet Cookson worked hard to build her life back up. Now she has a dependable boyfriend, a great job and a decent flatshare. But when her beloved grandmother passes away, Harriet drops everything to fly out to the Hamptons to comfort her grieving grandpa.
Christmas is coming and as she arrives on the sandy beaches of her childhood in Montauk, Long Island, Harriet spots someone she never expected to see again – her ‘one that got away’, ex-soldier Mack Wyatt. Now, Mack is determined to win Harriet back and show her that the life she’s been living might be the wrong happily-ever-after.
Buy Christmas by the Coast:- https://amzn.to/3nvGg9r
Welcome, Mandy, Montauk sounds a fascininating place, and I loved the story. The setting and characters felt very authentic. Can you tell us a little about how you did your research for the book.
I’ve written so many Christmas books, but, up until now, I’d never written one beachside before. My Christmas books to date have taken place in the most romantic festive cities – London, New York, and Paris but this year I decided to do things a little differently – enter The Hamptons!
Montauk is the setting for Christmas by the Coast and, unfortunately due to Covid-19, I couldn’t fly over there and visit to soak up the sights and sounds for myself. For this novel I had to rely a lot on the experiences of others – through guidebooks and You Tube videos – to try to get the location as accurate as I could. I watched couples doing a foodie tour of Montauk and I did a virtual climb of the lighthouse with a family on vacation – yes, really! I am so thankful to everyone who uploads these absolute gems to the internet because without them writers wouldn’t be able to get a full sense of what being in a location is like. Yes, being there in person is best but watching a video is definitely a whole lot better than simply looking at photos.
My story centres around a community hub, a tiki bar on the beach that’s seen slightly better days and is in complete contrast to the wealthier establishments New Yorkers flock to for weekend breaks. The Montauk I wrote about was all about the people who live there all year round, who exist differently in the winter when the tourists have gone home. The Rum Coconut is meant to be that warming, comfort blanket of a place whose door is always open, continuing to provide the kind of small town welcome it’s been giving since it was established. And my primary focus was on the quirky characters who live around this lake at Fort Pond and how they all fit together.
Another important part of my book was Mack’s story. He’s the hero in Christmas by the Coast and he is an amputee. There was a whole other level to the research needed to write his story as authentically as I could. I listened to ex-servicemen, I watched more You Tube videos of amputees having their prosthetic legs fitted, swimming, running, riding motorbikes, all the things I wanted Mack to do and wanted to write about with the best degree of accuracy. I needed to know how the practicalities worked. How does that prosthesis move? What can’t it do? What’s it made of? What different types are there? How does Mack feel about it? All my research was invaluable, because I don’t think you can or should write about a situation you aren’t able to live yourself without really learning from those who do live it.
So, what is the essence of Christmas by the Coast? Well, it’s essentially about family, friendships, and new beginnings. It’s a blanket-covered swing on the porch around a firepit, it’s festive cocktail competitions to win a three-tier cheesecake, it’s a clam bake beneath the stars, a trip around the lake with Santa and maybe a second chance at love…
Thanks so much for sharing that fascinating info with us, Mandy. I’ve read and loved Christmas by the Coast. If you fancy reading it too, you can get a copy here: https://amzn.to/3nvGg9r
Mandy Baggot is an international bestselling and award-winning romance writer represented by Tanera Simons of The Darley Anderson Literary, TV and Film Agency.
Mandy is best-known for her laugh-out-loud romantic comedies featuring strong heroines, gorgeous heroes and always that happy-ever-after!
The winner of the Innovation in Romantic Fiction award at the UK’s Festival of Romance, her novel, One Wish in Manhattan, was also shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists’ Association Romantic Comedy Novel of the Year award in 2016. Mandy’s books have so far been translated into Bulgarian, Czech, German, Hungarian and Italian.
Mandy loves the Greek island of Corfu, wine, cheese, Netflix, country music and handbags. Also a singer, she has taken part in ITV1’s Who Dares Sings and The X-Factor. Most recently, Mandy took part in BBC1’s Ready Steady Cook with Greek celebrity chef, Akis Petretzikis.
Mandy is a member of the Society of Authors and lives near Salisbury, Wiltshire, UK with her husband and two daughters.
Visit Mandy’s website at www.mandybaggot.com or follow her on Twitter @mandybaggot, Instagram @mandybaggot and Facebook @mandybaggotauthor.
Thanks for dropping to talk to us, Mandy. Wishing you a very Merry Christmas. 😉
Karen King – Writing about the light and dark of relationships.
Amazon Author Page: https://tinyurl.com/y2q5audb