If I had written this book at any other time in my life, I’m not sure I would have written it at all. As a result, it was a much different book from the one I had intended to commit to paper. I’ve had the title in my head for years because I’ve been a Roy Wood fan since the Glam Rock gods hit Top of the Pops, I just didn’t have the story to go with it. I let it sit there hoping something would germinate and got as far as a sort of ‘Brigadoon’ magical land springing up where it was Christmas every day. But I couldn’t summon up the energy to start it with that plotline. Then just before last Christmas my father died. He loved Christmas and for him not to be there with us enjoying those familiar traditions that we never tire of, made me realise how precious each one is and grateful that we had enjoyed so many together, savoured the ‘here and now’, which became a major theme of the book.
I don’t plan so I just started writing to see where my brain took me and was surprised that it went down a less magical route than I’d originally intended. I could have put off writing this book for a year but I needed somewhere to put a lot of emotion in early January and it’s no exaggeration to say that I wrote the first draft of this book in just less than three weeks, it poured out of me.
The local youth choir had held a charity auction to win the chance to name a character in this book and the guy who won owns a massive factory that produces scones – something that also became a huge part of the story. He wanted his late father to be named in the book. As I was writing, my own dad slipped inside the pages too, so there’s a lot of ‘father/son/daughter’ content in there. But not in a sad way, I didn’t want this book to be anything less than joyful; it’s a celebration of life and loved ones, friendship and kindness. I didn’t even realise until it was pointed out to me by my editor that there isn’t even a villain in it.
Had I found the idea to write a book about six people being ‘locked down’ with each other weeks later, I would have dismissed it outright as being too close to what was happening in the real world and then I would have missed out on writing the best thing I think I’ve ever written. It’s the sweetest kind of lockdown, a cosy bubble where everyone feels safe and warm and ready to make the best of a situation they can’t avoid. A group that take from and give to each other and learn that the here and now is all we are certain of and that what makes Christmas truly special is the people you spend it with.
I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day by Milly Johnson is published 29th October by Simon & Schuster in hardback, priced £14.99.
Motherhood was never in my plans. I was an only child with no instinct to coo over the babies friends had – they looked far too much work for no payback. Then, in my late thirties, an ‘I-want-a-baby’ switch went on inside me. I was pregnant a month after my husband and I decided to have a family, and a month before our marriage started to fall apart. As well as all the many changes happening to my body the fact that my life would never be the same again hit me like a ton of bricks... to read more click HERE
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