Key festive titles from publishers are now on bookshop shelves, including a number of new titles from big-name authors.
Two such offerings are follow-on stories in bestselling series. Giovanna Fletcher, whose Dream a Little Dream (Penguin, £7.99) has sold 43,160 copies since its release in June, according to Nielsen BookScan data, has written Dream a Little Christmas Dream (£1.99), a Christmas novella that picks up the stories of . . . Little Dream’s main characters Sarah and Brett.
Holly Smale has also written a festive novella as part of her Geek Girl series (HarperCollins). All Wrapped Up (£9.99) takes place the Christmas after protagonist Harriet has had her first kiss. Smale said: “I’d known the story of Harriet’s first date for years, but because of where it fell in the Geek Girl chronology—between the first and second book—I thought I’d never get to tell it. It was only when I told my editor on a long train journey that it would have happened at Christmas that we both realised it was a gap I needed to fill in. All Wrapped Up was just my first chance to write the full story.” To date, the Geek Girl series has sold 469,002 across all print editions.
Matt Haig’s newest title is a full-length children’s book, A Boy Called Christmas (Canongate, £12.99). Haig said: “After writing a book about depression, I wanted to write a book that made me feel as happy as a child again. I couldn’t think of a more joyful subject than Father Christmas as a boy, and liked the idea of an origin story for the ultimate superhero, so had to write it.” Interviewed by The Bookseller earlier this year, Haig said: “I’m just trying to remind myself, remind people, remind children, hopefully not in too worthy a way, that Christmas is actually about giving. The secular side of Christmas has become so over-commercialised, and obviously I’m part of it now.
“I was just trying to find a really truly Christmas thing, which was a combination of my favourite Christmas books—from Dickens right through to Raymond Briggs— mixed with the spirit of Christmas films from ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ to ‘Elf’and everything in between.” The book follows 11-year-old Nikolas, who grows up to become Father Christmas.
Corvus is taking the opportunity to launch author Rosie Blake. Her first title, How to Get a (Love) Life (£3.49) was a digital-only release, and How to Stuff Up Christmas (£7.99) will be her first print title with the publisher. Blake’s editor Louise Cullen said: “Her heroines are so relatable and genuine and she is such a joyful writer. It’s the time of year when people want to feel good and read something heartwarming.”
Blake added: “Christmas was a lovely excuse to write a warm, family-centred story.”
Vintage’s lead festive offering is a Christmas murder mystery originally published in 1949. Murder for Christmas by Francis Duncan (£8.99) is set in a country retreat, where a dead body is discovered alongside presents under the tree. The origin of the book is as shrouded in mystery as the plot: all that is known about Duncan is that he published a number of mystery titles between 1937 and 1957. As part of the publicity campaign, Vintage is appealing to anyone who knows more about the author to come forward. The book was discovered by the book’s editor Aine Mulkeen during a trip to the Random House Group Archive & Library in Rushden, Northamptonshire.