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Carrying on the story with Carole Matthews: Christmas for Beginners

Christmas for Beginners and Happiness for Beginners packshots


Christmas for Beginners and happiness for beginners packshots


Last month we published Christmas for Beginners, Carole Matthews’ gloriously festive sequel to her Sunday Times bestselling novel Happiness for Beginners. As part of her Little Book Café Christmas for Beginners takeover, we asked Carole what it was like to carry on Molly’s story. Over to you, Carole!


There are some characters that stay in your head long after the book is finished. Those same characters often prove to be firm favourites with my readers too and I lost count of how many messages I had asking for there to be more stories from the people and animals at Hope Farm, the place I’d first visited in Happiness for Beginners.

Hope Farm is based on a real-life farm, Animal Antiks, which caters for children with special educational needs, the kind of kids who can fall through the gaps in traditional education. At the farm the students learn through team work and caring for the animals as well as through more typical lessons. I’ve kept in touch with them since the first book was written and it’s fair to say that there is always plenty going on – especially with the animals – to provide a novelist with material. Some of the conversations that I have with Sarah, who runs the farm, at eight o’clock in the morning over Messenger would make your hair curl. I’m sure that you’ll know the bits I mean when you get to them!

I’ve a great affection for the farm and the work that they do and we had great fun with the first book. So it was a pleasure to be able to find another story to write about Hope Farm. This one, obviously, is set at Christmas and proves to be as riotous as you might expect. It’s been so sad that I haven’t been able to visit there and do my usual filming of being given the run around by their animals, due to the strange times we find ourselves in. But, hopefully, we will be back to normal before too long and there’ll be better times ahead.

I think this year more than ever we need a bit of love, laughter and some uplifting stories, so I hope you like reconnecting with old characters and meeting some new ones and that you enjoy this funny and heart-warming Christmas story.

Merry Christmas! C : ) xx