Dec 13, 2015

Agi and Suze's Christmas Countdown: Interview With Angela Britnell & Giveaway!

About Angela Britnell

I was born in the beautiful county of Cornwall in southwestern England and grew up in a small village there. I return frequently to visit family and friends but especially to savor the cool rainy weather and hot tea. After school I joined the Royal Navy and served for nearly six years. I held varying jobs from being the only woman in the staff of a sports center to arranging social engagements for the Captain of the base. My last assignment was to Denmark where I thought I would spend a wild two years in Copenhagen only to discover I was being sent to a NATO Headquarters in a quiet town on the Jutland Peninsula. I was only disappointed for a while as I met my own tall, dark, handsome stranger there – a US Naval Officer named Richard who became my husband.

That was the beginning of an itinerant life as from Denmark we went to Sicily where we had our first son. Then it was on to Monterey, California and the birth of our second son. From there we headed to Patuxent River, Maryland where we had our third son. Richard’s last assignment was to London where we spent a wonderful three years. Retiring from the Navy he took a job in Brentwood, Tennessee near where he grew up. Since 2008 we are empty nesters which allows more time for my writing.

I have always been a voracious reader, even at 5 years old my school reports show a keen interest in English and very little in math – some things never change! Although I enjoyed writing in school it wasn’t until 2001 that I was tempted to take a creative writing class at a local recreation center which has sparked my new career.

When I’m not busy writing I enjoy spending time with family and friends. I try to grow English flowers in the Tennessee heat and succeed some of the time. I belong to the wonderful Red Bandanas Writing Group, Jubilee Readers Book Club, and volunteer at my local library so you can see that words are important to me.

I hope you enjoy reading my work as much as I enjoy writing it so sit back, make yourself a cup of tea and enjoy a break from everyday life.

You can find Angela on her website, on Facebook or on Twitter.


1. What is your best Christmas memory?

I love how every family’s traditions are unique and that we all think our own are the way it should be! As an only child we had a relatively quiet Christmas Day and it never varied. We started with opening our stockings before breakfast. That was followed by going to church and coming home for a traditional turkey lunch. We would have tea and chocolate biscuits while listening to the Queen at 3pm. Then it was finally time to open our presents – my husband thought it was terrible to make a child wait until so late in the day but I didn’t realise it was unusual at the time. We’d have more tea with homemade Christmas cake around five o’clock and later it would of course be turkey sandwiches for supper.

2. What are your 3 favourite Christmas reads?

First I’ll choose Dickens’ classic ‘A Christmas Carol’ because it completely embodies the spirit of the season with wonderful characters that still live and breathe off the page over 160 years after they were created. My second choice is ‘The Night before Christmas.’ I don’t remember it from my childhood but was introduced to the story by my American husband. We bought a copy when we had our first baby and started our own tradition of reading it to our boys every Christmas Eve after we hung up our stockings. I’m now looking forward to reading it to our first grandson who’s due in April! I debated about my third book and finally decided on ‘The Jolly Postman.’ This magical children’s book with envelopes to open and letters to read fascinated my children and despite being handled by three lively boys the book has survived (almost) unscathed.

3. One person to celebrate Christmas with.

I went backwards and forwards on this one and finally decided on the Queen. I think it’d be amazing to experience her traditional Christmas and I’m sure she’d have some incredible stories to tell over the sherry and mince pies!

4. My thoughts on Santa

The traditions of a loving, generous figure who brings gifts in the middle of a long, dark winter vary around the world but the different names and customs only prove that these emotions have no borders and we are far more similar than we are different.

5. My best and worst Christmas gifts and why?

My best Christmas gift ever was a shoe box full of beautiful clothes hand-sewn for my Sindy doll (she was the English version of Barbie back in the dark ages) by my Aunt Rene and cousin Marlene. They were so much better than anything you could buy and I particularly remember a beautiful dark green satin evening dress. My only regret is that they disappeared over the years because I’d love to still have them.

My worst gift has to be the sewing machine my dear husband gave me about twenty-five years ago. That particular Christmas I was suffering with the flu and his family from Tennessee were visiting us in Maryland for the holidays. Richard video-taped our present opening time to send to my family in Cornwall so there I am with a red nose, feeling like death, and trying desperately to smile as I open my gifts. I will admit that afterwards I did give in and learn the basics of how to use the machine. I made Halloween costumes and outfits for school plays etc for my 3 boys – nothing that would withstand scrutiny from any genuine sewers but good enough to last for the day! I’ve now passed on the machine to one of my daughters-in-law, who enjoys sewing, with my blessing!

6. Your favourite Christmas song

I know I’ll be slammed for this but I have to confess to a real dislike of sentimental Christmas songs – the first time I hear ‘White Christmas’ played each year it makes me want to run away and hide until the season is over. But I do love traditional Christmas carols and my favourite is ‘Silent Night’ preferably sung in a candlelit church at midnight on Christmas Eve. Then I know it really is Christmas.

7. Your favourite Christmas movie

I’m also not a fan of sweet, sentimental Christmas movies but could watch ‘Love Actually’ over and over again because it captures the spirit of the season without being sickly!

8. Top 3 books you’re giving as Christmas presents.

‘Slow Roads Tennessee’ for my mother-in-law. It’s a lovely pictorial record of the back roads and small towns of Tennessee including the area where she grew up. My oldest son is getting ‘A Confederacy of Dunces’ and my middle son has asked for Orson Scott Card’s ‘First Formic War’ books.

9. Most favourite and least favourite part of Christmas.

These are intertwined because my most favourite is sharing a traditional Christmas meal with my family and the least is clearing up afterwards with all the dishes to be washed!

10. Best food

– Warm mince pies with Cornish clotted cream, with either a glass of sherry or a mug of scalding hot tea! I didn’t realise putting out mince pies and sherry out for Santa was unusual until my husband said they always did milk and cookies – no wonder Santa preferred coming to our house That’s one tradition I continued with our own children and considered it a well-earned reward by the time we got them to bed on Christmas Eve!


One very lucky reader of our blogs will receive a fantastic prize. The winner of the giveaway can choose a kindle book from Angela Britnell's amazing range of titles. Good luck!


  1. Starting to get into the Christmas spirit - love being part of this!

  2. My favorite Christmas memory: My fondest recollections are mostly about special events with my family. There was the year that my cousins Jackie and Fred came to us for Christmas dinner. As the youngest in a crowded house, the three of us, aged about four to eight, were given our Christmas dinner around the coffee table, along with a miniscule bottle of Babycham and three liqueur glasses – unthinkable now, but a pretty good strategy on my parents’ part to guarantee a quiet Christmas afternoon. Not long after, my cousins emigrated to Canada, making this one-off event an extra-special memory.

  3. Babycham was my introduction too and at almost as young an age!

  4. like decorating together

  5. my favourite song is Driving home for Christmas by Chris Rea

  6. I love Mariah Carey's All I want for Christmas xx

  7. My best Christmas gift was my first Kindle. I remember reading up on it, and I asked my husband if he would buy it for me. He refused to. I put it on my Christmas list and my Secret Santa ended up buying it for me. After telling me no, because he felt it was a waste of money, my husband fell in love with my Kindle and he ended up using it more than me.

  8. Snow will get me in the christmas spirit.

  9. LOVE ACTUALLY is a lot of fun to watch. Kind of sad too.

  10. Nice interview. I don't watch TV or movies, but I do read lots of books. Favorite Christmas time food, soft molasses cookies.

  11. DO YOU READ CHRISTMAS NOVELS ALL YEAR ROUND? Of course I do. Love Christmas novels any time of the year. Either in the garden in the heat or curled up under a blanket on the settee with the wind howling outside. :)

  12. Love my reading so relaxing and takes your mind off all worries ❤💙 listening to music is great too not fond of TV find it so repetitive x

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