MISTLETOE MADNESS with Carla Caruso
What are your plans for Christmas 2014?
Celebrating with my hubby, James, and our twin boys, Alessio and Sebastian, who are currently 15 months old! (Oh, and the extended Italian family will join in, too.) Our toddlers are a bit older now, so hopefully will better appreciate the Christmas light displays and carol shows etc. we take them to!
Tell us about a usual Christmas in your home?
My mum usually puts on a fantastic lunch at her house – she’s a very good cook, unlike me! – and we celebrate with my clan, my dad, my elder sister and brother-in-law and their kids, and my younger sister. It can get quite rowdy and there’s lots of present-swapping, plus the paper crowns come out! And later we catch up with the extended family for MORE food and chatter. We also usually celebrate with James’s family on Christmas Eve and the family of a friend of his put on an annual Boxing Day barbecue. It’s a three-day gorge-fest really!
Any gift in particular that you’d love to see wrapped under the tree?
Sophie Kinsella’s Shopaholic to the Stars – I’ve asked my big sis for this! We always put in our lists early. (Plus, I have a birthday in Jan…)
What is a typical Christmas lunch and/or dinner at your house?
Italian but healthy! My parents have their own veggie patch, so there’s usually plenty of seasonal veggies from there, gourmet salads, barbecued meat, seafood, antipasto, Jamie Oliver-style desserts – you name it, we’ll eat it!
Tell us, what is the one dish that gets served every single year? Is there a story behind this?
My Italian nonna – or grandmother – who is sadly no longer with us, was always known for making zeppole. Basically, southern Italian deep-fried dough balls. You can either have them sweet – or savoury with sardines. I was partial to the latter, though they’re not for everyone! Maybe I will have to pick up the tradition where she left off someday…
Essentials for an Aussie Christmas…
Sunshine, friendly chatter, reasonably priced presents, salad, seafood, a bauble-laden Christmas tree, and someone dressed in a silly Santa suit!
Your best Silly Season survival tip?
Why pace yourself? Usually you work like an idiot, trying to make deadlines right up until the Big Day, so you may as well kick up your heels when it arrives, I say, and make the most of the sunny months ahead!
What will you be reading this Christmas?
I will be tackling my to-be-read pile, from Liane Moriarty’s The Husband’s Secret to good friend Allayne Webster’s Paper Planes.
What have been your big achievements in 2014?
Getting through our first full-on ‘baby’ year with our twin boys! Having two ebooks in my ‘Astonvale’ rom-com mystery series out this year, kicking off with A Pretty Mess, plus two e-novellas, Secret Santo and Unlucky for Some – somehow written at night and during my twins’ daytime naps. Think the writing kept me sane through the fog of The Wiggles and sleep deprivation…
What are your plans/goals for 2015?
I aim to take my time writing an intergenerational novel, inspired by my family’s market gardening heritage and Italian ancestry. It’ll also include traditional recipes, which I’ll actually learn to cook, so I can lose my title as a ‘bad Italian housewife’! I’m even going to blog/vlog about my process under the name of The Un-Italian Wife. It’s going to be a bit of a passion project!
There is nothing Holly Plume — a secret romance fiction reviewer by night — finds dreamier than Christmas. So when she’s invited to a book publisher’s party the night before Christmas, it’s like all her Christmases have come at once.
Not only will she get to rub shoulders with the literati under the guise of her day job as a book shop sales assistant, but there’s also the chance she may meet her idol: the ‘faceless’ undercover reporter-turned-novelist A.J. Ruffo, who goes under a pseudonym.
Enter the dashing party guest, Santo Randolfi. He’s exactly like the romance heroes Holly snuggles under the covers reading about each night: tall, dark, handsome and utterly charming. She feels as giddy as though she’s downed too much eggnog when they get talking and wind up sharing many a romance novel-worthy moment together – even including a kiss under the mistletoe!
But when Holly discovers Santo really is hiding a secret – but not the one she expects – it’s like all the house party’s walls have come crashing down around her.
He’s not the thriller author she hoped, but reveals he actually hides behind a woman’s name penning romance. An author she’s just given a scathing review to, too, saying the latest book is obviously written by a man as he has no idea how women tick!
As Holly struggles to keep Santo from discovering her real identity and equating his clunky scribblings with his smooth moves, the clock ticks towards midnight. Will Holly be able to get past Santo’s revelation and see their festive fling last the night… if Santo is even telling the truth?
Keen to keep the Christmas fun going?
Come over and try your luck at cracking an AusRomToday cracker. There’s books, book packs, Amazon gift cards, and heaps of other fun Christmassy prizes to win!