Friday, November 18, 2011

Thanksgiving Brit-style

I "met" Joanna Chambers on the Carina author's loop earlier this year and have been impressed with her generosity, dedication and support of her fellow authors. She is one of those women I'd love to met in "real" life. ; ) I am honored to have her on my blog today, which also happens to be my now 11 yo's birthday. 

Being a Brit, the Thanksgiving holiday is something that I know very little about.  I'm familiar with it primarily through American films and TV and books.  The nearest we have in Britain are our harvest festivals.  There's no particular day associated with a harvest festival but it's classic school-concert-fayre (children dressed as potatoes singing songs about grains) and churches go in for it a bit too.  Occasionally random tinned foods are collected from the community and distributed to bewildered pensioners.

There's no official celebration as such though.  The thing is, you see, there are so many other celebrations to deal with at this time of year!  First up, Hallowe'en, which is not traditionally much celebrated in England but that's always been a reasonably big deal in Scotland where I live.  ("Trick or treating" was completely alien to my English husband when kids started doing it over here but I was familiar with its old Scottish cousin, Guising - short for 'disguising').  Of course, Scottish kids don't guise now, and they make pumpkin lanterns instead of the traditional turnip lanterns, which admittedly don't glow nearly as nicely as pumpkin ones and usually result in bits of fingers being sliced off by mistake due to turnips being so tough.

Then there's Bonfire Night (Remember, Remember the fifth of November) which is a big deal both north and south of Gretna Green thanks to the fact that much of British history (sadly) can be summed up as 'protestants and catholics arguing'.  Bonfire Night is, of course, a celebration of the hanging, drawing and quartering of Guy Fawkes who, along with his co-conspirators plotted (but failed) to blow up the Houses of Parliament.  Bonfire Night celebrations features a 'guy' (figure made of old clothes and junk) being burned on a bonfire while fireworks are set off.  Sounds kind of barbaric, doesn't it? 

And then there's the big one: Christmas.  Which is where I slip in, without missing a beat, that my recently released debut novel The Lady's Secret is set in Regency England over Christmas.  (You see what I did there?  How I tied that to Thanksgiving?  God, I'm slick!) 

 Since I adore Christmas, I really enjoyed writing a book set during that time of year, even though traditions were very different in the early nineteenth century.  You can read an excerpt here and buy it here.

Happy Thanksgiving all!

1 comment: