Books set in New York – One New York Christmas Trail with Mandy Baggot
Mandy Baggot has her book set in New York for a very special reason. Not just as it’s called One New York Christmas! It’s also a city she loves going to either for real or in her imagination. Why not come along for a visit with the author as she guides us around the city that never sleeps?
Mandy Baggot invited me to her New York to see a very special side to the city, and to drink a glass of mulled wine and have a mince pie or two as we chatted.
So, New York. A great location and perfect for Christmas! Why set your book in New York?
There are just some places where Christmas is a little bit more special when it comes to location… and one of those places is the Big Apple! It’s always cold in December, it usually snows, it’s full of festive cheer, that, pretty much, makes it the perfect place to set a festive romance!
Any links or particular love for the city?
I have links to America – my dad and step-mum live in Michigan and we have visited when it’s been wintry. I don’t have any personal links with New York, but I have visited – not for long enough though. When you visit, you can immediately see and feel why people love it the world over. It’s vibrant and deeply contrasting, full of hopes, dreams and the ultimate bagels!
You’ve been to New York in a book before, haven’t you?
I have! One Wish in Manhattan was my first literary trip to NYC. I adored writing Hayley, Oliver and Angel’s story and I did know I would be writing about the city again one day! It was too much fun not to revisit!
Where is a good place to spend time in New York at Christmas?
Well, you don’t have to do that much research to know that all the famous sites in the city are even more special at Christmas time. The iconic stores have amazing displays of festive trees, baubles and glowing lights, plus there are markets and ice-skating, all of which get a mention in One New York Christmas.
What is special about a New York Christmas?
Americans really do go all out for the holidays, so I think the window displays in the stores, the lights on the buildings, the Santas all around, the choirs singing, the festive weather… it all combines beautifully to give you the whole seasonal package. And then you have the diversity of the city, which is one thing I wanted to get across in One New York Christmas. Not everyone celebrates December the same way, and all these different cultures really make the Big Apple unique.
How did you research the locations?
Most of my research was done on-line. I have only literally dipped my toe into New York personally, so I had to rely on the experience of others. Thankfully there are loads of really great You Tube videos of people visiting literally every place I wanted to take Lara and Seth. I did get super-hungry looking up menus at the restaurants I wrote them in to though!
Where would your characters recommend, we go as readers?
When Lara first arrives in New York she doesn’t really have an itinerary of things to do while she’s there. She’s almost overawed by the size of the city, having never been out of the UK before and coming from a small, rural village. However, she is soon keen to soak up everything it has to offer. She loves the Empire State Building and the freedom she feels when she’s looking out over the buildings below, but she also loves the food… and the beer. She isn’t a shopper, but she does love the Christmas market Seth takes her to and she appreciates the gorgeously festive Macy’s, if not the handbag her best friend Susie tries to make her buy!
Seth loves New York as he’s grown up there and he enjoys taking Lara to visit these well-known places that are home to him. It’s like seeing them for the first time again. He also loves Greenwich Village where he lives, a little oasis in the city. Gramercy is another area that’s important to him – where his mum and dad live.
How are YOU spending Christmas this year?
This year I’m spending Christmas Day at home, cooking the full-on turkey feast for my husband, children and my 89-year-old nan. We will stuff our faces, pull crackers, watch the Queen’s speech, fall asleep in front of an old James Bond movie, then devour a cheese board along to the Strictly Christmas Special. Sorted!
Any Mandy Baggot family traditions?
The only real tradition I have is watching Die Hard every Christmas Eve with a Chinese takeaway! Sorry, but Die Hard definitely IS a Christmas movie!
And on that note, I write down Die Hard and Chinese Takeaway on my to do list, and head home. I shall always now have the image of Mandy Baggot watching Die Hard whilst I watch Wallace and Gromit. Haha.