Q&A With Sibeal Pounder!

The background of the image is a picture of Christmas tree tinsel. In the image foreground is a picture of Aiyven and Kirsten, the Happier Every Chapter logo, Sibeal Pounder and her book Tinsel. There's a band of text on an orange background across the middle that says "Q&A with Sibeal Pounder. Author of Tinsel: The Girls Who Invented Christmas"

As well as the amazing content we put in each month’s Happier Every Chapter, we also organise live interviews with authors. You may have seen that in November we were very lucky to have a live interview with Sharna Jackson - the author of High Rise Mystery which was our book of the month in our subscription box. If you missed that, you can watch the interview by clicking here, or you can read our blog out if by clicking here.

Our book of the month for December was Tinsel: The Girls Who Invented Christmas by Sibeal Pounder. Unfortunately, with her book being Christmas themed, and it being December, Sibeal’s diary was fully booked and she couldn’t fit in a live interview with us. However, she was kind enough to agree to a Q&A session, where we sent the questions via email, and she sent her answers back to us. This worked out quite well for us as it meant we had time to ask our Exclusive Facebook Group if they had any questions for her… and they did!

Without further ado, here’s our Q&A with Sibeal Pounder!


Q. How did you create the plot for Tinsel?

A. The first thing I did was go back and try to find the first references to Mrs Claus – the first moment we discovered she existed. I had to go all the way back to the Victorian era in the 1800s, when she is first mentioned. I thought that was really fascinating because at that time the world didn’t imagine much of women – they were treated as background characters. In many ways, Mrs Claus is a relic of those times, and I knew there must be more to her story than anyone imagined at the time. As soon as I found Blanche and Rinki, they showed me an alternative Christmas story that made perfect sense!


Q. What was the inspiration for Tinsel?

A. Tinsel was inspired in large part by my fascination with who exactly Mrs Claus is and what she does. Everyone knows who she is and yet no one really knows her at all! We know more about the reindeer than her! We don’t even know her first name! I thought it was time she had a proper story – we’ve kept her in the background for too long.

 This is a picture of Tinsel as part of our December box of Happier Every Chapter. The copy of Tinsel by Sibeal Pounder is propped up against one of our subscription boxes. The box is black with a large white and orange sticker which displays our logo. Next to the box is a red santa hat. There are some festive-themed decorations and candy canes as part of the image backdrop

Q. What age did you start to consider writing and publishing books? 

A. I think I was probably around 24 or 25 when I started considering it as a career. For years I didn’t think it was something that someone like me could do – I never met an author growing up and had no idea what it would be like. I always grew up thinking you’d have to be really special and never make any spelling mistakes or anything like that, but that’s not true. The two things you need to become an author are: 1. That you want to become an author, and 2. That you have a good imagination – and all children have GREAT imaginations, so I believe anyone can grow up to be an author if that’s what they want to do. 


Q. What are the pros and cons of writing a Christmas-themed book?

A. The pros are you can make it Christmas all year round! I ate so much gingerbread when I was writing it and I sat in my garden all summer listening to Christmas music! In terms of cons… I can’t think of any! 

Aiyven read Tinsel in December. The image has an orange background with festive themed items such as presents and stockings. There's a picture of Aiyven with a speech bubble over her head. The writing in the bubble says  "Blanche Claus, an orphan who has run away from any care, has to learn the ways of the streets and living alone. Until one day, she meets Rinki, who's just in the same situation, and this changes her life forever". To the right of Aiyven and the speech bubble is a picture of the book Tinsel by Sibeal Pounder

Q. How did you get into writing?

A. I was always making up stories and characters when I was younger and when I was older I became a journalist for a newspaper. I really liked interviewing people and researching, but my favourite thing to do was to write funny stories and make up characters and so I used to write those stories in my spare time, hoping that one day I would be published. 


Q. Do you relate to any of your characters?

A. Yes, I think I relate to all of them in one way or another! Apart from Mr Krampus – he’s dreadful!

 This is a picture of our December subscription box of Happier Every Chapter. The image is superimposed onto a red festive background. The content of the box shows 2 short stories, two books including Tinsel by Sibeal Pounder, and lots of festive themed accessories

Q. What made you decide for Blanche to be an orphan / homeless child?

A. I wanted her to be alone in the world and to show that even at times when we feel most alone, we aren’t really – there are friends out there waiting to be found and adventures to be had. Blanche starts with nothing and no one and nowhere to go on Christmas day, but by the end she has found her people and, well, on Christmas day she has everywhere to go.  


Q. What made you want to give Mrs Claus a voice?

A. She’s been in the background for over 100 years and I think it’s time we knew her story…

You might have noticed us mention our Exclusive Facebook Group further up this post. If you’d be interested in joining our group (where we hold bookish discussions, competitions and the live author interviews), then click here and fill in on the form that you found us via this blog! We would also like to say a huge THANK YOU to Sibeal for taking the time out of her busy life to answer these questions for us, and our group!


If you are interested in getting your hands on a copy of Tinsel, then you can do so by following these links below:

Bloomsbury Publishing's Website - Click here

Waterstones - Click here

Amazon - Click here

Or if you would like to buy online and support small bookshops in the process, you can buy from Bookshop.org - Click here  - At the time of writing, Bookshop.org have raised £800,000 for local bookshops in the UK!


To find out more about Sibeal Pounder, you can visit her website where you can find out more information about some of the other books she has written and sign up to her website! Click here to visit her website


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