‘Tis The Season: Authors Talk Holidays 2017 with Cecilia Vinesse

‘Tis The Season: Authors Talk Holidays is a special seasonal feature on Pop! Goes The Reader in which some of my favourite authors help me to celebrate the spirit of the season and spread a little holiday cheer. So, pour yourself a cup of hot chocolate and snuggle in by the fireside as they answer the question: “What does the holiday season mean to you?” You can find a complete list of this year’s participants and their scheduled guest post dates Here!

About Cecilia Vinesse

Cecilia Vinesse was born in France, raised between Japan and South Carolina, and then moved to New York City to attend Barnard College before eventually working in children’s book publishing. In 2013, she earned her master’s in creative writing from the University of St Andrews and now lives in a small Edwardian house in England with her girlfriend Rachel and their pug named Malfi. She splits her time writing in her sky-blue office, daydreaming in libraries, and holding late-night marathons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Author Links: WebsiteTwitterInstagramGoodreads

Five years ago, I spent my first Christmas away from home.

Well. Sort of.

My mom is Scottish and my dad is French, and I grew up between France, the States, and Japan. So, instead of one place that I think of as home, I have a mish-mash of traditions and memories that, together, make up the holiday season: sips of champagne on Christmas Eve per my dad’s French background; Christmas pudding on Christmas Day to remind my mom of Scotland; Polish Christmas carols playing in the living room, a small but precious link to the grandfather I never knew; the faded VHS of White Christmas my sister and I found at a video store by our house in Tokyo.

Home was the needle and thread sewing these places and moments together. It was the link that guided me from one December to the next, no matter where I was in the world.

Until five years ago when, all of a sudden, I didn’t have that.

At the time, I was living in St. Andrews, a small university town on the East Coast of Scotland. I was working on my master’s degree in creative writing and, to help fund my studies, I took a job in retail. As the end of the semester crept closer, I realized that there was no way I could afford to miss all the extra shifts I’d be able pick up in the countdown to Christmas.

My girlfriend was also living in St. Andrews, but she confessed that she’d always been pretty apathetic when it came to holiday cheer. I asked her what she wanted to do on Christmas day itself, and she shrugged and said “Bike ride?”. But as soon as she saw how disheartened I was at the thought of being tucked away in this tiny corner of the world, far away from my family at my favorite time of year, she made a decision: I was going to get my Christmas after all.

She decorated my dorm room with bright-pink tinsel and an impromptu advent calendar: 25 brown-paper packages clothes-pinned to a laundry line strung across the ceiling. She made ornaments from pen-and-ink sketches backed with cardboard. She dragged a puffy evergreen twice her height through the streets of St. Andrews, just so we could have a tree to sit beside while we sipped hot chocolate and watched It’s A Wonderful Life on her laptop. She drove me to the largest grocery store in town, where we filled our baskets with sparkling wine, a foil-wrapped Christmas pudding, and boxes of Cadbury chocolates to stuff the stockings we’d ordered online.

Sometimes, we stuck to the blueprint of my childhood memories, but mostly, we veered off the path, cobbling together our own traditions. On Christmas morning, we made cranberry pecan pastries and lattes sweetened with maple syrup. We bundled up in knitwear and duffle jackets and took our dog on a walk to the beach.

I swear, it felt exactly like a Hogwarts Christmas. This little university town, when emptied of all the students, became a frosted patchwork of quiet streets and old stone buildings and twinkle-lit trees, all silhouetted against a bright gray, Northern sky. It was as sweet and unexpected as a Weasley jumper—as magical and comforting as snowflakes falling in the Great Hall.

It was a reminder that holidays, to me, are about all the little homes we make for ourselves. And they’re about the people we choose to share those homes with, keeping each other company through long, starry December nights.

Title The Summer Of Us
Author Cecilia Vinesse
Pages 320 Pages
Intended Target Audience Young Adult
Genre Contemporary, Romance
To Be Published June 5th 2018 by Poppy
Find It On GoodreadsAmazon.comChaptersThe Book Depository

American expat Aubrey has only two weeks left in Europe before she leaves for college, and she’s nowhere near ready. Good thing she and her best friend, Rae, have planned one last group trip across the continent. From Paris to Prague, they’re going to explore famous museums, sip champagne in fancy restaurants, and eat as many croissants as possible with their friends Clara, Jonah, and Gabe.

But when old secrets come to light, Aubrey and Rae’s trip goes from a carefree adventure to a complete disaster. For starters, there’s Aubrey and Gabe’s unresolved history, complicated by the fact that Aubrey is dating Jonah, Gabe’s best friend. And then there’s Rae’s hopeless crush on the effortlessly cool Clara. How is Rae supposed to admit her feelings to someone so perfect when they’re moving to different sides of the world in just a few weeks?

From the author of Seven Days Of You comes a new novel about the magic of warm summer nights, the thrill of first kisses, and the bittersweet ache of learning to say goodbye to the past while embracing the future.

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