Q&A with Buffy Andrews

December 2013

With only a week to go until Christmas we’re feeling extremely Christmassy here at Carina, so we invited the talented Buffy Andrews, author of 'The Christmas Violin' and 'The Moment Keeper' for a festive chat.

1.  What is your favourite Christmas song/carol?

Think! Think! Think! Can’t I have like 20? OK. OK. If I have to choose, I choose What Child is This.

2.      Can you play any instruments?

I used to play the violin, oboe and guitar. But that was a long time ago. I can bang a pot with my hand. Does that count?

3.      Who is your favourite character from The Christmas Violin and why? 

Tough question. I love them all. But if I were forced to choose, I would say the Old Woman. I feel so badly for her. Tears pooled in my eyes whenever I wrote her scenes. I just wanted to hug her and make her a feast of fabulous food and give her a warm bed to sleep in.  And tell her that she was special, even if she didn’t know it or feel it.

4.      Give us an interesting fact about your story.

I grew up down the street from a cemetery, and I had this cemetery in mind when I wrote The Christmas Violin.

5.      Do you have any unique talents or hobbies?

 Besides writing you mean? *Smiles* I used to play the violin, but I don’t anymore. My parents bought me my first violin, and I still have it. Sometimes, when no one’s home, I’ll get it out and try to play it. I sound awful.

6.      What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

I never have enough time to write. I try to squeeze in an hour at night, but sometimes that doesn’t happen. I also try to write over my lunch break, but depending on my schedule, that isn’t always possible. So I really don’t have a schedule. I write when I can.

7.      What has been the best part about writing The Christmas Violin?

Seeing how the story would unfold and ultimately end. I love, love, love the journey. I love seeing where my characters take me and all that I discover and learn about them along the way. And, I have to say, that when I finished writing The Christmas Violin, I felt really great about the work. I was sad, too, because finishing it meant that I no longer would be hanging out with my characters daily. I had come to love them so much. I really don’t think you can read this book and not be inspired to help someone in need.  

8.      What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

I’m a journalist and work 10-hour days.  So when I’m not working or writing, I’m spending time with my family. Of course, there are never enough hours in a day to do all that I want and need to do. But I love running, going to the movies, traveling and, of course, reading. Oh, and shopping. I love shopping.

9.      Did you learn anything from writing The Christmas Violin, and what was it?

 I wouldn’t say that I learned something new, but writing it reinforced the idea of listening to my characters and allowing them to lead me where I need to go.

10.  Do you have a favourite Christmas movie?

Absolutely! I love It’s A Wonderful Life. It was directed by Frank Capra and stars James Stewart, Donna Reed and Lionel Barrymore.

Every year at Christmas, my husband, sons and I watch this holiday favourite together. It always brings tears to my eyes. Have you ever thought about what life would be like if you had never been born? This is what businessman George Bailey gets to experience through the help of an angel named Clarence, who after 200 years has yet to earn his wings. George, who considers himself a failure and is contemplating suicide so his family can benefit from a life insurance policy, gets to see what the town he lives in, Bedford Falls, would have been like without him. What George learns is that each one of us makes a difference. He learns that it’s not what we have but how we live our lives each day that counts, and that we often are unaware of the impact our actions have on others. (Something I think you will also see when you read The Christmas Violin).

There are so many great lines in the movie, but my favorite is when Clarence tells George, “Remember, no man is a failure who has friends.” George learns that friends and family make us wealthy beyond our wildest expectations. And that’s what I want my children to understand. That it’s not materialistic things that make us rich, but the love that comes from family and friends — something that can’t be bought in a store and wrapped in shiny red paper. Just as George discovers, it is family and friends who embrace us and help us cope with life’s cruelest and darkest moments. And it’s family and friends who rejoice with us as we celebrate God’s incredible blessings. It truly is a wonderful life!

11.  For you, what is the absolute best moment of Christmas Day?

 Wow! There are so many of them it’s hard to choose. First, of course, is remembering the reason for the season. But then I would have to say watching my sons open their gifts. I love their reactions when they find a special something they weren’t expecting.


The Christmas Violin is out now! Don’t miss this beautiful Christmas story: http://www.carinauk.com/the-christmas-violin