Josie Silver on ONE DAY IN DECEMBER and Love at First Sight
It happens every year. A debut novel comes along, bowls us over, and settles itself right into our hearts. Last year, there was Gail Honeyman; this year, it's Josie Silver. Silver's debut, One Day in December, is already an international bestseller, hailed by The Bookseller as "the novelistic equivalent to Love Actually" and by Kirkus as "an emotional, satisfying read." It's an absolute charmer of a novel, full of warm characters and relatable scenes, but written with the breathless, just-one-more-page pacing of a thriller. In other words, you'll be engrossed—it's the perfect rom-com to curl up with one afternoon this holiday season. Before you put the kettle on and start busting out the Christmas sweaters in anticipation, order your copy at the bottom of the page—we'll stick it on our holds shelf or ship it right to your door. While you wait, read our lovely Q&A with the author below.
The book takes place over the course of ten years. How did you decide how your characters would change over that time, and how those changes would affect their relationship?
In many ways, it was quite a luxury to have a ten year span of the characters' lives to write, especially their twenties to thirties decade. It's such a rich time of life generally, isn't it? People fall in and out of love, get married, forge career paths. It's inevitable that those kind of events will shape and change people—that's very much the case in One Day in December. Laurie, Sarah and Jack are fresh out of Uni when we first meet them, full of high hopes and naivety. The next decade sees real turning points for all of them romantically and professionally—we see them grow up on the page, Jack in particular as he matures into a man. I've tried to make them real and relatable—they make mistakes, they say the wrong thing, and sometimes they make decisions they regret.
Love at first sight: Discuss.
Do I believe in love at first sight? Yes, I think I do! I certainly believe that every now and then, if you're lucky, you can connect with someone instantly, that there can be an undeniable spark of something special worth investigating. Even if you don't discover the love of your life, it's much better than spending the rest of your life wondering what if!
Wolverhampton has got to be the best name for a town ever. Tell us a bit about it.
Wolverhampton was founded when King Ethelred bequeathed the land to Lady Wulfrun, who founded the first settlement of the town in the year 985. In the 14th and 15th century it was known for its wool trade, and later it was at the heart of the industrial revolution. We live on the western edge of the city, where it's reputed the Anglo-Saxons defeated the raiding Vikings in a fierce battle in the year 910. These days it's a busy city to live in, but it's fringed by the beautiful Shropshire hills and countryside.
Okay, indulge us: You’re put in charge of casting the One Day in December movie (which we’d love to see, by the way). Who are your leads?
Gosh, I'd love to see One Day in December on screen too! Honestly, I'd feel incredibly lucky if it ever happened and I'd trust whoever was cast to bring the characters to life. But fantasy casting? Okay... for Laurie, maybe Emma Watson or Emilia Fox, they both have a very natural English rose look. I struggle more with Jack. In my minds eye he's like a younger Eddie Redmayne. Sam Palladio, maybe? Suggestions welcome!
Is there another book on the horizon? If so, can you tell us a little bit about it?
Yes, I'm currently writing my next book, The Two Lives of Lydia Bird. It's about a bereaved woman who miraculously gets the chance to live two lives - one where her husband is alive again, the other where she's starting to fall in love with someone new.
Beyond that, my lips are sealed!
What are some of the best books you’ve recently read?
I don't get to read anywhere near as much as I'd like to, but amongst my most recent loved reads have been The Break by Marian Keyes, Caraval by Stephanie Garber and the wonderful Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman.
Author photo by Justine Stoddart.