Looking to read a good festive feel-good romance in time for Christmas? Then we think you'll love Baby It's Cold Outside by Emily Bell. Here at easons.com, we are thrilled to share an exclusive piece from Emily in which she shares with us her inspiration for the story and why she chose Dublin as the setting for this heart-warming tale.
It’s been said that Dubliners past and present can be divided into three groups: those who met at Nelson’s Pillar, those who met at Clery’s clock and those who met – of course – at Eason’s. For Southsiders, another location was popular. My new novel hinges on a promise, made by one backpacker to another in the distant days of 2009. Andrew, a young Irishman, tells Londoner Norah: ‘If you come to Dublin in ten years’ time I’ll be there to meet you ... I’ll see you at six o’clock outside Bewley’s Café on Grafton street, on Christmas Eve 2019.’
These were the kinds of things we said to each other, in those innocent days of the late noughties, when we weren’t carrying around spyware in our pockets, and our social media apps didn’t practically plan our locations for us. In order to meet someone you had to agree a time and a place, and stick to it.
But, having made this promise so long ago, did this mean Norah and Andrew would actually turn up, or should turn up? Answering this question meant delving deeply into their lives and plotting their twists and turns over a decade – a challenge that I loved and that helped me escape from the sad tedium of lockdown.
There was another reason why I chose this rendezvous. I wrote this novel during Christmas 2020, when I was unable, like millions of the Irish diaspora, to return home to see my family in Dublin. I felt such a deep longing to there, that writing about it, and exploring its lanes and streets and coast with my characters, was the next best thing.
I am hoping that by the time Christmas rolls around this year I’ll be there in person as well as in spirit, and I’ll pay a pilgrimage to Bewley’s – for a coffee at eleven and a stroll in Stephen’s Green.