You may know and love her as the bestselling author of heartwarming, witty novels about family, relationships and romance. Here in this exclusive interview Adele Parks shares her thoughts on the importance of being kinder to one other, especially at this time of year, to improve the state of the world we live in.
What is it about Christmas that makes you feel happiest?
It’s cliché but there’s a reason a thing becomes a cliché and that’s because it’s true and often repeated. What makes me happiest at Christmas is being surrounded by family and friends.
At Christmas time I really try to make an effort to reconnect with those I’ve lost touch with, or catch up with those I don’t see enough of or simply spend more time with those who I love the most. I try to remember that’s more important than obsessing about coordinating gift wrap or dashing to the shops for cranberry sauce. Laughing with friends and family is the pinnacle of happiness and achievement.
What makes you feel safe?
I feel safe when my husband has his arms round me and I can see my son. That’s primitive but real.
What are the things you worry about now?
There’s a lot humanity should be worrying about now, there always has been and maybe there always will be, but worrying alone is no use. Dealing with concerns, reaching out and fixing things, where we can, is the way to combat worry.
I suppose my greatest worry is that we can’t live in peace. I can’t persuade terrorist and murderers to put down their guns or knives, nor can I influence dictators and warmongers to cease their aggression and oppression, but I can be decent and kind to those I do come in contact with.
I believe if everyone took personal responsibility to do just one thing a day to be kinder, more thoughtful, more tolerant, more forgiving, less angry, less jealous, less greedy, less vindictive then the world would instantly become a more stable and compassionate place. We’d all benefit from that. It’s so simple, why do we keep messing up?
What do you hope 2016 brings?
I hope for a world where those with conviction, courage, conscience and consciousness of good, are firm against those who are cruel. I hope that happens everywhere from school playgrounds to war-torn countries. I hope the strong help the weak rather than oppress them, I hope those with a lot are brave and generous enough to share with those who have very little or nothing. I know it’s a big ask but I personally am always full of hope. I believe there’s more good than bad, without hope the heart would break.
What message would you give to children facing serious hardship right now?
Childhood can suck! But one day (sooner than you think!) you’ll grow up and you’ll have a chance to change things for the better for yourselves, for those you love and even for people you don’t know yet! Everything about the future is possible and you all have a future. I’m sorry things are so hard for you right now, it shouldn’t be this way, but remember lots of people do care. If you can go to school, do go. Take care of yourself. And happy Christmas.
You could help keep these children safe
This Christmas, there are millions of children around the world who will be homeless, who won't feel safe, and who won't have their loved ones around them, because they may have died or been separated, due to war, fighting and natural disasters. That's why our Christmas appeal is focussed on children - giving them whatever they need - be it food, shelter, or medicine - to keep them warm and safe. Please join Adele in supporting our vital appeal. Show that the UK public does care, and donate now.
Photos: Adele Parks; George Makkas/Panos Pictures/ActionAid