The observant among you will notice the date above was yesterday. Yes, I’m that friend that is a day late to the party! Massive apologies to Isabella for missing her big book birthday, yesterday. Isabella, I hope you had a fabulous book birthday and that you enjoy this post, even if it is a day late. My thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to take part ( a decision she is now regretting. Menopause brain is my excuse and I’m sticking to it!) and to Isabella for answering the questions for me.
“Kate Clothier is leading a double life: a successful jet-setting businesswoman to the outside world, but behind closed doors, life with Daniel and his volcanic temper is anything but rosy.
Some days – heck, make that EVERY day – cake is her only salvation.
Slowly but surely, the cities she visits – and the men she meets – help her to realise there IS a better future.
And the ley lines of Glastonbury are certainly doing their best to impart their mystical wisdom…
But will she escape before it’s too late?”
I read this book when it came out last year and thoroughly enjoyed it, although I would advise against reading it on an empty stomach! I’m always thrilled to learn more about the author’s behind the fabulous books I’ve read so, without more ado, let’s here about Isabella:
1: You evidently have a love of puddings. But have you ever actually made a Pavlova?
I am guilty as charged there! I think living in Spain has also renewed my appreciation for the vast array of Great British desserts that I have to either hunt down here in a decent expat pub (sadly those are few and far between), or recreate myself.
But yes, last year I made my very first Pavlova (I’ve made a chocolate one since as well!). This was for the Twitter Bakealong hashtag and although I didn’t win the competition, my peaks rose and my Peach and Blueberry Pavlova was eaten by most of my family.
2: What’s a typical day for you as an author?
I’ve long forgotten because it varies so much… so I will take the weekday mean, the average! First off, I try – and frequently fail because my seven-year-old has an innate ability to rise just as I do – to meditate. Just for fifteen minutes, that’s all. But inevitably, those golden moments of seeking that much sought after third eye chakra morph into me unloading the dishwasher.
But if there is one thing I never fail to accomplish, it’s drinking my morning Pink Himalayan sole (water and a little mineral salt), followed half an hour later by a bowl of coconut porridge. Don’t worry, I definitely make up for this orthorexic ritual-like behaviour later…
If it’s a school day (right now as I type we are almost midway through the 11 week Spanish summer holidays… yes, you did read that correctly: Eleven. Entire. Weeks.) then after drop off at 9am, I am usually straight back to my desk, fat cafe sombra in hand, to hit my target of 1000 words – that’s if I am working on a new novel. I could also quite easily be editing, keeping up-to-date with my social media, eating cake or brainstorming new ideas.
In case you hadn’t guessed, I do have a tendency to go off at tangents, and I am a Cake Monster!
But normally, on a good day, I will hit that 1000 target before I have to pack up and go pick the children up for 2pm. One of the few downsides to living in Spain is the ridiculously short school days (and those super elongated holidays).
We’ll drive back from school, I’ll fix the kids lunch, sort through the bags for hidden homework (Spanish schools set a ridiculous amount from a young age, frequently making me want to flee to Denmark). Occasionally I will also come across a pilfered toy from a fellow classmate.
If I’m ‘lucky’ *read: if the children can entertain themselves and resist the temptation to argue*, I might get a nice thirty or forty minute stretch at the laptop to edit, add to a chapter, or answer my emails. Often though, I become Dance Mum – also known as Taxi Mum – a tri-weekly task that involves dropping off and picking up my daughter at the local studio… and all too frequently involves more coffee and cake! My younger son and I will take his reading books or colouring, and I will try my best not to look at my phone.
Dinner is served late here compared to the UK and once my husband is through the door just before 7pm, to take over, I will either have a session on my trampoline, jogging to high vibe music with a fabulous view of the Mediterranean sea, or I’ll carry out some Pranic Healing on my ‘guinea pigs’. I took the Levels 1, 2 and 3 last year on courses in neighbouring Gibraltar. That’s been quite life-changing!
We eat our own ‘grown up’ dinner slightly later than the children, mainly because we all have such diverse food tastes in our household and we’re all far too proud to compromise – plus us adults love our spice (in the food that is…). And then it’s a book and bed. One of the great things about Spain is we hardly ever watch English TV – and we really don’t miss it. We talk so much more in the evenings (well, book-worming aside), and I don’t think we could ever go back to the nightly lure of the box, even if we did move home.
Obviously, at the weekend we let our hair down, go out for tapas and cocktails, or treat ourselves to a fat gin and tonic on the balcony overlooking the sea!
3: Have you done much public talking about your books yet?
Shamefully, I’ve done none at all! I make up for this with Facebook Live videos for bookclubs though – as well as at my online launch parties. But yes, some events in the flesh are a must. I’m working up to it but expat writers really do need to get creative about planning these things in this part of the world as there aren’t so many opportunities as back in the UK with all of the amazing range of Lit Fests!
4: What message do you hope readers will take from Oh! What a Pavlova?
My mission with my debut novel was to ring a few alarm bells; to dispel the misconception that domestic violence always happens regularly, and to a specific demographic. It doesn’t! Sometimes a victim is walking on eggshells for weeks or months in fear of the next attack. There’s not always an ETA.
I’m not saying it’s a book that will save lives. Women and men in these situations will only ever leave when they feel ready to take that leap of faith, and no amount of family or friends (or books) trying to intervene can change that. Sadly…
But I am definitely saying it’s the book I wish I had read when I was in a toxic relationship. In that respect, it’s a book that could save lives. We need more books of Pavlova’s ilk to challenge the status quo; to help friends and family of victims to look out for the telltale signs which are all so often hidden.
5: Why do you write with a pen name?
I think many people assume it’s to protect my identity (due to the subject of my debut novel), but I promise it’s not. Isabella and May are the names of my two amazing grandmothers who passed away several years ago. I wanted to honour their feisty, independent characters. I hope I’m doing them justice!
Thanks for joining me on the blog today, Isabella, it was lovely to hear from you.
Oh! What A Pavlova is available to buy here. Now, check out the giveaway below to see how you can win a signed copy of Isabella’s second book, The Cocktail Bar.
To win a signed copy of The Cocktail Bar, click on the Rafflecopter link below:
*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box above. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.
About the Author
Isabella May lives in (mostly) sunny Andalucia, Spain with her husband, daughter and son, creatively inspired by the sea and the mountains. When she isn’t having her cake and eating it, sampling a new cocktail on the beach, or ferrying her children to and from after school activities, she can usually be found writing. As a co-founder and a former contributing writer for the popular online women’s magazine, The Glass House Girls – www.theglasshousegirls.com – she has also been lucky enough to subject the digital world to her other favourite pastimes, travel, the Law of Attraction, and Prince (The Purple One). She has recently become a Book Fairy, and is having lots of fun with her imaginative ‘drops’! Costa del Churros is her third novel with Crooked Cat Books, following on from the hit sensations, Oh! What a Pavlova and The Cocktail Bar.
Connect with Isabella:
Facebook: Isabella May Author