I’m honoured to have been tagged in “The Next Big Thing – French Twist” blog hop by the lovely Transworld/Blackbird Digital travel author Susie Kelly who in turn was tagged by romantic comedy author Victoria Corby.
Whereas I can only dream of living in France (and Brazil... well, it's a dream, right), Susie and Victoria both live in south-west France making their livings as writers. Dreaming of the good life in France is a British middle class preoccupation. We're currently being catered to in magnificent fashion as Monty Don's French Gardens airs on UK TV on Friday nights. The Gourmet Garden episode is still on iPlayer. Those simple garden restaurants to die for are only fanning my dream, especially as snow is falling in London today yet again and it's COLD!
Having recently read Susie's latest, I don't think I'll be attempting to run holiday gites.. I can, though, highly recommend Swallows & Robins, The Guests In My Garden to armchair travellers everywhere. Yes I publish it but the reviews speak for themselves. It's very funny and has already reached #1 in Amazon UK's Bestsellers France Travel chart.
|'Laugh out loud funny and a must read for anyone dreaming of the good life running gites in France.‘ The Good Life France Ebook $3.99/£2.57/Euro3,07; Paperback $15.88/£9.97/Euro12,31|
I used to go to the south of France every summer but haven't been able to get away for several years now. I nearly did go to live in Brazil once upon a time. Instead, I ended up writing a novel about it. And so this, then is my entry to the blog hop questionnaire.
What is the working title of your next book?
The Continuity Girl
Where did the idea come from for the book?
I used to work as a BBC Production Assistant. We had a million job descriptions and were expected to work across the complete range of programmes from Playaway to Newsnight. One of our many location responsibilities was continuity. I was terrible at it. Take two people walking through an art gallery, one on right, one on left. One camera right, one camera left. Which shoulders are touching? When they turn away they're on opposite sides, it sometimes got VERY confusing. I once got a whole Howard Hodgkin at The Whitechapel Gallery wrong. The director and editor worked around it as best they could but Howard and his interviewer kept mysteriously hopping from side to side in the final show. Continuity is much more of a specialist skill in the world of feature films which is where I placed my central character Suze's job.
What genre does your book fall under?
Contemporary romance. Romantic comedy.
What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
Haven't a clue.
What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?
The story of a film continuity girl searching for continuity in her own life, Suze’s interior battle is modern woman’s greatest dilemma, should she ever rely on anyone else for her happiness, or can she make her own?
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
Self-published via my digital publishing company Blackbird Digital Books.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
About nine months.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I don't know of any contemporary romances set in the feature film world or in Brazil though sure there must be some. Goodreads has a listopia of books set in Brazil but they're all by Jorge Amado, a bit too grand a company for me that's for sure.
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
I filmed twice in Brazil and loved it. Our film fixers became good friends. They came to London, stayed in my flat and offered me a job. I took their offer seriously and began learning Portuguese. I'm still not sure if their tongues were in their cheeks. My character moves to Brazil for love of a man rather than work. The reality of course doesn't turn out to be quite the romantic dream. Brazil is the most fantastic country, the magic of the place and the warmth and spirit of the people hits the spot for many visitors from chilly northern climes. But visiting isn't the same as setting down roots. And Latino men most often come with families their woman is expected to become a part of. That's where it all starts to go wrong for independent cool Brit Suze.
What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?
A behind the scenes look at life in feature films and life in everyday Rio de Janeiro. From the favelas to the fashionable Santa Teresa area. Suze joins a Samba Group and takes part in Carnival. Something it's easy for tourists to become a part of if they have the time to stay in Brazil a while and go to the rehearsals.
An early draft cover in the colours of Brazil:
I'd like to tag two other writers to join the blog hop and share their writing talents:
Diana Morgan-Hill who is just putting the finishing touches to her incredible biography.
And, bringing a US twist to the table, the New York author Catherine Hiller whose latest book retells Mark Twain's The Adventures of Tom Sawyer from his brother Sid's point of view. As one reviewer has put it, dealing "bluntly with issues of sex and racism ..but ultimately love and loyalty prevail." The Adventures of Sid Sawyer is published by Armadillo Central. Read Catherine's answers here.