This evening I welcome author Isabella May to Bookliterati to talk about A Life in Books. Her debut novel Oh! What a Pavlova is available to buy now.
Can you tell me a bit about yourself?
I live in (mostly) sunny Andalucia, Spain with my husband, daughter and son. The move from the UK has been one of the best things we ever did; you cannot help but be creatively inspired by the sea and the mountains here. When I’m not having my cake and eating it, sampling a new cocktail on the beach, or ferrying the children to and from after school activities, I 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 – I have also been lucky enough to subject the digital world to my other favourite pastimes, travel, the Law of Attraction, and Prince (The Purple One).
Oh, and earlier this year I became a Book Fairy, and I’m having lots of fun coming up with imaginative ‘drops’!
Oh! What a Pavlova is my debut novel… and my second novel has already been submitted to my publishers: watch this space…
What was your favourite book from childhood?
I loved Enid Blyton and really wished I was a boarder at Mallory Towers. It just sounded like so much fun and games. I also devoured the Ladybird pocket books – especially anything featuring geography and travel, and had a real thing about Richard Scarry’s numerous characters, as well as Meg and Mog.
What type of books did you read as a teenager?
I will have to hang my head in shame at this question. As a teenager I was an incredibly lazy reader, far more into magazines, music (and boys!) than books.
When you were at school what was your favourite book you studied?
I wish I could say that one of them stood out from the pack, but alas the syllabus was so uninspired and narrow. There was Othello, Romeo and Juliet, and then One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest. If I went back to any of these now, I am sure they would engage. But between the ages of 13-16, they’re just not what most teenagers want to spend English lesson after English lesson pouring over! College however, was much more promising with the magic of The Little Prince putting in an appearance (in French).
What is your favourite classic book?
I am terrible with the classics, shamefully terrible for somebody who calls themselves an author. I have tried and tried but to no avail. The last one I recall finishing was Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey and I did quite enjoy that. I must try again with another!
What would you consider to be one of the best books you have had over the last 5 years?
Jessie Burton’s The Muse. Perhaps I am biased as I live in the Andalucian province of Malaga where much of the story is set, but I don’t think so. How an author creates a work like that is a mystery. Poetry in motion, captivating characters, scene setting and plotting: a true work of art.
What book to you think you should read but never get round to?
Ben Okri’s Starbook. I went to a talk given by Ben – as well as the super talented Joanne Harris – at the Gibraltar Literary Festival, and made a mental note to order his book which sounded just my cup of tea… almost three years later and I still haven’t got around to buying it! I will, Ben. I will!
What do you consider to be your favourite book ?
I have favourite books within genres but not a favourite overall book. It would take me too long to list them all here, you’d fall asleep! When it comes to satire though, Julian Fellowes wins hands down.
Is there a book that you have started but been unable to finish?
This has happened more than a few times. If I am not engaged quickly enough, I will move on, simply because there are so many books out there to read, and only so many hours to do that in! I wanted to love Zadie Smith’s On Beauty, recently. I tried and I tried but in the end it became one of those reads I’d put down after two pages… then have to start all over again. The momentum just wasn’t there for me. And yet Zadie is a fantastic writer. I love the way she nails characters. Nobody else does it quite as wonderfully. In the end I gave up and passed it on to my mum.
If you were stranded on a desert Island which 2 books would you want to have with you?
Being a Law of Attraction geek that would be one from Esther Hicks’ uplifting collection, and one of Pam Grout’s, probably Thank and Grow Rich (to help me appreciate my surroundings when I missed home!)
Kindle or Book?
Books every time: Hygge is books and books are hygge!