|Smugglers Cove - Zakynthos|
Today I'm over the moon to welcome author Isabelle Broom on the blog. Isabelle's debut novel, My Map of You is out this week and it is unmissable. It is set in the gorgeous Greek Island of Zakynthos where many secrets await. I loved every page of it and now I need an urgent trip to the Greek island. Warning: try not to die of jealously when you see the pics that Isabelle shares with us:
Hello! Thanks so much for having me – it’s such a pleasure to be here. Who am I? Well, on top of being a very excited debut author, I’m also the Book Reviews Editor at heat magazine, huge lover of holidays, adventures, my dog Max, wine, nice chats with lovely friends and, most importantly of all, laughter. I’ve been working at heat for over ten years now, and before that I did a media degree and lots of travelling. I’ve been a book fan since I could hold one up, and have been writing since the age of five. Only took me thirty years to get published, then. Ha!
2) Your debut, My Map of You, is such a well-crafted story with lots of family secrets and twists. What inspired you to write this story?
It came from my love of Zakynthos. Ever since I first visited the island in 2000, I felt this pull to the place. I’ve lived in London for almost 15 years now, but it’s still never felt as much as a home to me as Zakynthos does. When I’m there, I feel at peace; I’m the best version of myself, and it was this feeling that I wanted to convey through the novel. Holly’s story grew from that original idea, but I always knew I wanted to set my debut novel in my beloved Greece.
3) I completely fell in love with the island of Zakynthos, the setting for My Map of You. Why did you choose this setting and what makes it special for you?
Ah, see above! And as far as the reasons I love it so much go, there are a few. First of all, it’s one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been. I could sit on that beach in Kalamaki and watch the water for hours, and I love how unspoiled much of the island is. Secondly, the Greek people are just amazing – hospitable, hilarious, genuine, patriotic, warm, welcoming – I could go on and on. I love the way of life over there, and the gorgeous weather. Every time I head there, as soon as the plane wheels hit the tarmac I start smiling, and I don’t stop until the trip ends.
4) Do you have a favourite character from the story?
Oh, it has to be Aidan, although I have a huge soft spot for Kostas and Nikos, too, as well as my darling Holly. And Phelan. In fact, all the animals!
5) Mine is also gorgeous Irish Aidan. Did you have anyone in mind while writing him?
While I was writing him, no, but people have asked me since who I’d pick to play him in a film version of the book, and I always choose Aidan Turner (aka Poldark). He has that tall, dark, Irish sexiness in abundance.
|Holly and Aidan's sunset|
6) You're quite a traveller yourself. What's the best place you have ever visited and would like to escape to right now?
Oh gosh, what a question! Zakynthos always tops my list – I fully intend to retire there one day. But I also love Prague, purely for the magic and welcoming people, and LA is a lot of fun. I went to Sri Lanka last year, which was captivating, and I’d love to head back there and see more of it.
7) And what place you haven't visited yet would you love to discover?
As far as dream destinations go, my number one is Hawaii. I’ve never been, but I’m desperate to go! I’d also love to go on a wine tour in New Zealand, do some charity work in India, drive through Alaska, and see Easter Island. I have a very long list!
8) You are the Book Reviews Editor at heat magazine. Do you think that reviewing books helps your own writing process?
It certainly sets the bar high. I think reading a wide range of books is so important for writers, because it keeps you inspired and motivated. I’m always reading something, even while writing my own novels, and I don’t have a problem separating the two. If I couldn’t, I’d be very sad indeed, because reading is second only to writing when it comes to stuff I love to do. I’ll tell you a little secret, though – being a reviewer doesn’t make the prospect of reading reviews of your own book any easier. That stage of the process is nerve-wracking, because what I want most is for people to enjoy the story.
9) What are your most anticipated books of the year?
This is SUCH a stellar year for books, but I’m very excited to read new titles from Katie Marsh, Claire Mackintosh, Stella Newman, Giovanna Fletcher and – fingers crossed – Lucy Robinson. There’s also the small matter of a new Harry Potter script coming out in July and a brand-new epic beast of a bonkbuster from Jilly Cooper in September. All these make me very excited indeed!
10) And finally, can you tell us what can we expect from you next?
I can! My second novel, which is entitled A Year and a Day, is arriving in November, and follows three couples who head to Prague over the same long weekend, and whose lives end up colliding. I can’t give away too many details just yet, but I can tell you that it will have plenty of laughter, love, tears and even magic.
|Isabelle on Kalamaki Beach|
Thank you Isabelle for sharing with us such beautiful pics and answering all my questions about My Map of You and your writing process. I'm already excited for book 2 now!
About the book:
Author: Isabelle Broom
Published: April 21st 2016 by Michael Joseph
Blurb: Holly Wright has had a difficult few years. After her mother's death, she's become expert at keeping people at a distance - including her boyfriend, Rupert.
But when Holly receives an unexpected letter explaining that an aunt she never met has left her a house on the Greek island of Zakynthos, the walls she has built begin to crumble. Arriving on the island, Holly meets the handsome Aidan and slowly begins to uncover the truth about the secret which tore her family apart.
But is the island where Holly really belongs? Or will her real life catch up with her first?