♥HAPPY PUBLICATION DAY!!!♥
If you haven’t guessed already, today is the day that Lily Graham’s latest book ‘The Summer Escape’ released! It is available for all of you lovely readers to go onto Amazon and get your hands on a copy.
‘Why?’ I hear you shout. Well, click —-> The Summer Escape – Book Review <—- to find my honest opinion on the book. It honestly is a book you do not want to miss out on, especially if you’re going on holiday because it’s an ideal summer book!
To order your copy (available in E-book and paperback): Buy ‘The Summer Escape’ on Amazon UK.
Lily is an exceptionally busy lady, (especially given the fact she is currently writing her next book as we speak), I was very honoured when she agreed to sit and have a chat with me about writing, books….oh, and The Magic Faraway Tree, obviously!
TWG: Could you tell us a bit about yourself before you started writing, and how you came to decide to start writing your first novel?
Sure, I’ve been a journalist for about ten years, and before that I studied literature. Reading and writing have always been a part of me. At around age nine, when I discovered that books were written by actual people, I made a pact that I would do that one day. I couldn’t think of a better way to spend my time, twenty plus years later – I still can’t. My first complete novel though was due to my best friend. She’d been reading all of my half-finished manuscripts for years and set me a challenge to finish one. Which I did. That became An Invincible Summer, which has now been republished as The Summer Escape. None of it wouldn’t have happened if she hadn’t of put her rather gentle foot down.
TWG: Ria has such a tough career to begin with. I am trying to approach this delicately, but why did you choose that as her first career? Wasn’t that quite difficult for you to write?
I wanted to give her a job that she would want to run away from, one that tested the very heart of her, but also brought out the best in her as well. It was a great way of showing her heart, and her courage from the start, and how if used well, it could lead to incredible things. I started off thinking: what would be the worst job you could have if you’d lost two of the people closest to you.
TWG: In your novel ‘The Summer Escape’, you have given such an incredibly detailed description of Crete and the bakeries. Have you ever been there? If so, how similar are your descriptions to the actual place?
Yes, I have. Though I would have loved a year there like Ria. My village Ouranó, which means heaven is a fictional blend of a few places I visited in Chania. I wanted to create a place that blended vineyards with olive groves and the sea.
TWG: As a reader, you are quite sheltered from Ria’s past for a majority of the story, just like those she comes to meet. How intentional was that? Did you feel that Ria needed to trust the readers as much as the strangers she meets, before she told her story?
That’s a great question. I think it’s a bit of both, the reader is getting to know Ria, like they would a friend, and most people take a while to reveal what is in their hearts. Also, in many ways Ria’s only coping mechanism has been to not deal with anything. She’s been living in a form of denial for years, stuck in limbo. It’s only when she changes her circumstances is she able to open up, even to herself.
TWG: Were any of your characters or situations based on people you know?
Very loosely. I know a fabulous travel blogger who served as the inspiration for Caroline in some ways, Joanna Lumley was also a bit of the inspiration – love her. The rest were pretty much from my imagination. Parts of Ria are also inspired by my best-friend, Catherine.
TWG: Poor Ria gets herself into a pickle once or twice throughout the novel, did you ever feel sorry for her when you were writing her actions and personality?
Oh definitely! But it was fun to see her work her way out of them. Often she ended up surprising me with her resourcefulness, and her confrontational attitude. What I loved about her character was how strong she was, despite everything she’d been through.
TWG: Halfway into the story, Ria and the readers find themselves playing detective, it does make you think! You wrote it very cleverly. Once again, the detail and realistic take on the scenario is mind-blowing, that must have taken a lot of research on your part to ensure you were on point with everything surely?
Thanks so much. Yes – that was my favourite part. A lot of the book is actually a detective story and you are unlocking the clues with Ria. It was fun to work them all out. I had such a lucky boon though when a defence attorney friend beta read the book and said that it all sounded plausible, which made my year. The hardest part is when you change something, then you have to go back and change it everywhere and make sure it all works out like dates, evidence etc.
TWG: Did you dislike any of your characters in your book?
Not really. The baddies were fun to write. Tony, Tom’s brother for instance, has some really great lines, as does Chief Inspector Mino who is simply awful. Writing those scenes were oddly satisfying, mainly because it really tests Ria’s wit and I love how sarcastic and real she could become.
TWG: This is unrelated, sorry, but I must ask this one. I know one of your favourite books is The Magic Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton. Anyone that knows me will be well aware that I LOVE that book and I get super excited by a certain land, burning question, which is your favourite land that appears at the top of the tree and why?
I think my favourite part has always been the tree itself. I still want to visit Moonface and Silky and take a slide down the slippery slip! But favourite land, I think it must be the land of spells. I love anything to do with magic. Now you have to tell us yours!!
TWG: My favourite land is the Land of Goodies! Or the Land of Presents haha.
TWG: Lastly, what is next for you for the rest of 2016 and onwards? What exciting things can we look forward to?
Towards September, my second book, will be released. It was previously published as a novella called The Postcard, and has now been turned into a full length novel, it’s a magical tale about the power of a mother’s love.
Thank you again to the lovely Lily for making time for The Writing Garnet! Really looking forward to her next book, also rather impatient though! After you have read The Summer Escape, pretty please do leave a review on Amazon/Goodreads, not only are you giving your thoughts (constructive), you’re also supporting the author and their work! Plus, when you get a good book to read like this one, two seconds to leave a review is nothing really is it? 😉