I am so excited to be part of the blog tour for author Kerry Fisher's latest release 'The Island Escape today! The book looks like an amazing read and I can't wait to finally sit down with it myself. I was lucky enough to do a short interview with Kerry about her newest novel, so be sure to check out her answers to my questions below!
Can you tell us something about your new novel, ‘The Island Escape’?
I set out to write about whether one woman’s marriage could survive her best friend’s divorce. I wanted to depict a ‘warts and all’ friendship – even the closest friendships can be put to the test if one person behaves in a way that the other fundamentally disagrees with. As always in my novels, I like to weave in a foreign location so I used Corsica and Sardinia as a backdrop for some of the action.
Where did you get the inspiration for your novel? Is it in any way based on your own experiences?
The setting is based on my own experiences as I lived in Corsica for a year when I was nineteen. The inspiration came from hearing so many people say, ‘I didn’t think my life would turn out like this’. When we’re twenty, I think we all have an idea of what our future will look like but the reality is often very different.
Can you tell us a bit more about the main character, Octavia?
When she was young, with her pink hair, penchant for mischief and zest for adventure, she thought she’d live an exotic life somewhere in the Mediterranean with free-spirited children. Instead she’s ended up in suburbia with a rather dull and unavailable husband, wondering how her dreams turned to drudgery. When her best friend, Roberta, gets divorced, it acts as a catalyst. She starts obsessing about ‘the one who got away’ – a wild and charismatic Corsican called Xavi. Can she resist going to search for him?
There’s a great cast of supporting characters in the novel as well. Which character did you most enjoy writing?
I loved writing Octavia’s rather staid husband, Jonathan. It was lovely to put to good use all the little idiosyncrasies I’ve observed in pernickety people over the years – the endless shoe cleaning, the dramatic over-reaction if anything gets spilled, the obsession with kids not getting muddy in the park…
Did you do any particular research for parts of the book?
As with all my books, it doesn’t feel like formal research but I’m listening to people’s conversations all the time, the things they worry about, how they judge other people, how competitive they are…a million and one bits of research that make up every day conversation.
Can you perhaps tell us something about your future plans? Are you perhaps already working on a next novel?
I’ve already finished my next novel – it’s about how small secrets grow more toxic as they pass down the generations, intertwined with the very contemporary challenge of parenting teenagers (no parallel with my own life, clearly!).
Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?
I say this all the time but it’s so true: you will have to believe in yourself long before anyone else does. Unless you’re a genius, most people have to learn how to write. Build your confidence by taking writing courses, reading about the craft, going to workshops. Network on social media and in real life with agents and other authors. Most of my best opportunities have come from face-to-face meetings. Social media can’t replace real life encounters though it’s a great place to chat to likeminded people.
What is the last book you read that you’d like to recommend to others?
The book I really enjoyed recently in a genre (historical) I don’t normally read was Letters to the Lost by Iona Grey. It’s touching, poignant and just makes you long for everything to turn out well for the protagonists.
Which book could you not live without?
The New Oxford Dictionary for Writers and Editors. The most ridiculous punctuation mark in the English language is the hyphen. Who could ever know when you need one and when you don’t? They’re the bane of my life. This book saves me a full day’s editing, every time!
And last but not least, if you had to describe ‘The Island Escape’ in just three words, which words would you pick?