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BLOG TOUR ~ Q&A with Kerry Fisher, Author of The Island Escape


Yes, it's Publication day for Kerry Fisher who has written this GORGEOUS Must-Have Summer Read. It's the day when we bloggers get excited about, and the day that authors and publishers go absolutely crazy with excitement! You see, this gorgeous looking book and MUST NOT MISS read hits the shelves and then 'accidentally' falls into your basket when shopping. We love those accidents! 

To celebrate, as well as there being stunning sunshine, there is going to be a HUGE twitter picnic which i'll be taking part in, Just head over to Twitter between 12pm-1pm and join in with #islandescape 

Also, I have for you a very special interview with Kerry and I can't tell you how excited I am about hosting Kerry on Publication Day. So let's get this party started!! 

It's been such a long time since we caught up with you here on A Page of Fictional Love. The last time we met up it was for a chat about your debut novel; The School Gate Survival Guide. 

Thanks so much for inviting me here. I’m so happy to be back!

I loved that book as you know, and I couldn't wait for your next book. How long did it take you to write The IslandEscape?

All my books take roughly a year but I don’t get much done in the school holidays. Despite the fact I instruct my kids not to disturb me, they float in and out with ‘What’s for lunch?/Can you take me into town?/When I can I use your computer?’

You're back, thankfully, with a new summer read, TheIsland Escape. How does it feel to have your second book hitting the shelves? 

I feel so lucky. And surprisingly, it’s much more enjoyable second time around. Last year, I was so worried that I might let down all the people who’d shown great faith in me, that I almost forgot to enjoy the moment.

The book is set on an exotic island, what can you tell us about the setting and location? 

The Island Escape is set in Corsica and Sardinia, and Surrey, which isn’t quite as exotic! I lived in Corsica teaching English as part of my French degree when I was nineteen. Initially, I was really homesick as I lived in a boarding school that catered for the children from all the little mountain villages. When they went home at weekends, I was just there on my own, which was really spooky! In the end, though, I made friends in the village and discovered some wonderful unspoilt beaches and learnt to windsurf and waterski.

Where did your inspiration come from? 

I have a milestone birthday coming up next year and I’m lucky enough to have lots of friends I’ve known for several decades. None of us have ended up with the lives we thought we’d have (some have turned out better, some worse). It started me thinking about how we have a certain idea of how our future will turn out when we’re twenty, yet a decade or two later the landscape can look entirely different. I suppose that’s one of the attractions of Facebook – seeing if the most popular/prettiest/most intelligent person really did end up the happiest.

Like your last book, The Island Escape contains an element of the school setting in the guise of Octavia, one of the main characters, being a Nursery Manager. Why did you choose a similar work environment? 

I’m drawn to writing about motherhood. I always want to portray the realities of having children and the mixed – and sometimes unwelcome – emotions they can arouse even in a parent who loves them beyond all measure. There’s so much pressure in school for children to conform and it’s easy to feel criticised if they – or their parents - are a bit unusual, so schools/nurseries are a great environment for exploiting conflict in any story.

Where does your inspiration for the characters come from? 

All my inspiration for characters comes from what I observe around me. I take tiny bits of character traits I see in people (or myself!) and weave them into complete people. Jonathan, Octavia’s rather dull husband, is obsessed with rotating apples in the fruit bowl according to age. I’m embarrassed to say that I get cross when my kids eat all the freshest fruit and leave a manky pear rotting at the bottom!

The novel is written from the perspective of two characters, Roberta and Octavia, who are close friends. What was it like to write in this style? 

I loved it. I feel most comfortable writing in the first person and by doing it from the perspective of two characters, I got to be privy to the machinations of two minds, rather than just one. It does present a writing challenge, though, to make the two characters instantly recognisable with different ‘voices’ and attitudes.

Can you briefly introduce us to Roberta and Octavia and maybe share a secret from each character? 

Roberta grew up in an affluent household and is used to the finer things in life. Against everyone’s wishes, she married Scott, who turned out to be a bully. He’s completely drained her confidence. Secretly, she yearns to prove that she’s not just a woman who can match a handbag to a pair of shoes, that she’s a capable, intelligent woman who can stand on her own two feet. Octavia was a rebellious and wild teenager, who’s ended up married to Jonathan. He used to embrace her daredevil nature but over the years, her adventurous spirit has started to irritate him. Her secret is that she still hankers after the ‘one that got away’, a charismatic Corsican called Xavi.

The cover says: 'What if there was somewhere you could disappear to?" - so to answer your own question, what would be your escape? 

I lived in Florence for five years in my twenties and I still dream of a little farmhouse in Tuscany, up on a hillside with a terrace, carafes of Chianti, sunflowers and poppies.

When you're not writing, how do you escape from life's twists and turns? 

My ridiculously naughty dog, a Labrador/Giant Schnauzer cross infuriates me and makes me laugh in equal measure. We live on the South Downs in Surrey and I walk her through gorgeous English countryside every day. Just seeing the changing seasons relaxes me – at the moment all the bluebells are out, the hawthorns are blossoming, the cowslips and violets are dotting the hill. I love it.

If you could eat an exotic meal on an island beach, what would it be and why? 

I’m not fussy at all but I hate fish, so sadly, my fantasy of barbecuing a freshly caught squid over a fire won’t ever come to pass. One of the things I loved so much about living in Mediterranean countries was that you could taste the sun, rather than the greenhouse, in the vegetables. Nothing beats a plate of sun-ripened tomatoes, peppers and aubergines, drizzled with peppery olive oil, rosemary focaccia and goat’s cheese…yum!

Can you share a summer holiday memory of yours? 

I studied French and Italian at university and in the summers I used to au pair for a lovely family in a tiny Italian village in Liguria. The first evening I was there, when I didn’t know much more than ‘hello’ and ‘where’s the train station?’, the mother left me in the village piazza with all the other young people and basically said, ‘Look after her.’ It was terrifying at first but they were so friendly to me. We used to spend every evening sitting in the square – someone would get a guitar out and we’d all sit under the stars singing ‘We Are The World’. So simple but so much fun.

If you could meet a handsome exotic bookish hunk, what would he be like? 

A cross between Gerard Butler and Clive Owen!

Lastly, are you planning on writing a third novel? Because I'm already eagerly awaiting news of where you're going to take us next. 

The best advice I ever received from my author friends was to get writing the next novel as soon as you get a publishing deal because those deadlines fly round. So thankfully, I’ve already finished book three – basically, ‘What happens when a secret you thought you and your family had buried bites you on the bottom a few decades later’! I hope I’ve intertwined a serious subject with a witty look at the challenges of parenting teens.

Thank you so much for taking time out of your hectic promotions schedule to talk to us about The Island Escape. I wish you the very best success with it, and I will be doing everything I can to help you easily secure that No1. Bestselling author's spot!

Thank you so much for inviting me here again, Dawn, I really appreciate your support.

The Island Escape is out now:

Please be sure to 'check-in' with the other gorgeous blogs taking part in the tour and stop by the Twitter Picnic if you can; 

1 comment

  1. Thank you so much for inviting me onto your blog, Dawn…it's really special to be here on publication day! Kerryxx