This week I'd like to introduce you to travel writer Jo Carroll, fresh back from Havana and hopefully full of ideas for her next book. Don your fedora, strike up a Cuban cigar and stick a straw in your rum cocktail as I welcome her to share her passion.
"Thank you for inviting me onto your blog, Amanda – what a privilege it is to be here, among such wonderful people!"
'Bombs and Butterflies' is set in Laos - how much of this is based on personal experience and how long did it take you to research?
Bombs and Butterflies is an account of my travels in Laos – so the whole thing is based on personal experience. I talk about the wonderful people I met, and the courage of Laotians who are still struggling to recover from years of bombing. While the west had its back turned Laos became the most bombed country in the world. I spent much of my time there in awe of them and their capacity to put that behind them and embrace the future.
Dream time. What's your ultimate goal as a writer?
I simply want to carry on enjoying both writing and travelling. When it becomes a chore, then I’ll give up. But I can’t imagine a day when I give away my guidebooks and settle back with the telly.
Tell us about your ideal writing day. It can be as wild and far-fetched as you like!
Writing days at home are very different from writing days when I’m away.
When I’m travelling, I write whenever I stop – so in cafes, hotel rooms, bus stations, on trains – everywhere. It’s the only way to get down all the glorious details of where I am.
At home, I like to think I sit down and concentrate for hours – and sometimes I do.
Other days I potter with friends or read and tell myself I’m thinking about writing.
Describe yourself as a writer in five words.
Eclectic, versatile, … um … not sure I can think of more. Maybe ask my readers?
How do you deal with a bad review? Are you a sulker or a shrugger?
I’ve had only one ‘bad review’ - from someone who read Hidden Tiger Raging Mountain and didn’t like my discussion of social conditions in Nepal. After an initial huff I was fine with it, because he’d pointed to the aspect of the book that many had praised. He simply wasn’t into social observations.
What's next for you?
I have heap of notes on Cuba. Give me a month or two and I’ll tell all in another ebook!
QUICK FIRE ROUND
Planner or Winger?
I don’t fall neatly into either camp.
Night or Morning?
Middle of the day!
Doer or procrastinator?
It depends how you define procrastinate. Sometimes when I’m pottering the writing is swimming around my head anyway.
Writing/first draft or editing?
Both - if you want books to be the best they can possibly be, I think you have to enjoy both.
Tea or coffee?
Coffee in the morning, tea in the afternoon, wine in the evening!
Thanks, Jo, it's been a pleasure having you drop in!
You can buy Bombs and Butterflies and Jo's other travel books by visiting her website and following the links.
* * * NEWSFLASH * * *
Thanks to all of you who shared or promoted last week's free promotion of 'Lottie's Luck'. It achieved unprecedented rankings and I've been delighted that it's popularity has continued with new readers putting their hands in their pockets and buying it ever since. I've hit new sales records in each of the last three days, despite having had the lurgy - perhaps I should be ill more often!