Book Ends, Episode 12: Jessica Brockmole

My guest for Episode 12 is Jessica Brockmole, author of the novel Letters from Skye and the very first American writer on the show.

Jessica Brockmole

Jessica Brockmole – photo by Sarah Lyn Acevedo (from jabrockmole.com)

A lover of books from an early age and a linguist by trade, Jessica began writing her own stories after the birth of her children. She and her young family moved to Edinburgh for a few years, where she kept in touch with family back home mostly through letters and emails. “At that time I was exploring epistolary relationships in my own life, trying to stay in touch and depending on words to hold things together,” she says.

It was on a week away from the bustle of Edinburgh on the more isolated, quiet and dream-like Isle of Skye that Jessica had the idea for her novel, captivated by the atmosphere on Skye and the hidden histories it seemed to have. She started writing Letters From Skye on the way home.

Letters from Skye takes an unusual format for a modern novel – the narrative is entirely in letters, allowing for an intimate and ultimately very compelling read as we get deep into the hearts and minds of these characters as their lives span both two continents and two world wars.

The story follows Elspeth, a poet living on the Isle of Skye before the outbreak of the First World War, and David (or Davey as he comes to be known), who writes to her from America, initially as a fan of her work but eventually, as time goes on, as her friend and lover. However, their blossoming relationship is cut short by the outbreak of war. It is only several decades later, after an early shell from the Second World War destroys part of their house, that Elspeth’s daughter Margaret begins to piece together what really happened.

Now living in Indiana, Jessica’s road to publication was not an easy one – she wrote long into the night after her family went to bed and amassed an eye-watering 200 rejections before finally selling her book. Her resilient and tenacious story is sure to inspire every aspiring novelist out there!

Jessica was in the UK in August for the Edinburgh Book Festival and I was fortunate enough to grab some time with her on her whistle-stop tour of London.  Thank you again Jessica for a thoroughly enjoyable chat!

You can listen to the podcast here:

Or you can download it in iTunes 

Or download the file separately to your computer.

Guests

Jessica Brockmole
American writer

Publications mentioned

Letters from Skye by Jessica Brockmole (Hutchinson)

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (Wordsworth Classics)

Little House On The Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder (Egmont)

Credits

Presenter
Philippa Moore
Producer
Tom Schoon 
Music
“Other Side Of The World” by KT Tunstall (buy on iTunes

Book Ends, Episode 7: Isla Dewar

Welcome to another episode of Book Ends, the podcast for writers and book lovers, and the FIRST episode for 2013.  The break has been lovely but now it’s time to get back to the writing, and the talking about writing!

In this episode, I am in conversation with Scottish novelist, Isla Dewar, author of 16 novels, one of which is one of my most favourite books of all time.

Isla Dewar

Isla started her working life as a journalist but found she was drawn more to fiction than facts.  Her first novel was published when she was 40 and she’s gone on to enjoy a rather prolific career as a novelist and fiction writer.

Isla even wrote the screenplay when one of her books, Women Talking Dirty, was made into a film.  She talks to me about this process, as well as giving her tips for those who want to follow in her footsteps!

You can listen to the podcast here:

Or you can download it in iTunes 

Or download the file separately to your computer.

Many thanks to Isla for her time in giving the interview.  I hope you find it as illuminating as I did.  I don’t know about you, but I feel like a good cup of coffee now 🙂

“You must master the vices.  You know that if a thing is worth doing it’s worth doing well.  If, however, a thing is not worth doing then it’s worth doing fabulously, amazingly, with grace, style and panache.” – Isla Dewar, from Women Talking Dirty

Guests

Isla Dewar
Scottish writer

Publications mentioned

Izzy’s War by Isla Dewar (Ebury Press)

Secrets of a Family Album by Isla Dewar (Headline Review)

The Consequences of Marriage by Isla Dewar (Headline Review)

Women Talking Dirty by Isla Dewar (Headline Review) (and the film of the same name)

Keeping up with Magda by Isla Dewar (Headline Review)

Larry’s Party by Carol Shields (Fourth Estate)

Unless by Carol Shields (Fourth Estate)

Girls Night In II (anthology) edited by Jessica Adams, Chris Manby and Fiona Walker (Penguin Books Australia, now out of print)

Credits

Presenter
Philippa Moore
Producer
Tom Schoon