Today we are delighted to have Judy Leigh on our blog.
What was the inspiration behind your book? Can you tell us a little about it?
Last spring, when lockdown had started, it occurred to me that so many people were looking forward to going on holiday, whether jetting off to somewhere warm or simply travelling around the UK. Then due to restrictions, none of us could travel anywhere. All of a sudden, the bottom of the garden was a big outing. My son had been living in Mexico and he just managed to get home before the borders closed. It occurred to me that a book in which the central character travel to sunny places like Spain and Mexico might be an antidote that readers would enjoy. Little did I know that one year on, at the point of publication, a vicarious holiday with an impetuous seventy-year-old woman who seeks the meaning of life might be a real treat.
What is your writing day like?
My writing day involves getting up early, going to the gym and then writing or planning at my desk, usually with one of my three cats sitting on the keyboard and rewriting half a chapter for me. Depending on deadlines, I might work into the night. The laptop is like a magnet – I’m always going back to change or improve something. A new story is irresistible and I’m the tinker lady…
What kind of research did you do before beginning the book?
I love researching locations and my ideal preparation would have been to go to Spain and Mexico. (I wish!) But I had to research from memory and by using the internet to remind me exactly what specific sites looked like. I really did enjoy the virtual tours of Mexico, as it’s a while since I was there. I had to research the Spanish language, as I know I’ll make mistakes, and the most fun thing was to research a dance called the bachata, which I had to learn to do using a YouTube guide. That was completely hilarious – you should have seen the wiggles….
Which fictional character(s) would like to invite to dinner? What would you like to talk about?
I’d like to invite Heathcliff to dinner and flirt with him… what a challenge that would be!
Who were your favourite childhood authors?
I loved adventures like The Scarlet Pimpernel but I so wish Sir Percy Blakeney had been a woman… now there’s some fun to be had! Maybe I can write that one…
What book do you wish you had written?
I wish I had written The Dressmaker by Rosalie Ham and, of course, I’m sure we all wish we’d written Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman. I love books with strong women leads, books that are funny but in a bittersweet way. Both books are just wonderful.
If you could give your younger writing self any advice, what would it be?
Go for it and don’t have any doubts. Then learn as much as you can – read as much as you can. Take a writing course or work with other writers or find some way to learn about the craft of writing and the way the industry works. Then get writing and expect to be flexible, resilient and to work hard. The journey will always be interesting.
What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
Can you tell us what you are working on now?
I’ve just finished a novel set in the Highlands, because it‘s such a beautiful location. As my characters tend to be older people, the main character is eighty eight year old Mimi, an ex showgirl. Now I’m writing a story about a woman in her seventies who is seeking a hunk for all the wrong reasons… I’ll just leave that one there…
Judy Leigh has lived all over the UK from Liverpool to Cornwall, but currently resides in Somerset. After teaching theatre, writing lyrics for a punk band and setting up Shakespeare Festivals, she completed an MA in Professional Writing.
Her bestsellers include Heading over the Hill, Five French Hens and The Old Girls’ Network. Her next novel, Chasing the Sun, is published in April 2021. All her novels, including A Grand Old Time and The Age of Misadventure, celebrate the ups and downs of life, relationships, the power of laughter and the belief that everyone has a second chance at happiness, whatever their age.
She is a prolific writer, but when she is not at her computer you will find her on the beach, walking, doing yoga or splashing in the sea. She is also a Reiki healer, a vegan and an animal lover. She has three black cats and she enjoys travelling, live music, theatre and football.
Sun, Sangria and new starts, from the author of the bestselling Five French Hens.
Molly’s seventieth birthday comes as something of a shock. The woman in the mirror certainly looks every day of those seventy years, but inside Molly feels she still has so much more living left to do. Widowed and living alone with her cat Crumper, Molly fears she is slipping into a cliché of old age.
When Molly’s sister Nell appears on her doorstep, distraught that her husband of more than forty years, Phil, has left her for a younger lover, the women decide to seize the day. By the morning, flights are booked, bags are packed, and off they go for an adventure in Spain.
The sun, the sea, the new friends and the freedom are just the tonic for broken hearts and flagging souls. But even Spain isn’t enough to revive Molly’s spirit. A solo journey to Mexico is booked as Molly continues to chase the sun and to chase happiness. Will she find what she’s looking for in Mexico, or will she discover that true contentment can’t be found on a map, but it might just be found in a new flame.
Judy Leigh is back, with her trademark spirit of joie de vivre, fun, warmth and timeless lessons in how to live.
Praise for Judy Leigh:
‘Brilliantly funny, emotional and uplifting’ Miranda Dickinson
‘Lovely . . . a book that assures that life is far from over at seventy’ Cathy Hopkins bestselling author of The Kicking the Bucket List
‘Brimming with warmth, humour and a love of life… a wonderful escapade’ Fiona Gibson, bestselling author of The Woman Who Upped and Left
Follow on Bookbub at: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/judy-leigh
About the interviewer.
Catherine Lawless lives in Hertfordshire with her husband, daughter and their three border terriers. She writes novels, journals and children’s books. Catherine’s career started out as a singer/songwriter in a rock band. She toured extensively throughout Europe and the UK before settling down and following her childhood dream of writing books.