Interview with author Lucy Clarke…

I am a huge fan of Lucy Clarke’s books; The Sea Sisters and A Single Breath both incorporate elements of travel and the ocean and had me captivated right from the start.  Lucy’s latest book A Single Breath was published in March this year and is set in London, Dorset and Tasmania.  Full of suspense, I could not put it down and finished it in just a few days.  When Eva loses her husband in a tragic accident, her quest to meet his family and discover his past takes her to the other side of the world.  This leads Eva to make discoveries that she could never have imagined and in turn change her life in even more ways than she thought possible.  With gripping twists and turns along the way, I can’t recommend this book enough!


I was thrilled when Lucy agreed to answer a few of my burning questions….
1. Themes of the ocean and travel are weaved into the characters’ lives in both The Sea Sisters and A Single Breath; are these themes ones that are close to your own heart? 
Absolutely.  I’m a passionate traveller, and I’ve always lived by the coast, so those two elements have naturally weaved themselves into my first two novels . . . and will no doubt be present in my future books, too!
2. Do you travel a lot while researching?
My husband and I spend as much of each winter as we can abroad.  He is a professional windsurfer, so we are both lucky enough to be able to take our ‘offices’ with us.  Over the past few years, our travels have taken us to Chile, Hawaii, Western Australia, Tasmania, Fiji, New Zealand, Canada, the US and Europe.  When I’m researching the setting for a novel, I like to spend as much time as I possibly can in that particular place.  I hope it lends an authenticity to my writing that I may otherwise struggle to achieve without visiting the destinations.
3. How did you get into writing?
I’d always assumed I’d be a business woman and I pushed aside all the signals that I’d perhaps make a better writer: I kept diaries and journals since I was 11; I read voraciously; I studied English Literature at university; I’m at my happiest with a notebook and pen in my hand.  It took a round-the-world trip with a van, tent and travel journal to make me realize that what I wanted to do most was write.  I was 24 at the time – and it took me until I was 30 to sign my first book deal.
4. Where is your favourite place to write?
My favourite place to write, where I have my clearest thought, is by the sea.  I’ve grown up on the south coast of England, so the sea has always been part of my life.  Cities are wonderful and exciting places to be, but after a few days I feel an almost gravitational pull towards the coast.  Our family has a beach hut where I love to tuck myself away to write.  The hut is quiet, sits right on the sand, and has views stretching for miles.  For me, it’s heaven.
5. What do you like to do in your spare time when not writing? Do you find it easy to switch off?
I love doing anything that involves being outdoors: paddleboarding, windsurfing, hiking, camping, barbecuing with friends.  I also – of course – LOVE to read, and there’s nothing better than finding a quiet stretch of the beach to hunker down on with a book.  I think as a writer you never fully ‘switch off’, as everything around you – places, people, emotions, events – can act as inspiration.
 6. How often do you get to travel?
We’ve spent the past nine winters abroad, so we’re lucky enough to feed our wanderlust fairly often.
7. Do you have any favourite songs to listen to when travelling?
I seem to have an album that defines each of our trips.  One of my favourite songs, which I discovered whilst staying in a little shack in the rainforest of Haiku on Maui, was Over the Rainbow by Iz.  I fell in love with the track and, seven years later, it was the first dance at our wedding.
 8. If you weren’t an author, what would you be?
Ooo . . . so many things!  I think we all need a dozen lives to try out all the fun stuff.  I’d have a go at being a dancer, photographer, conservationist, musician, and artist – amongst numerous other things!
 9. What inspires you to write?
Quite simply it is my love of listening to, reading, or sharing a damn good story.
10. Are there any more books in the pipeline?
There most certainly are!  The working title of my third novel is The Blue, and it’s set on a yacht sailing towards the South Pacific, crewed by a group of travellers.  Best friends, Lana and Kitty, join the yacht in the Philippines and sail through crystal clear lagoons, and remote, uninhabited islands.  But, on a 10-day ocean crossing, the crew wake to discover one of their friends is missing – and no one claims to have seen anything.  Disturbed by the disappearance, relationships between the crew begin to fracture, and Lana and Kitty’s friendship is stretched to breaking point.  It’s a story of friendship, hedonism, and the delicate balance between truth and lies.  It’s due for release by HarperCollins in 2015.
Thanks Lucy, I can’t wait for the next book!
A Single Breath and The Sea Sisters are available online at Amazon, the perfect books to read on your travels!

The Bluffer’s Guide to Surfing…

This hilarious guide is a quick way to become a surfer without ever actually surfing!  It will arm you with all the knowledge you will need to impress your friends such as the best time of year to surf the Banzai pipeline, Hawaii and equip you with surfy lingo to make you sound cool!  Hang with the pros simply by dropping things casually into conversation, like the frontside air reverse and surfing the Severn bore.  Even if you just drive around all the beach car parks ‘checking’ the surf, pretending to know what you are doing but never actually get out of your car, the Bluffer’s Guide to Surfing is your perfect read!
I learnt a lot of interesting facts from this book such as other uses for surfboard fins which includes ‘’plates for sandwiches’’ and “as rudimentary knives for buttering bread on camping trips.”  Who’d have thought a surfboard could be so useful!  The guide offers pearls of wisdom such as: “An easy way of warming up the water inside your wetsuit is by urinating in it immediately.  Every surfer, girl or boy, does this, but it is rarely spoken about.”  I love this because it is hilariously true, but shhhh surfers don’t actually talk about it!
Even after surfing for a few years I don’t profess to know all the lingo & often feel obliged to use words such as gnarly & ripping it up to fit in with my fellow surf buddies.  So I am feeling ‘stoked’ after reading this book as I can now bluff my way through most surf chats!
If you want to know your rocker from your rails, your grommet from your kook and your snake from your sock this book is definitely what you need to bluff your way through the surfing world!
Head to the Bluffer’s website to purchase a copy and to check out the other Bluffer’s guides.

This review was written in exchange for a copy of The Bluffer’s Guide to Surfing.