Delighted to have a feature on author Abi Oliver today, Abi’s novel A New Map of Love is out now in all formats.
- Paperback: 464 pages
- Publisher: Pan (25 Jan. 2018)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1447284038
- ISBN-13: 978-1447284031
How can you pack for the journey of a lifetime?
George Baxter has settled for a comfortable life, content as the years unfold predictably – until Win, his wife of twenty-six years, dies.
With his loyal dog Monty by his side, George throws himself into his work as an antiques dealer. His business is at the heart of the village and all sorts pass through the doors, each person in search of their own little piece of history.
When George meets local widow Sylvia Newsome, he imagines a different kind of future. But life has more revelations to offer him. Over the course of an English summer George uncovers some unexpected mysteries from his past, which could shape his tomorrows . . .
A New Map of Love by Abi Oliver, a bestselling author under a different name, is a life-affirming second novel about second chances at love.
A New Map of Love – Abi Oliver
- What book first ignited your love of reading?
What Katy Did by Susan Coolidge. My mother read it to me on the car on long journeys before I could read myself. My Dad used to read me sea stories like Robinson Crusoe and Treasure Island, or make up his own,
- If your current book had a theme song, what would it be and why?
One Dream in My Heart from South Pacific. It seems to express a male yearning like that of George Baxter, my main character.
- Which book have you read more than once?
Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte, The Raj Quartet – Paul Scott; A History of Mr Polly – HG Wells,
A Change of Climate – Hilary Mantel – and quite a number of others.
- Do you plan your writing or go with the flow?
Both. I like to have a sense of the overall structure. I think it’s very important to work to a sort of shape because it helps you pace it. But within that I like to write as a process of getting to know the characters and involve myself emotionally. It gives room for surprises. It’s also stressful – hence the answer to Qu 5!
- Do you enjoy the editing process?
I love the editing process. It’s when you have a rough piece of material to work with and start to get to grips with the story – its structure, characters, tone. It’s the best part of writing, I think.
- If you could what advice would you give your sixteen year old self?
Your feelings and experiences are as valid as anybody else’s – no more, no less.
- Do you read your book reviews?
Yes – if I am aware of them.
- What is your opinion on social media and it’s unique gift of connecting writer and reader instantly?
Like many people I have a sort of love/hate relationship with it. It has made the writing life much less isolated than it used to be and there is much more communication and feedback, which mostly makes working as a writer more enjoyable and fun. The down side can be using it to procrastinate and sometimes you just think, where did that hour go, exactly?
- If your book could come with a preemptive message for the reader, what would yours say?
That my main character is meant to be a real person, warts and all, not a fantasy of the ideal – life is light and shade. To my mind that makes him all the more loveable.
- What are you currently reading?
Chronicle of a Death Foretold by Gabriel Garcia Marquez – I’m doing Spanish A level!
- Where did you get the inspiration for your current novel?
A New Map of Love was inspired by my upbringing in the 1960s over an antique shop in the Thames Valley and all the characters who rocked up there one way or another – both staff and customers. Also by the lovely countryside and the way it is particularly beautiful in summer.
The novel I am currently writing to follow it is inspired partly by the same area in the Thames Valley, but also by life in the tea gardens of Assam, to where my eldest sister disappeared for ten years when I was a child. This was long after Indian independence. It was an experience I grew up adjacent to and has fascinated me ever since.
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