Sunday, 14 February 2016

Sharing the love


In April, when this book is launched, it will be five years since I came to live on the tiny Greek island of Tilos, a place I'd fallen in love with. I came here for a different kind of life: to spend more time outdoors and in the sea, to learn about the ways of a traditional Greek island and see if I could work from home and live the dream. AN OCTOPUS IN MY OUZO is a celebration of life in Greece.

A few weeks ago, I nervously sent messages to some authors, asking if they might read the proofs. This is a lovely tradition in books, where other authors can offer words of endorsement. I've been lucky in the past so I crossed my fingers that a few would agree to read it, and one or two might like it. Well, lo and behold...

If you love Greece, then you're probably familiar with The Mysteries of the Greek Detective series by Anne Zouroudi - brilliant stories, beautifully written and full of fascinating, authentic details of Greek island life (don't just take my word for it - Alexander McCall Smith is a fan). So how thrilled was I when Anne wrote the following endorsement? 

'Poetic, touching, enlightening: Jennifer's very personal journey into Greece's deep heartland will give even the most couch-bound armchair traveller itchy feet.'

Edward Enfield wrote another book Grecophiles might know, Greece on my Wheels. When I worked at Summersdale, I became friends with him, working with him on subsequent books, and we still exchange letters. Through him I connected with his daughter, Lizzie Enfield, whose novels about relationships make absorbing, thought-provoking and entertaining reading and who also writes about Greece for newspapers. The next wonderful endorsement came from Lizzie: 

'A seductive evocation of Greek island life and an honest exploration of what it means to try to live differently. An Octopus in my Ouzo is about diving into the unknown and staying afloat, even when the enticing blue waters of the Aegean become choppy.'

You may know Emma Woolf from TV or radio; she and I first met in Stanfords travel bookshop and since then we've been firm friends. She wrote great things about Falling in Honey and I was hopeful that she would read this one as her own new book, Positively Primal, is about finding health and happiness in a hectic world - which is something I was aiming for when I moved to Tilos. She's a great advocate of women's health and happiness and has also published a novel called Ways of Escape, a love story set against a backdrop of travel. Anyway... she said yes! She wrote: 

'Romantic, sun-drenched and mouth-watering: a true feast for the senses.'

AN OCTOPUS IN MY OUZO, which heads to the printer this coming week, couldn't be off to a better start. It's available for pre-order on Amazon here, by the way. Thanks to these fabulous ladies for sharing the love!