This post is a little bit special. It’s my contribution to the phenomenon sweeping blogs and websites across the globe in which writers and bloggers tell of what they hope will be their Next Big Thing. I’m very excited to be part of the Spanish chapter of this fantastic initiative!
Before I launch excitedly into telling you all about my current project, I want to say thank you to Molly Sears-Piccavey, who invited me to take part in The Next Big Thing.
Molly was born in Robin Hood country, a village in Nottinghamshire UK, but has been living in Spain since 1998, initially in Barcelona but now in Granada, Andalusia. She works in Communication and PR in the technology sector and in her spare time blogs, tweets, reads and listens to podcasts. Molly speaks fluent Spanish and English along with some French and Catalan. Read more at her blog or follow her on twitter. You can read Molly’s contribution to The Next Big Thing here.
Now it’s my turn!
What is the working title of your book?
Totes y Amigos: from Rainy Devon to Andalusian Heaven.
Where did the idea come from for the book?
The book is about an Englishwoman called Totes. She’s the owner of Totes y Amigos bar in the centre of Granada, and also just happens to be my lovely Mum! She’s been running the bar for four years now and people are fascinated to hear her story.
Lots of people that she’s met during her time in Granada have told her that she must write a book about her experiences with the bar. Totes y Amigos: From Rainy Devon to Andalusian Heaven answers the questions everyone always asks Totes when they meet her: why she decided to relocate, why Granada and why a bar.
Illustrated travelstorybook-let! I’m an artist and although I also love writing, my idea is to keep the text limited and let the illustrations tell the story. It’s going to be short, fun and colourful! We want people to be able to flick through it and get an idea of Totes’ story and the lively, friendly feel of the bar without having to wade through a lot of text. Another factor behind this decision is that people from all over the world come to eat and drink at Totes y Amigos and we want the book to be able to be enjoyed by everyone, locals and foreigners alike.
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
Definitely Helen Mirren as Totes! Although we both think Victoria Wood would have tonnes of fun with it, what with all the funny things that have happened over the years!
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
How an Englishwoman came to make the move from garden designer in Devon, UK, to bar owner in Granada, Spain, in one short year.
What we’d like to do is get copies printed and put together locally and then distribute it ourselves as a kind of token. We want to have copies in the bar for customers to have a look at as they enjoy a drink or wait for their meal. We’re keeping it small and slim so they can easily take a copy away with them if they’d like, as a souvenir or for friends.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
I’m still working on it! The biggest challenge is condensing all of Totes’ story into a few pages and clearly transmitting the most important parts through pictures rather than words. I often mull things over for a while before I put anything down on paper. Then I think about it some more and just play around with different ideas until it all comes together! It also really helps to show my notes and sketches to other people to get their feedback, I’m amazed at the things they notice that would never even have occurred to me!
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Driving over Lemons, A Year in Provence and, of course, Paddington Bear.
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
People might daydream about leaving the rain behind and setting up a bar in sunny Andalusia but Totes has actually done it! She’s gone through all the steps and lived to tell the tale! She didn’t speak any Spanish or have any bar experience, so she really did start from scratch and had an uphill struggle getting to where she is now. She’s met people from all over the world but she’s also learnt a lot about the Granadinos and their culture, as well as the practicalities of setting up and running a business in Spain. It’s a real story about a real place and real people.
You can read a little bit about Totes’ story in the article An Englishwoman in Granada in Granada Insider written after her first year running Totes y Amigos. If that’s not enough for you then you’ll just have to come visit!
I hope you like the sound of Totes y Amigos: From Rainy Devon to Andalusian Heaven. It’s now my pleasure to pass The Next Big Thing baton onto writer and artist Derek Dohren who will be writing next week’s post.
Derek Dohren was born in May 1961 in Liverpool, England. He left school with no clear career aspirations and thus stumbled into the IT industry where he somehow managed to thrash around blindly for 30 years. He spent 17 years from 1992 living and working in Scotland’s central belt. Mercifully for all he was relieved of his duties in the summer of 2009.
In 1998 Derek established shankly.com, the world’s first website dedicated to Bill Shankly, one of his heroes and one of football’s greatest ever figures. He expanded the web site into a suite of similar sites paying homage to the so-called ‘Boot Room’ era of his home town club, Liverpool FC. His first book, Ghost on the Wall, drew much from his lifetime’s love affair with the beautiful game.
In 2007 he discovered a latent talent for painting and in 2009 won a prestigious national award, the Artist and Illustrator magazine Landscape Artist of the Year.
Derek has been living and working in Granada as an artist and freelance writer since January 2010. He has recently published his second book, The Cats of the River Darro, an illustrated autobiography with a twist based in Granada. Find out more next week on The Cats of the River Darro‘s blog!