It’s been a while since I invited an author round for a chat, and so it’s a great pleasure to welcome author Zoe May today, to a blustery and showery Yorkshire.
Hang your brolly up, Zoe, and I’ll make us a brew. Thanks for dropping in!
Where do you live, Zoe?
At the moment, I live in Oxford, but I’m moving soon to live by the sea and I’m VERY excited!
That is exciting! I’d love to live by the sea…
Apart from the seaside, where is your favourite place in the world?
I’m a big fan of India. I’ve been twice for extended trips. It’s such a unique and fascinating place. It’s so vast and never ceases to surprise you. I love the spirituality of India and how different it is to the West – it feels almost otherworldly to me and I just adore exploring the country. During my last trip, I spent time in an ashram in Pondicherry. I met lots of interesting people there and had quite a few bizarre experiences, which inspired me to write my new book, Flying Solo, which is about a lawyer who jets off to India in pursuit of her wayward boyfriend who is on a mission to ‘find himself’ I describe it as ‘Bridget Jones meets Legally Blonde in an ashram’!
I’ve never been to India, but I’ve read many books set there – and I’m a big fan of Bollywood films! I’d love to visit some day, and I’m adding your book to my India-set novels.
Being a writer is a great job. What’s the worst job you’ve ever had?
I’ve had some pretty bad jobs, from working at a sleazy bar where the owner didn’t believe in breaks, to working in a café where I was made to clean toilets, but the worst was working as a transcriptionist. I was a freelance writer and to make money in between writing jobs, I signed up to work for a transcription company. The work was so boring, the pay was dreadful, the people who ran the company weren’t very nice – it was just all-round a horrible experience!
That does sound a nightmare!
What’s your favourite song?
Good question! I’m a huge fan of Radiohead. It would be one of their songs. My favourite at the moment is Last Flowers.
Great choice. You’ve made me want to listen to Radiohead now! So I’m playing Fake Plastic Trees, which is my favourite of theirs.
If you could meet anyone in the world, dead or alive, who would it be and what would you say to them?
I think it would be Jesus! I’d like to ask some questions about God.
That would be some amazing conversation.
What’s your happiest childhood memory?
As a child of the nineties, I was massively into the Spice Girls and I loved dancing around to their songs making up dance routines with friends. I was always Posh Spice!
They always looked like they were having massive fun. Sporty Spice was my favourite :)
If you had to marry a fictional character, from film, television, or books, who would it be?
This is a tricky one! I think it would be Jack Dawson from Titanic. Leonardo Dicaprio got under my skin at a young age and I still love him. I also love the character of Jack – he’s so romantic and free-spirited. Plus, it might be quite nice to have someone draw me!
What’s the most important lesson life has taught you?
I’m still very much a work-in-progress, but I think one thing I’ve realised is that being nice and being a people-pleaser can sometimes be self-destructive. Unscrupulous people can take advantage of you and exploit you if you’re too nice or too eager to please. These days, I’m careful to maintain my boundaries and not neglect myself in the pursuit of satisfying the demands or needs of others.
That seems to be a lesson many women have to learn as they grow up, and to keep on learning.
Finally, tell us about your new release, and where we can find it.
My new book, Flying Solo, came out yesterday! It’s about a London lawyer called Rachel who is a bit of a control freak. She’s lived her life according to her ‘Life List’, ticking off major goals along the way, such as getting a good degree, finding a decent boyfriend, becoming Partner at her firm, but the only goal she’s not managed to achieve is to get engaged. Rachel thinks her boyfriend, Paul, is about to pop the question on a date, but instead, he informs her that he’s jetting off to India to stay in an ashram and find himself. Rachel is distraught but after a few weeks of licking her wounds, she decides to embark on a trip to India to win Paul back and save their relationship.
Rachel is the last person to end up in an ashram and the experience surprises her in many ways. From spirit animal workshops to corrupt gurus to orgies, she leaves the ashram a different person to who she was when she arrived. She also happens to meet a hippy heart-throb along the way!
Congratulations on your release, Zoe! We might not be able to travel at the moment, but at least we can visit India virtually through your new novel.
Thanks so much for dropping in, and for your thoughtful answers.
I hope you’ve enjoyed meeting Zoe as much as I have. If you have any questions or comments at all, please let us know. We’d love to hear from you!