I’m thrilled to be guesting here today, talking about my third book, Living the Dream. As you‘ll see from the blurb and extract, LtD is a mixture of fact and fantasy. Haven’t we all been stuck in a moment sometimes, when the edges blur between the two?
It all started when I began to wonder what the perfect holiday was. I was on a train trip t across the USA – the holiday of a lifetime. My daughters are always very wicked when we’re travelling; they keep a mainly visual (and necessarily top secret) diary of their fellow passengers, with little character studies and quotes. Looking round at the faces of the people on the train, it struck me that not all of them looked delighted to be on this amazing holiday.
But why not? What was missing for them? Surely this was the ultimate escape?
From there on, it was just a small hop to thinking about creating the perfect holiday. In my story, Vita is asked by Moriarty, the charismatic owner of the first ever virtual holiday company, to fill in a questionnaire to outline what her ideal trip would be. I’m enclosing it here so that you can have a go yourself, just in case you ever meet Moriarty…
Through the Keyhole
Everywhere you go, let it be with us – no need to bring the weather with you …
Full name: Vita Concetta Craythorne
Date of Birth: September 3rd, 1982
Place of Birth: Clayton-on-the-Bream District Hospital
Mother’s Name: Concetta Rosa Jones
Father’s name: Henry Jones
Siblings: One brother, Mitch. Born 12th November, 1987; died March 5th, 1992
Medication taken at present: None
Details of significant operations & illnesses: Tonsils out in 1987
Please give three options for all of these questions:
Favourite foods: Steak, chocolate cake and cheese.
Ideal restaurant settings: Bistro with awnings and pretty tablecloths, Italian pavement cafe, Sushi bar on a beach.
Drinks of choice: Gin, elderflower cordial, and sparkling water.
Best place to take a nap: Sandy beaches, back garden in summer, trains.
Earliest memory: Cuddling in bed with Mum.
Songs for holiday soundtrack: River Man (Nick Drake), Tender is the Night (Blur), Back for Good (Take That).
Favourite places in Britain: North Norfolk coast, Clayton-on-the-Bream riverside walk, Lindisfarne.
Abroad: Anywhere in Italy, esp. Lake Garda, Venice, and all of Umbria (the name Vita is Italian for Life, Mum was from Perugia). Not been anywhere else.
Flowers: Sunflower, fuchsia, iris.
Essentials for a hotel holiday: attentive and friendly staff, spa with massage facilities, hammocks on the beach.
Types of garden or landscape: Wild, hidden gardens with mysterious doors and archways, islands lush with colourful flowers, deserted beach scenes.
Favourite family members: Mum (died last November), Great Aunty Mavis (also dead), brother Mitch (dead, too – sensing a theme here?).
Biggest regrets: Not having the chance to say goodbye to Mitch before he died. Marrying my husband. Not going on to the next stage of training at work.
Happiest times: Relaxing at The Chocolate Project with Jack, Mab and Leo. When my job helps people to be happier in their marriages. With Mum and Mitch on a beach in Norfolk. Dad didn’t come. He was on a darts trip with the pub.
When dreams and reality crash and mingle, escape can be the hardest challenge of all.
Longing to get away from her troubled marriage, the opportunity to cross America by train seems like a dream come true for Vita Craythorne. But charismatic travel agent Moriarty Miles has other ideas; by replacing her friend Jack on the trip, Vita has unwittingly set herself up as a guinea pig for Moriarty’s mind-blowing and potentially dangerous new virtual-holiday project. His idea is to give clients the holiday of a lifetime without ever having to leave the comfort of their favourite chair. It’s exciting. It’s innovative. It could be just what Vita needs. That is, if she can avoid becoming trapped inside her own, miraculous dream world.
HERE ARE MY BUY LINKS:
Celia J Anderson is passionate about writing, cake, wine and long walks in the Quantock hills or on random beaches. She is very proud to be the assistant head at a Catholic primary school in the Midlands and divides her time between walking off the cake, inventing imaginary worlds and teaching English and drama.
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