Welcome to Barren Island Books, an interview show in no way related to a popular music-based radio programme. Every Thursday, I will be exiling my latest guest to a remote island with only five books for company, selected from the categories I give them. It’s up to them to make sure they choose wisely, because they’re going to be stuck with these books for a long, long time …
My interviewee this week is Juliet Madison, author of
Second Chances (the first of the DI Frank Lyle Mysteries). When she's not being banished to a desert island, Juliet can be found at julietmadisoncrimeauthor.wordpress.com.
Juliet, thanks for joining us. First of all, could you please tell us a little bit about yourself – just so we know who it is we’re sending into exile. Illogical fears, unusual birthmarks, whether you’d rather wrestle a bear or punch a shark, that kind of thing.
Thanks for having me. I am scared witless of snakes so sincerely hope there aren’t any on this island. I would sooner leave the bears and sharks to their own devices. No unusual birthmarks or scars.
And what about your own work? What are the inspirations behind it? What would make someone else choose it to accompany them into exile?
Second Chances is a hard-boiled police procedural novel. I have spent years reading crime novels and watching British crime drama on TV so decided to see if I could write my own. I’m not sure there were any specific inspirations as such, although I did want to create a detective who was able to get results doing things by the book, as there are so many maverick cops out there in fiction land. DI Frank Lyle is that man, he cares about people and he gets results. If people are looking for something different than hopefully they will choose this one. Also the story is told in the POVs of different characters rather than in the third person.
Sounds great – a non-maverick hero in a crime novel certainly makes a change! Now let’s move on to the books you’re going to take to the island with you. First up, it’s your favourite childhood book – perhaps the one that got you interested in reading in the first place, or the one you read over and over when you were young. Which will you choose, and why?
I always loved The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis. Another one I kept going back to was The Silver Sword by Ian Serralier, a story about a fictional Polish family’s experiences during World War II.
I see you're already trying to sneak two books past me instead of one! Next, the book that made the greatest impact on your life. This could be one that inspired you to become a writer, or one that made you look at the world in a whole new way – maybe even one that resulted in real-life romance or adventure.
Well, it certainly wasn’t the Bible. A list of don’t do this is a huge turn-off as far as inspiration and comfort goes. I like a book called The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran. I find that simply wonderful, uplifting and it gives steps for a happy life without preaching or ramming philosophy down one’s throat.
For your third book – and you’re probably going to need this one, all alone on a remote island – I’d like you to choose your greatest comfort read. You know, the one you turn to when you’re sad or ill or just need a little pick-me-up.
Same answer as for the previous question!
Fair enough – I guess that makes up for your two-for-the-price-of-one earlier ;-) Fourthly, it’s your unexpected treasure: a book you didn’t expect to like but did, maybe one outside your usual genre or that you picked up with low expectations but were pleasantly surprised …
Rachel’s Holiday by Marian Keyes. It’s effectively a book about a young girl who gets into drug rehab and how she changes in terms of dealing with her addiction. I wasn’t sure I would like it but it blew me away.
And finally, I’d like you to choose your instant classic – the book you think most deserves to be read and reread by future generations. It’s up to you whether this book is already considered a classic or is something more obscure.
Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier. It’s a suspenseful Gothic romance and I have always loved it. It is already considered a classic. I have even got part-way through writing my own Downton Abbey/Rebecca crossover fanfic.
Hmm, interesting. You'll have to let us read some! Anyway, we’ll get those five books packaged up ready for your journey. Since we’re not completely heartless here at Barren Island Books, we’ll also let you take one song/piece of music, one film and one other item of your choice into exile with you …
The song would have to be Diamonds & Rust by Joan Baez. The film, well, that’s a hard decision but I would opt for The Crow, a cult classic. As to the other item, well, I think it would be a photo album so I would not forget my friends and family.
Excellent. Now, before we whisk you away, you have one last decision to make: where you want your remote island to be located. You can choose anywhere you like for your exile, in this world or another.
The Caribbean. Anywhere hotter than England.
That’s it, then – you’re ready to go. Thank you for joining us, and enjoy your trip!
If you are an author and would like to take part in a future edition of Barren Island Books, please get in touch with me via the Contact page.