Welcome to Barren Island Books, the author interview series that’s in no way related to a popular music-based radio programme. You know the rules by now: my guests are exiled 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 those books for a long, long time …
My interviewee this week is Nicole Zoltack, multi-genre author of the Kingdom of Arnhem series, the Masked Love series and many more. When she’s not being banished to a desert island, Nicole can be found at nicolezoltack.blogspot.co.uk.
Nicole, 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.
I would definitely rather wrestle a bear than punch a shark. I'm not a very good swimmer. I fear the shark would definitely have the advantage over me. It's not a baby bear, is it? Because then mama would come and I'd be lunch. Then again, papa bear would be so much bigger than me – I'm only five feet – so maybe I do pick the shark after all!
And what about your own work? What are the inspirations behind it? What would make someone else choose it to accompany them into exile?
I'm inspired by so many things. A super secret project I'm working on right now, I was inspired from a dream. Let's just say I have some crazy dreams. Woman of Honor was inspired from my love of all things medieval and learning there actually had been a few female knights back in the Middle Ages. All of my stories contain a theme of hope and love – what more could you ask for when in exile?
Perfect! So 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?
Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery. I must have reread that one a hundred times. I so identified with Anne. Or the LOTR trilogy. Or the Chronicles of Narnia. It's not cheating to pick a series, is it?
Well, kinda, yes, so we'll give you Anne! 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.
Les Misérables by Victor Hugo. Yes, it's long winded and several whole chapters should have been cut, but the sheer brilliance of the characters, the vivid world, how it all entwined – it's majestic writing that I can only hope to one day come a fraction toward.
Confession: I've never read it. Though Mr Smith loves the stage show. Does that count? It doesn't count, does it. *makes resolution to read more classic literature* 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.
The Princess Bride by William Goldman. It has a different kind of magic than the movie and I love both of them for different reasons.
Agreed: great book, great movie. 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 …
Joseph Heller's Catch 22. I had to read it for school and I thought I would hate it, but I laughed more while reading it than any other book I've read.
Now there's a great classic I have read! And finally, talking of classics, 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.
A book my son just read to me a few days ago – The Little Engine that Could by Watty Piper. There's nothing more powerful than belief in oneself.
Right. 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 …
Song – any by Two Steps from Hell. Film? Disney's The Three Musketeers. Other item – my family. Or if I'm not allowed them, then my Macbook with internet access and unlimited battery.
A whole family is a bit of a stretch as an 'item', so we'll give you the Macbook! 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.
Near Italy. I've always wanted to go there and so many other places in Europe!
That’s it, then – you’re ready to go. Thank you for joining us, and enjoy your trip!
Thank you! I think. LOL