Welcome to my stop on Apple Gidley’s Transfer blog tour with Love Books Tours 🙂
Many thanks to Kelly @ Love Books Group Tours for arranging the following interview with Apple Gidley…..
For those who don’t know already, could you tell us about yourself and your book(s) please?
I am an Anglo-Australian living in the US. I have been a global nomad since the age of one month when I flew with my mother to Nigeria to join my father, and since then have lived in eleven other countries – as diverse as Papua New Guinea and The Netherlands. I’ve been fortunate to have had a number of interesting jobs – editor for a regional magazine for an international charity, working in a scuba shop selling dive equipment and trips around the world, British Honorary Consul to Equatorial Guinea to name a few.
My first book was a memoir – Expat Life Slice by Slice which tells of the ups and a few downs of living a peripatetic life. My first novel sits in a drawer – a wonderful learning experience that one day might see light, after significant reworking. My second novel, Fireburn, was taken on by OC Publishing, as was my third, Transfer – both historical novels set in the Danish West Indies.
Where did/do you get your ideas from?
Cultural curiosity is, I think, a byproduct of a global life. Add to that a love of history and the vagaries of human nature, and there are no end of possibilities for story lines. I am an inveterate eavesdropper – airports are a fantastic breeding ground for ideas.
Are any of your characters based (however loosely) on anyone you know?
I don’t think so. Characters, and characteristics, are more an amalgamation of many people I have known, or surreptitiously watched.
How do you pick your characters’ names?
From slave and census records in some cases. In others I trawl the internet for names appropriate to the eras in which a story is set.
Can you share your writing process with us, in a nutshell?
I tend to be a ‘pantser’ – though with each new book I write, I find I am becoming more disciplined with research notes, and outline. I have always written a short backstory for each major character and that has allowed them, and me, some latitude with plot.
Who are your top 5 favourite authors?
Only 5? In no particular order they are Pico Iyer, William Boyd, Tan Twan Eng, Joanna Trollope, and good old Jane Austen. And I’m just going to slip in a sixth, Maya Angelou.
If you could meet any author, who would it be and what would you ask them?
I’d be fascinated to meet Bruce Chatwin, probably because he too was a nomad fascinated by different customs and cultures. He seemed such an interesting and complicated man. I’d like to know why, when he had actually travelled the world meeting incredible people, he felt the need to not always stick to the facts when writing about places and events.
Were you a big reader as a child?
Yes. I drove my mother mad sometimes.
When did you start to write?
I dabbled with short stories for years, and a lot of my jobs involved writing of some kind. About ten years ago I took the real plunge and started writing travel articles and submitted short stories to anthologies, but that was only after my husband suggested I stop talking about it and actually start writing.
If you could re-write the ending to any book what would it be and what would you change?
Is there a book you wish you had written?
I don’t think I could. Every author knows how they want to end a book, even if it doesn’t always satisfy the reader. I’ve just finished reading Kate Quinn’s The Huntress, and I was desperately hoping a sticky ending would be in store for the title character but….
No book I wish I’d written, but I would love to be as accomplished a writer as any of my top six!
If you wrote an autobiography, what would your title be?
I have, and it’s called Expat Life Slice by Slice.
If you could invite any fictional character for coffee who would it be and where would you take them?
Yun Ling is one of the central characters in Tan Twan Eng’s novel The Garden of Evening Mists. Even though she was a tea drinker I’d take her to my favourite coffee shop in Houston, Texas – Catalina’s – and I’d ask her how, after her entire family perished in a prisoner-of-war camp and her desperate hatred of all things Japanese, could she take a Japanese lover?
What are you working on right now?
An historical novel set in 1950s Malaya during a time euphemistically called ‘the Emergency’ when a communist uprising threatened to destabilise not just the country but the region. It is a love story for both a country and a woman.
Tell us about your last release?
Transfer, the sequel to Fireburn, was released on March 31st, 2019 to coincide with the date of transfer from the Danish West Indies to the United States in 1917. Transfer continues the lives of those at a sugar plantation called Anna’s Fancy on the island of Saint Croix in the late 1800s. In it Niels, the bastard son of a Danish landowner and his black mistress, is grown up and experiences life as a black man in Europe before returning to the Caribbean to help shape the transfer of power to America.
Do you have a new release due?
Not yet. The manuscript for the Malay book is in its early stages.
What do you generally do to celebrate on publication day?
Drink champagne, thank my lucky stars I am doing something I love, and surround myself with people who have supported me through both the agonies and joys of writing.
How can readers keep in touch with you?
Through my website – www.applegidley.com If someone can be bothered to write to me, I always, always respond. Twitter @expatapple
Is there anything else you would like us to know?
I have a cat rescued from the Boardwalk in Christiansted on St Croix when she was about to be kicked into the sea, and a dog from a rubbish dump in Trinidad. Together Bonnie and Clyde create chaos in my life, but are dearly loved and in strange ways help me write. Plot problems are resolved when walking Clyde, and Bonnie provides stress relief as she stretches across my keyboard!
Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions, Apple 🙂
Transfer traces the lives of those on Anna’s Fancy, the Clausen estate on Saint Croix in the Danish West Indies, handed down through three generations. An historical novel and the sequel to Fireburn (OC Publishing 2017), Transfer sees Niels Clausen, the illegitimate child of a Danish landowner and his black mistress who both died as a result of the 1878 worker revolt, leave his adoptive mother’s sugar plantation and sail to England to continue his education.
With the help of Toby, a British aristocrat, Ivy, a lady’s maid turned lady and her botanist husband, Timothy, Niels challenges the perceptions on the streets of London of a black man at the turn of the 20th century. His development as a writer and political protagonist continues as he travels to Denmark and France where he meets up with childhood friends, Javier and Fabiana Gomez, before returning to Saint Croix.
The Danish West Indies face an uncertain future as the declining sugar industry lessens Denmark’s interest in their colonial outpost. Niels becomes increasingly involved in the future of the islands as war looms and concerns grow that Germany might covet a presence in the Caribbean. Will the islands’ security be guaranteed by the transfer of power to America?
The highs and lows of Niels’ life are punctuated by the crossing of oceans and cultures as well as the political manoeuvrings of a turbulent time in Europe, the United States and the Caribbean.
Apple Gidley, an Anglo-Australian author, whose life has been spent absorbing countries and cultures, considers herself a global nomad. She currently divides her time between Houston, Texas and St Croix, in the US Virgin Islands.
She has moved 26 times, and has called twelve countries home (Nigeria, England, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, Papua New Guinea, The Netherlands, Trinidad and Tobago, Thailand, Scotland, USA, Equatorial Guinea), and her experiences are described in her first book, Expat Life Slice by Slice (Summertime 2012).
Her roles have been varied – from magazine editor to intercultural trainer, from interior designer to Her Britannic Majesty’s Honorary Consul. Now writing full time, Apple evocatively portrays peoples and places with empathy and humour, whether writing travel articles, blogs, short stories or full-length fiction.
Her first novel, Fireburn, set in the Danish West Indies of the 1870s, will be launched on October 1st, 2017 (OC Publishing).
happy reading 🙂