It’s time for a bit armchair travel today as we wait for overseas travel restrictions to ease. I’m joined by author Margaret Moore who has written a book about her travels in Sri Lanka and is stepping into the author spotlight today to tell us more about herself and the book.
Welcome to the blog Margaret. First of all, would you tell my blog readers a little about yourself?
Primarily, I’m a wife and mother who loves family life. Born the eldest of five daughters in 1961, childhood holidays were always in homeland Scotland. I qualified as a Quantity Surveyor and spent most of my working life as a lecturer, teaching others to follow in my footsteps – excluding the incident when I got stuck in mud on a building site and workmen had to lift me out of my wellie boots. The boots remained in the mud, much to the workmen’s amusement and my embarrassment.
Since marrying, many years happy family holidays were spent with husband Douglas and sons David and Andrew in a static caravan an hour and a half drive from their hometown of Prestwick. Since caravanning days, we’ve had wonderful opportunities to travel the world. Memories of these are drawn together to create the mosaic of holiday memories in my book.
What inspired you to start writing?
Writing a book is not something I ever yearned to do or envisaged myself doing.
However, I’ve got a terrible memory which, in terms of my wonderful travel experiences, can be infuriating. Reminiscing, for me, can be challenging as even photographs don’t always spark my hesitant memory brain cells. So, when I’m on holiday I write hoping the words and accompanying photographic imagery will light up those memories with laughter and “Remember when’s”. I record the happy and not-so-happy times, emailing daily updates to family and friends.
Encouraging email recipients repeatedly said, “You should write a book.” For once in my life I did what I was told, and took up their challenge, editing and drawing together experiences to form this tapestry of travel tales.
Tell me about your journey to publication
I was put in touch with the publisher TSL Publications. I sent my initial draft and received disheartening feedback – my initial format wasn’t going to work. A re-write was suggested. It was hard to pull myself up from this disappointment, but I did. Now the book is published, I see the advice was correct. I also had to reduce the length by about a half. It was hard choosing which incidences to include and which to take out.
Several friends read subsequent drafts and provided feedback, and very importantly my sister Jean, who had recently completed a PhD and was used to having her own work edited, set to work editing mine. She warned me she would go through it with a red pen, and I’m glad she did. It was enormously helpful.
In a nutshell, what is your book about?
The book centres around a wonderful holiday Douglas and I had in Sri Lanka in 2017 with friends George and Sylvia, exploring our immediate surroundings and travelling further afield in this wonderful island. Each day brought new experiences ranging from relaxing to exhausting, amusing to thought provoking, straightforward and the very opposite!
The holiday provided an ideal opportunity to chat and reminisce about previous holidays with sons David and Andrew or cousins and friends. These ranged from our simple caravan holidays in Kippford, Dumfries and Galloway to completely different experiences overseas including Iceland, America, India, Hong Kong, Norway, Spain, Italy, London, Madeira, South Africa, Canada, Austria and Australia. I’ve drawn together reminiscences to create a mosaic of holiday memories in the book.
My hope is readers will feel they are on holiday with me in Sri Lanka and around the world as tales are recounted, perhaps filling a gap left by the lack of holidays in this unfamiliar time we’re living through. And maybe even allowing some planning of future holidays after reading about our experiences!
How did you come up with the title for your book?
The title was the most difficult part of writing I found! I had a list of a dozen possibilities. I finally decided ‘Lashings of Ice-cream’ would tell readers a lot about me, but not the content of the whole book!
How did you celebrate publication day?
Publication day was during COVID restrictions, so it was low key. It was exciting receiving the boxes of books I’d personally ordered on behalf of local people who wanted signed copies. Then there was a steady stream of people coming to the house to collect. It was great to see them, albeit at a distance.
Do you have a work in progress just now?
Just now, I’m editing holiday ‘diaries’ for other holidays not included in the book, printing and binding them with photos and leaflets collected. More memories are being sparked into life again.
What one book would you recommend to a friend and why?
I recently read ‘The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society’. I’d seen the film, and initially wondered how I would like reading the book afterwards. I needn’t have worried as I loved the book, and would happily watch the film again.
What are you reading just now?
‘Isle Walk Clockwise: A year of half-marathons round the Isle of Barra’ by Kath Kelly. My husband gave me this book for my birthday, with the promise of a holiday on Barra when COVID restrictions ease and this is possible. I’m loving the book and really looking forward to the holiday.
If you were on Desert Island Discs, what one book would you take with you?
Mine 😊 – I need it to keep alive my memories! (I’m assuming this is in addition to a Bible)
[It is – the Bible and the complete works of Shakespeare are automatic choices for some reason!]
Is there a book you’d love to see made into a film?
The books by Dr Tom Smith –
- ‘A Seaside Practice; Tales of a Scottish Country Doctor’
- ‘Going Loco; further Adventures of a Scottish Country Doctor’
How can people follow you or connect with you on social media?
The Facebook page for my book is https://www.facebook.com/MargaretLMooreAuthor
YouTube – where I’ve also posted videos: (470) From Sri Lanka with love; a tapestry of travel tales – YouTube
(book available widely via other online booksellers, but prices vary)
And finally, if you could be a character in any book you have read, who would it be and why?
Any of Enid Blyton’s ‘Famous Five’ – takes me back to my childhood and borrowing books from the library.