Today I’m delighted to introduce Stephanie Butland to share her thoughts with us. I’ve loved all of Stephanie’s book and her last title Lost for Words made it into my Top Five books of 2017.
Stephanie Butland lives in Northumberland, close to the place where she grew up. She writes in a studio at the bottom of her garden, and loves being close to the sea. She’s thriving after cancer.
Which 5 pieces of music/songs would you include in the soundtrack to your life and why?
Something by Duran Duran. They were my teen crush.
Zippedy Doo Da because my Dad used to sing it (I must remind him, haven’t heard it for a while)
Paul Simon’s Graceland. In the 1980s was the soundtrack of car journeys with my family; I went with my parents to see him in concert last year.
A little bit of Bach. I rarely listen to music when I’m working, but if I do it’s a Bach concerto. (Actually, I rarely listen to anything without words.)
Famous Blue Raincoat’ by Leonard Cohen. It was the first Leonard Cohen song I heard, in about 1986, though I think it was a Jennifer Rush cover version! Leonard Cohen songs have been a constant in my life. Words, words, words.
Highlight 5 things (apart from family and friends) you’d find it hard to live without.
A knitting project. Knitting helps me to think and relax, and I love making things for people I love. I take knitting everywhere. I once had my needles confiscated on the way through airport security and I was lost! (I take wooden needles for travel knitting now.)
Fruit. But only the exciting sort. You can keep your apples and your evil bananas (yuck). But I could cheerfully live on berries, cherries, melons and pears, with Parma ham on the side for dinner and a chocolate cake garnish for dessert!
The sea. Walking on a beach, rain or shine, was part of my upbringing in Northumberland and is what I miss when I’m away. I moved back to Northumberland 7 years ago and being near the sea again is one of the best things in my life.
Notebooks and pens and pencils and every sort of post-it. All of the stationery, basically.
And all of the books. I get a bit panicky if I’m nearly finished one book and haven’t already decided what I’m reading next.
Can you offer 5 pieces of advice you’d give to your younger self?
Never get drunk on advocaat.
Relax and be kind. No-one is judging you as harshly as you judge yourself.
Some things can’t be rushed. Wait.
Say yes to that first-term offer at college. You know the one… If you don’t you’ll always wonder what might have happened.
Not everything that feels personal is personal.
Tell us 5 things that most people don’t know about you.
I’m a coward when it comes to films – it’s rare that I’ll see anything with a certificate higher than 15
I can spin yarn on a spinning wheel
I loathe and despise pantomimes
I have absolutely no sense of direction (why is north not uphill?)
I have not eaten sweetcorn since the time I was 15 and had a gastric bug and I was sick with such force that the sweetcorn I’d recently eaten POURED OUT OF MY NOSE. You’re welcome.
What are the first 5 things you’d have on your bucket list?
Visit St Kilda. We tried when we went to the Outer Hebrides last year but the weather was against us.
Stay in the Ice Hotel
Appear on Strictly (and stay long enough to get to do a waltz and a tango)
Write a book while living in a loft apartment in New York
Spend a concentrated period of time learning to do something that had no practical use. Ideally, a month somewhere remote in China learning to write Chinese characters.
Some great answers there Stephanie and many that resonate. I too was lucky enough to see Paul Simon last year and that concert will remain a highlight. I detest Pantomimes with a passion, my film forays are also to see ‘tame’ films and as for advocaat I daren’t think how many it took to get drunk – I’d have stopped at the first sip! Many thanks for taking part.
o – 0 – o
Letters to my Husband – my review here
Dear Mike, I can’t believe that it’s true. You wouldn’t do this to me. You promised.
Elizabeth knows that her husband is kind and good and that he loves her unconditionally. She knows she hasn’t been herself lately but that, even so, they are happy.
But Elizabeth’s world is turned upside down when Mike dies in a tragic drowning accident. Suddenly everything Elizabeth knows about her husband is thrown into doubt. Why would he sacrifice his own life, knowing he’d never see his wife again? And what exactly was he doing at the lake that night?
Elizabeth knows that writing to Mike won’t bring him back, but she needs to talk to him now more than ever . . .
How much can you ever know about the people you love?
The Other Half of my Heart – my review here
Fifteen years ago Bettina May’s life’s veered off course in one disastrous night. Still reeling from the shock of losing everything she thought was hers, Bettina opens a bakery in a village and throws herself into the comfort of bread-making.
She spends her days kneading dough and measuring ingredients. She meets someone. She begins to heal.
Until someone who knows what happens that night walks into Bettina’s bakery. In the pause of a heartbeat, fifteen years disappear and Bettina remembers a time she thought was lost for ever . . .
Can she ever go back?
Lost for Words – my review here
THIS BOOKSHOP KEEPS MANY SECRETS . . .
Loveday Cardew prefers books to people. If you look carefully, you might glimpse the first lines of the novels she loves most tattooed on her skin. But there are some things Loveday will never show you.
Into her refuge – the York book emporium where she works – come a poet, a lover, a friend, and three mysterious deliveries, each of which stirs unsettling memories.
Everything is about to change for Loveday. Someone knows about her past and she can’t hide any longer. She must decide who around her she can trust. Can she find the courage to right a heartbreaking wrong? And will she ever find the words to tell her own story?
It’s time to turn the pages of her past . . .
The great news is that we can look forward to a new offering from Stephanie in the very near future and I for one, can’t wait. The Curious Heart of Ailsa Rae will be published on 19th April but is available to pre-order on Amazon now. Here’s a little glimpse to whet your appetite (details taken from Amazon).
The Curious Heart of Ailsa Rae
Ailsa Rae is learning how to live.
She’s only a few months past the heart transplant that – just in time – saved her life. Life should be a joyful adventure. But . . .
Her relationship with her mother is at breaking point.
She knows she needs to find her father.
She’s missed so much that her friends have left her behind.
She’s felt so helpless for so long that she’s let polls on her blog make her decisions for her. And now she barely knows where to start on her own.
And then there’s Lennox. Her best friend and one time lover. He was sick too. He didn’t make it. And now she’s supposed to face all of this without him.
But her new heart is a bold heart.
She just needs to learn to listen to it . . .
If you’d like to know more about Stephanie or keep up to date with what she’s doing you can find out more via her website and social media.