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Interview with memoir author, Nick Albert

Nick, in his other job as a golf instructor

It’s a couple of months since my last author interview here, so I’m delighted to welcome popular memoir author and great Facebook pal, Nick Albert, who has just launched the fourth book in his delightful Fresh Eggs and Dog Beds series. I ‘met’ Nick via the Facebook We Love Memoirs group and quickly became a fan of his writing.

Nick’s latest book
The first three books and his novel

Q: Nick, it’s lovely to have you here. I’ve so enjoyed your books about life in western Ireland. Could you tell the readers here something about your background and how you came to be living in Ireland?

A. Of course. Thanks for asking, Val.

Our decision to sell up and move to Ireland, a country we had never before visited, was very much out of character.

I was brought up in a forces family. When I was born in the late 1950s, my father was still a pilot in the British Royal Air Force. It was the height of the Cold War, so he was moved around quite a lot. For the most part, whenever Dad was posted to a new RAF station, we went too. Before his final posting to Norfolk (in the east of England), I had been to more than a dozen schools. I don’t know if that helped or hindered my education.

In retrospect, military life is an unusual upbringing for a child. With regular postings being commonplace, childhood friendships were short-lived and insubstantial. The accommodation was basic, especially by today’s standards. There was hot water but no heating. Discipline and good behaviour were expected. We children were the representatives of our parents. An RAF officer’s career could easily be derailed by an indiscretion, even if it was by a child. Back then, RAF bases were gated communities — a safe space where an inquisitive child could roam free, especially during the summer holidays. I have many happy memories of laying on the warm grass at the end of the runway, eating a sandwich and watching Lightnings, Hawker Hunters or Vulcans take off towards me. It was my personal air display!

When we moved to Norfolk for my father’s final posting before leaving the Air Force, we lived off base for the first time. Perhaps it was the temporary nature of RAF life or the thick Scottish accent I’d acquired whilst living in Fife, but I struggled to make friends. I was the youngest in my class at school. Arriving halfway through the term and presented with an unfamiliar syllabus, I found it difficult to keep up. For a while, it was sink or swim. I guess somehow, I figured out how to swim.

So, I took acting classes, discovered how to make people laugh, learned to be comfortable with my own company and developed a passion for finding out how things work. Although I’ll never be an expert at anything, I’ve become very good at being average at a lot of things! Such an attitude put me in good stead for the future. My father had been a flight instructor and engineer. He’d also endured the dreadful privations of being a prisoner of war. His stories of surviving the Siberian winters, making daring escapes and adapting to circumstances, inspired me to have confidence in my abilities. For that, and many other things, I’m very grateful.

For the most part, my work history is largely uninteresting. I began in retail, progressed into management, then moved into the financial services sector. Then one day, I was offered a fantastic job. A business acquaintance was setting up a new venture in Africa and wanted me to oversee the project. The position came with a two-year contract, accommodation and an attractive tax-free benefits package. Although it was a tremendous opportunity, the decision was difficult. Lesley and I had only been married for two years and our baby daughter had just taken her first steps. Leaving them behind for the first six months was going to be tough on us all. After much hand wringing and discussion, we decided it was an opportunity too good to miss. So, much to the displeasure of my employer and parents, I quit my job and headed to Nigeria. Inevitably, the venture was a disaster. Just after the office was up and running, and a day before my accrued salary was due to be transferred to England, Nigeria was rocked by a military coup. I was fortunate to get out when I did but had to leave my luggage and all of our money behind. Suddenly, Lesley and I were destitute.

I resolved to do whatever was needed to dig our way out of the financial hole we had stumbled into. I didn’t care if I washed windows, stacked shelves, coached sports, worked in a factory or became Britain’s worst milkman, as long as it was honest work that put money in my pocket. The morning after I arrived home, I began driving taxis. It was the first paying job I could find. I started at 7am and worked for 20 hours. By the end of my first shift, we had enough cash to pay some bills and buy a little food. Although she was upset by how things had turned out, my wife was a rock. With her parents babysitting for our daughter, Lesley went back to work. And so it continued for several gruelling years until we were back on our feet. Eventually, fate turned a kindly eye in our direction. I found work as a retail manager and a few years later was able to return to the financial services sector.

The traumatic period in our lives that followed my ill-fated trip to Africa left Lesly and me risk-averse and hungry for stability. I got my head down, quietly and diligently did my best work and progressed up through the ranks. Life was good once more. We sold our town centre house and moved to a pretty village on the outskirts of Colchester. Our daughter, now an adult, decided it was time to leave the nest. Just as it seemed we had found some permanence and stability in our lives, my employer announced a massive programme of redundancies. The stomach-churning fear of unemployment and destitution returned. I survived that cull and the six that followed, but when another programme of job cuts was announced, I realised I’d had enough. Aged 45 and at the peak of my earning capacity, I was unlikely to progress further, especially in a shrinking sector.

Feeling vulnerable and helpless, we began searching for a solution. It was obvious we would need to move to a more affordable property, but where? Without a guarantee of work, our budget was limited. We considered and discarded prospective properties in Scotland, Wales, England and several European countries. One wild idea we’d often kicked around was to buy with cash, so we could live off the grid, debt-free and semi-self-sufficient, in a smallholding somewhere a long way from civilisation. It was a dream and would have remained so had Lesley not spotted an advert for quirky but affordable properties in Ireland. It was a eureka moment. Suddenly, we could see the possibility. Despite our risk-averse nature, we sold our home, took every penny we had, and bought Glenmadrie, a dilapidated farmhouse in County Clare, in the west of Ireland.

Nick in his beloved Ireland

Q. Wow, Nick, I had no idea you’d had such a diverse background and had moved around so much. What a tumultuous time you had in Nigeria too. Was it difficult to adapt to the quiet of rural life in western Ireland?

A. Not at all, Val. We found everyone here to be affable and welcoming. It helped that we weren’t as wild, woolly and ‘out there’ as some of the previous occupants of our home. When we arrived, Glenmadrie had a considerable reputation as a great party house, where the music was loud, the air would be thick with strange smelling tobacco, and the locally brewed poteen flowed freely. I think our neighbours were quite pleased to discover we were a somewhat middle-of-the-road couple, planning to renovate our home and live a quiet life.

Making friends was a little trickier. Even then, life in rural Ireland revolved around the pub, the livestock mart and the church — in that order! If you didn’t attend those three institutions, you were likely to miss a lot of what was going on. However, people in county Clare are always looking for an opportunity to stop and chat. It’s perfectly normal to find two cars blocking the road while their occupants pass the time of day through the open windows. Anyone delayed by such a casual conversation will happily kick back and read the newspaper until the road is clear. Surrounded by such approachable and relaxed people, we soon made friends.    

Q. It sounds delightful. A pace I’m sure I’d enjoy. But what do you find most inspiring as a writer about living in western Ireland?

A. Probably that Ireland has such a rich history of famous writers. Visiting poets corner bar in Ennis, or reading the names of such iconic figures as George Bernard Shaw, W.B. Yeats, Douglas Hyde, Sean O’Casey, and J.M. Synge, carved into the Autograph Tree in Coole park, would inspire any author. Secondly, the stunning countryside always gets my creative juices flowing — even if it’s only with a camera!   

Q. Ah yes, I’ve seen your photos. Your part of the world looks positively magical and would kick start anyone’s imagination, talking of which, you started off writing fiction, didn’t you? So what prompted you to start writing memoirs? And how long have you been writing?

A. I’ve always been a writer, Val. My first book, “The Adventures of Sticky, The Stick Insect,” was completed when I was eight. At just five pages long and sprinkled with spelling errors, it was not a big hit with the critics. (Haha, I like that! V) Undaunted, over the next 45 years, I continued to write, gradually developing my skills, but not my spelling! What moving to Ireland gave me was space. At last, I had the time I needed to write.

My first published work was the weekly golf instructional column I wrote for the local newspaper. After several years, I had enough content to make a book. It was a massive project and took a lot of work to edit, but by 2010, it was ready to go. The book was well received and, for a while, outsold Tom Watson, who had just narrowly missed winning the Open Championship at the age of 60. (Wow!!)

Bursting with confidence, I wrote two 120,000 memoir manuscripts about our life in Ireland. They were somewhat rambling and wordy, but with the guidance of my publisher, they formed the foundation for my Fresh Eggs and Dog Beds series. I wrote those memoirs because I had a story I felt people would enjoy, especially if it was told with humour and passion. It seems to have worked.

But…before I signed with Ant Press to produce Fresh Eggs and Dog Beds, I began writing a thriller.

Wrecking Crew came out in 2014. The book did well and achieved my aim of creating some strong characters within a believable but twisty storyline. It was only when I began work on the sequel, ‘Stone Façade’ at the beginning of 2020 that I realised I’d dug several inescapable plot holes in Wrecking Crew. Undeterred, I set about rewriting large parts of the original manuscript to fix those errors and improve the pace and readability of the book. I’m delighted with the result. The book was republished in February under the new title, “Hunting the Wrecking Crew.” Production of the audiobook began last month.    

Q. And that one’s on my wish too! Okay, then, which do you prefer writing? Fiction or memoir and why?

A. I really don’t have a preference, Val. They are different hats, but they fit the same head. I enjoy the creative writing process and the pleasure my books bring to my readers. If I could only work in one genre, I’d choose memoirs because it’s a platform for comedy. Nothing gives me more joy than bringing a smile to someone’s face.

Q. That’s a lovely thing to be able to do. Now, of course, I’m wondering. Do you write anything other than fiction and memoir?

A. Yes. It’s a long, slow project, but I’m working on a biography about my father’s fascinating life during WW2. It may end up as a novel, but either way, it’s a cracking tale that should be told.

Q. That sounds very exciting, Nick. You’ve been so prolific, what if you had to give the readers here a tip about how to get started on a book? What would it be?

A. I presume you mean how to begin writing. I’m a plotter. I love my lists, storyboards and notes. I don’t start writing a chapter until I have visualised each scene. Other authors prefer to write on the fly, allowing inspiration to surge from their imagination through their fingers. Whichever you are, one rule is sacrosanct. You must write. Get it written first, go back and edit later. And remember, “A professional writer is an amateur who didn’t give up.” That must be true; it’s written on my mouse pad!

Q. I think I’m going to steal that one! Nick, I know that like me, you are a keen renovator. Have you always enjoyed doing DIY?

A. I’d enjoy it more if someone else did it, Val! (funny!) I’m from the ‘make do and mend’ generation. DIY was a life skill, not a talent. That being said, there is a great satisfaction to be found in fixing stuff or making things. I remember the first time I made fire without the use of matches or a lighter. It was a fascinating challenge, both physically and intellectually, but great fun. The sense of achievement when I coaxed those first smoking embers into flames was almost indescribable. Give it a try. It’s more fun than you could imagine.  

Q. Hmm, I’m not sure that would really get me excited, but I’ll give it a go! Now, confession time. What is your greatest strength in life? And then (of course) what do you see as your weakest point?

My greatest (some may say only) strength is adaptability. The ability to take a particular skill or piece of knowledge, twist it around and flip it over so it can work for another purpose. It’s what helps me to be very average at lots of things, without being good at anything. Jack of all trades, but master of none? I can live with that.

The item which makes the top of my very long list of weaknesses is Imposter Syndrome. Even as I write this, there’s a bit of my brain shouting, “Why are you doing this. You have no right to be here!” I understand it’s a common trait of many authors, so perhaps I’m in good company, but from where I’m sitting, it’s a lonely and vulnerable place.

Q. Oh Nick, even if you feel it’s a lonely place, you’re far from alone. I think we all feel that to a greater or lesser degree. But as a writer, you have to love reading too. What kind of book do you enjoy reading most?

A. My collection is somewhat eclectic. I’m not sure what that says about me. I have a library and dozens of stacked boxes bulging with biographies, memoirs, thrillers, fantasy and sci-fi. I have the complete works of Sue Grafton, Lee Child, Tom Holt, Terry Pratchett and William Shakespeare. I’m never without a book. My only requirements are that it must be stimulating and well written. Val Poore’s books make the grade with room to spare! (Aw, bless you!)

One secret I can reveal, if I’m writing comedy, I’ll only read thrillers – and vice versa.

Q. That’s an interesting strategy. I must remember that. I think the only one on your list I’ve read is old Will (barring the last one, of course). Now, I’m sure the readers here would like to know this. Are you writing anything at the moment? Can you tell us what it is?

A. I’m in the planning stage for Fresh Eggs and Dog Beds five. I hope to begin writing by August 2021, but I may delay that date to write the thriller Stone Façade.

Q. Oh great! On both books! So, lastly, Nick, I ask everyone this. if you had a bucket list, what would be in the top three positions?

1. A better bucket… ( 🙂 )

2. To visit my family in England. I haven’t seen them since before Covid arrived.

3. More time to write.

Lovely. I like that. They all sound achievable; at least, I hope they are! Nick, thank you so much for a fascinating interview. I’m so pleased your could make the time to answer my questions. Here’s wishing you well-deserved success with your new book, Fresh Eggs and Dog Beds 4. I’m sure I’m going to enjoy it immensely, and I think it’s almost guaranteed that all your fans will as well. Good luck too with your other writing endeavours. I’m definitely going to pick up ‘Hunting the Wrecking Crew’ very shortly.

For anyone interested, the link to Nick Albert’s author page on Amazon is here

The link to his website is here

The link to his Facebook author page is here

The link to his Twitter page is here

And for anyone who enjoys memoirs about moving abroad and/or country life, I can highly recommend Nick’s memoirs.

Seriously Mum, How Many Cats? by Alan Parks

I read the first book in this series a few years ago, so it was lovely to rejoin Alan Parks and his wife Lorna on their Alpaca farm in Andalucia. I very much enjoyed the author’s accounts of their off-grid life in a remote part of the Spanish province and chuckled at the escapades of the Alpacas. They seem to be quite difficult creatures to breed, and it’s almost a surprise they’ve survived given the help they need…ahem. Enough said and no spoilers, but reading about what it takes to bring a healthy Alpaca baby into the world was a real eye-opener for me.

As for the cats that grace the title of this book, I take my hat off to Alan and Lorna for their compassion and kindness to these feral but enchanting creatures. Alan and Lorna live their life far from the madding crowd and I can well understand how difficult it must be to go to the city and be part of the normal throngs of people after living in such an isolated place. It sounds like heaven to me! I shall now look forward to the next book.

The link to the book is here

Fat Dogs and French Estates 5 by Beth Haslam

What I love most about Beth Haslam’s lovely series of books is that I always feel I’ve been on a visit to France and have spent time with her, Jack and their wonderful collection of animals. This fifth book in the series is another delightful sojourn on their estate in south-west France. I’ve walked the woods, ridden the quad bike, played with the puppies and helped rear baby pheasants, and all from the comfort of my sofa at home. I’ve also joined them at the local auberge, met all their delightful quirky neighbours and enjoyed the beautiful French sun and scenery.

This was a lovely descriptive book, but it’s the rich and lively dialogue that moves the story along. I can just hear their gorgeous vet speaking as well as grumpy Jack’s diatribes that hide a heart of gold, far from the cantankerous impression he likes to give.

Altogether, this was a fabulous, beautifully written memoir that brought a smile to my face with every page. Thank you, Beth Haslam for inviting me into your life and home. I hope I can come again soon!

The link to the book is here

Sat Nav Diaries 2.0 by Adrian Sturrock

This is a fantastic read. Like all of Adrian Sturrock’s books, the stories are moved along by the witty banter between him and his wife Nat, and in Sat Nav Diaries 2.0, the banter reaches new levels of speed and sparkle. There were many occasions when I thought (through my tears of laughter) ‘I wish I’d written that line.’

But apart from that, this is a terrific and informative travelogue that not only takes the reader through several countries in Europe, but teaches us something of the history and background of each of the places the couple visit. There are numerous deeply touching moments when Adrian reflects on what certain nations have endured in the not so distant past and in expressing these thoughts, his writing is lyrically beautiful. I loved this book. I wondered it if might just be more of the same when I started reading it, but there is so much extra depth to this one. Well worth reading!

The link to the book is here

The Dutch Puzzle by Duke de Baena

Among the several books I always seem to have on the go was this one, The Dutch Puzzle by Duke de Baena, which I’ve just finished. It’s part memoir, part commentary and is an interesting, if out-dated look at the Dutch culture from this former Spanish Ambassador’s perspective based on his own experiences in the Netherlands.

It was published in 1966, and I must say that at times I found his remarks unfair to my adopted country and he had me bristling on my Dutch friends’ behalf. He describes the Dutch as ‘large, heavy, dull and lacking in imagination,’ following which he tries to say how fond he was of them. I’m not sure which is worse: the insult or the backtracking. Even so, some of his commentary remains valid today and I had a good chuckle at those of his observations which have matched mine. His whole premise is that the Netherlands (or Holland, as he calls it) is a country of paradoxes, and there I would agree with him. In any event, there are some great anecdotes because he mixed with so many interesting people. That said, it is definitely a book of its time but that is also a good part of its value.

The link to the book is here

Review of ‘Fur Babies in France’ by Marvellous Memoirs — World Wide Walkies

Well written, full of bounce and fun, and a great book for wannabe caravaners or full time travellers. valerie poore A good review is always a source of cheer, but I was particularly thrilled to receive a five-star review of the first book in my Adventure Caravanning with Dogs series from award-winning author, blogger, bargee […]

Review of ‘Fur Babies in France’ by Marvellous Memoirs — World Wide Walkies

Adventure Caravanning with Dogs: Fur Babies in France by Jacqueline Lambert

This is the second of Jackie Lambert’s books I have read although it is the first one in the series. The last one I read was Dogs n Dracula about Jackie and her husband’s travels in Romania, which I loved, so I was pleased to win this book in a draw.

Like Dogs n Dracula, this account is of the couple’s caravanning adventures, but because they were very new to the whole lifestyle, it is full of the many learning curves they underwent which were often incredibly funny. Starting off in the UK, they make an almost spontaneous decision to take off to France for several months and their travels around the country’s lovely departments are the subject of some wonderful descriptions, numerous ups, several downs and a number of crises, all of which Jackie recounts with great humour and much witticism. I am quite a Francophile myself, but I can relate very well to some of their experiences, including the mystery of hospitality businesses that close in the summer because the proprietors want to go on holiday. A very French quirk indeed.

Well written, full of bounce and fun, and a great book for wannabe caravaners or full time travellers. One thing both books have taught me, though, is never ever buy a large caravan. It sounds far too complicated and fraught with difficulties, but then again, it provides the subject matter for some great anecdotes.

Altogether, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and will almost certainly read others in the series.

The link to the Fur Babies in France on Amazon US is here. It is available worldwide, so you can just change the country in the URL to fit your own store.

Interview with memoir author, Lisa Rose Wright

It’s a long time since I’ve done a weberview, but since this blog is devoted to memoirs, which are about the real lives of real people, I thought it might be fun to invite a few of the authors here to find out what made them start writing their stories and, because I’m nosy, what else makes them tick. To kick off, then, I’ve asked Lisa Rose Wright to join me here. Lisa has written some really lovely, engaging books about her move to Galicia in Spain with her partner (known in the books as S) and about the old country ruin they renovated into a beautiful home. I read and loved Plum, Courgette and Green Been Tart last year and as chance would have it, the sequel, Tomato, Fig and Pumpkin Jelly will be released tomorrow on Valentine’s Day, a book I Beta read and enjoyed hugely. So, as they say, on with the show, or in this case, the questions!

The new book Lisa will be releasing on 14 February

Me: Lisa, could you tell us something of your background and how you came to be living in Galicia?

Lisa: Oo, how long do you have? I’ll give you abbreviated version or we will be here all night. In 2001, I was working as a sales rep and fed up. One fateful night I decided to jack it in and go back to college to get an ecology degree so I could work with animals as I had always wanted. Not long after graduating I met S, my husband, in a pond, as you do, and together we set off to walk the Camino de Santiago through northern Spain. And we fell in love with Galicia at first sight. The rest, as they say, is history!

Me: For those who don’t know, Lisa’s former job was counting newts (as one does), but back to Spain. It really does sound like a lovely place. What do you find most inspiring as a writer about living in Galicia? 

Lisa: I find Galicia totally inspiring. There is a big cultural tradition of poetry and prose here. We even have a Writer’s Day Bank Holiday (17th May, el dia das letras Galegas). The peace and tranquillity are perfect for a writer and there is countryside right outside my door where I can take myself off to wander and contemplate. It really is paradise.

Lisa’s front door

Me: Well, that definitely sounds like the best environment for a writer, and it looks gorgeous there, but you didn’t set out to write memoirs, I know, so what prompted you to start writing? How long have you been writing?

Lisa: I have always ‘scribbled’, since I first learned to write. I recently found some of my very early poems which are suitably dire and a whole notebook of stories based on other planets. I had piles of notebooks and diary entries from our early life here and plenty of half-completed stories lying about but it was the discovery that Mum had kept all the letters I sent home to her in England that got me thinking that I could maybe use them as a basis for a book. I joined a writers’ group here in 2018 and haven’t looked back!

Me: This is just wonderful serendipity, isn’t it? Do you write anything other than memoir?

Lisa: I have only published non-fiction, travelogue memoir, so far… but I really admire those authors who can create whole worlds in their heads. I have had an idea for a couple of fictional books rattling around my head and in notebooks for years which I hope I will get round to writing up one of these days. One is a psychological thriller, the other a memoir/time slip story set in Colney Hatch mental hospital where I used to work.

Me: Wow, that sounds interesting. I hope you decide to write it! If you had to give the readers here a tip about how to get started on a book, what would it be?

Lisa: A tip? I would say to just write. Get ideas onto paper. You get always edit later but if you don’t get them down those ideas may just slip away. My best ideas often come at 3am and have then gone by morning! Also, the more you write, the more you want to or need to write. I’m a writing addict now!

Me: Funny how that happens, isn’t it? So what do you see as your greatest strength in life? And then (of course) what do you see as your weakest point?

Lisa: Dogged determination! I remember my ‘O’ level maths teacher telling me I had little aptitude but a dogged determination. I rather liked that idea! My hubby tells me I have no weaknesses that I will admit to… so maybe that is my weakness, though I think I just have too many to name!

Me: Oh Lisa, that did make me laugh. Okay, here’s a difficult one. If you had to live for a year with only one book, what would it be? And do you have any favourite authors? If so, why do you admire their work?

Lisa: Oo that is sooo difficult. I’m guessing my one kindle with all its 1000s of books on is out? The book I have reread most often is Colleen McCullough’s Thornbirds. I love her descriptions of the Australian outback and I could test myself on what dialogue is on which page if I got bored. If this were a desert island thingy though I’d have to swap my choice to Jean Auel’s fabulous Clan of the Cave Bear series as there is so much useful survival information in there as well as it being brilliantly written.  I have so many favourite authors that to choose one is almost impossible but in my own genre the one I really admire at the moment is Beth Haslam and her Fat Dogs series. She really does write so well and so engagingly. Her stories never seem to stall or become boring and that is quite a feat. 

Me: Ah yes, I love Beth’s books too. By the way, are you writing anything at the moment? Can you tell us what it is?

Lisa: I have just got my second travelogue memoir out there, Tomato, Fig & Pumpkin Jelly launches on Valentine’s Day, so now I am busy with the first draft of my third book, Chestnut, Cherry & Kiwi Fruit Sponge. (At least the cover recipe will be easier on this one!) I’m also adding to my notes for a couple more travelogue memoirs when inspiration hits!

Me: Ooh, that’s great to hear. I’ll look forward to those! Okay, one last question. If you had a bucket list, what would be in the top three positions?

Lisa: Oh! That one has floored me. In fact I’ll admit I had to Google ‘bucket list’. So, things to do before I die? You know I don’t think I’ve ever made a bucket list. Although I’m a big list maker in general (shopping, books etc) I have never really planned the big things in my life. For instance, moving to Galicia and renovating a ruin wouldn’t have been on my bucket list as I’d never even heard of Galicia until we walked the Camino de Santiago and then we just decided to move and that was that! Publishing a book, never mind two, was never on a bucket list either as I thought it was as likely as flying to the moon (now there’s one for my bucket list if Elon Musk is listening). I guess I’m more of a taking the unexpected side turnings to an alternative future type of girl! It’s worked out pretty well so far. I couldn’t be happier than I am here in Galicia. Maybe that’s why I don’t have a bucket list!

Thank you so much, Lisa. I’ve loved your answers and I’m thrilled you’re going to be writing some more lovely memoirs. For all the readers here, I reviewed Lisa’s new book on my review page, so you can find out a bit more about it here in the previous post, but if you click on the titles in the first paragraph, it will take you to the marketing page. I should say her books are available world wide, so if you’re not a dot com customer, go to your own Amazon page to find them. I can recommend them both very highly! If you love the country, self-sufficiency, foreign travel, gardening, food and just about anything else, you’ll love these delightful memoirs. Lisa’s warmth and humour positively bounce off the pages. It’s no wonder her neighbours in Spain love her!

You can also find Lisa on her website at:
She is also a regular contributor on the We Love Memoirs Facebook page:
As well as on her Facebook author page:
And on Twitter at :

Charming house, charming setting, paradise indeed!
Both of Lisa’s books against the background of her lovely Galician home

A Dream of Paris by Neal Atherton

This is the third book I’ve read by Neal Atherton and once again, I loved his refreshing enthusiasm for France and all things French.

This memoir/travelogue is dedicated to Paris and is really a kind of love letter to the author’s favourite city. It is a very personal account and devotes time to the specific places he and his wife love, as well as detailing favourite restaurants, meals and wines.

There is also attention to history, in particular WWII, as well as some extra description of some of special places the couple love to return to. I learned several things I didn’t know about Paris too, which is always a bonus for me and the book made me want to return, which is what I think Neal Atherton hopes readers will do.

Altogether, a charming read from someone who has immersed himself in France and clearly adores the many moods and views of its beautiful capital.

The link to the book is here

Tomato, Fig and Pumpkin Jelly by Lisa Rose Wright

This is the sequel to Lisa Rose Wright’s first memoir, Plum, Courgette and Green Bean Tart, which I read and reviewed last year. It was about her move to an old farmhouse in Galicia with her boyfriend, S, and the restoration and self-sufficiency project they embarked on. I enjoyed it so much I was very pleased when I was asked to Beta read this one, and what a lovely book it is.

The ongoing theme throughout Tomato, Fig and Pumpkin Jelly is Lisa and her S’ plans to get married in Galicia. What they didn’t anticipate when they decided to tie the knot was the bureaucratic shenanigans they would have to go through to make it to the alter. The story of their efforts to fulfil the seemingly impossible requirements is the thread that sews this lovely memoir together.

The chapters are a mix of Lisa’s letters home to her beloved mother, diary entries and a narrative that provides the glue as well as the links between the sections. Apart from the wedding plans, we learn more about their noble restoration of their lovely Spanish home as well as stories about their chickens, rabbits and other furry friends (or not) and also their delightful neighbours. And of course, the letters to mum are full of news interspersed with teasing daughterly humour.

It’s a gorgeous mix, bound by Lisa’s vivacious personality, which bounces off every page. I loved it; hers is the life I would so love to live and it was wonderful to immerse myself in her world with S for a while. All in all, this is a charming book that will leave you dreaming of going to Galicia and living there in a ramshackle house with lots of chickens. Just a delight altogether.

The link to pre-order or order the book is here