Ever since I moved to Mallorca I have loved reading books about other people’s experiences (real or fictional) of living in Spain. So, when I heard about “Daughter of Deià”, I promptly got myself a copy of it and cancelled all my plans for that weekend. All I can say is that it was definitely worth missing the wine festival for, which was happening at the same time as I was engrossed in the (mis)adventures of Laura Lundon, the book’s main character.
The following Monday I invited the author, Jan Edwards, for a chat – to find out more about her and what inspired her to write such an unputdownable book, full of twists and turns, belly laughs and surprising gasps.
So, who is Jan Edwards? Could you tell us a bit more about yourself?
Jan: O.K. So, I started my writing career in PR, working for Crest Hotels in the UK and Europe and I loved doing it. I wrote their in-house newsletter amongst other things. But I always wanted to be on the radio, ever since I was eight years old! I used to play “radio stations” with my best friend, whose brother improvised some turntables for us. Some years later I got an opportunity to work on a hospital radio station in Warwickshire. This was followed by overnight and weekend programmes on a commercial station in Birmingham. I think everyone who is on radio should work on overnight radio at some point; it is so interesting to hear who is out there, listening in the dead of night.
I can imagine!
Jan: Yes! Some very odd people, but also some lovely people, who kind of consider you to be their friend, as they listen to you, and you talk to them every night! Anyway, following that, I worked on radio in Coventry with a kind of boss who, let’s say, wasn’t my favourite person. (laughs) He partly inspired one of the characters in my book. Then I got a call from someone who ran a radio station in Oxford, so I ended up working on FOX FM in the 90s.
Oh, I love the fact that we both lived in Oxford at the same time and I must have listened to you without knowing you!
Jan: Ha-ha, yes, a small world! I loved that job, but there were a lot of early starts, unsociable hours etc. so I moved yet again, this time to the BBC and I stayed there till my husband Richard, and I decided to move to Mallorca, where we already had a holiday home. Here, I wrote for magazines and started my blog and a couple of podcasts.
Great! And how did the book come along?
Jan: Well, I have always thought I would write a book one day. I started it six years ago, then paused as I got involved in other projects, but once the pandemic hit us, I finally found the time and discipline to finish it and self-publish it, which was almost as challenging as writing it – if not more.
Can you tell us briefly what the book is about, without any spoilers?
Jan: Sure! I am a great believer in writing about something you know, so, obviously, my main character, Laura Lundon, had to be a radio presenter, and one on the verge of a major change in her life. But, also, to throw something into the mix about Mallorca, I made her aunt a travel writer who spent a lot of time on the island and had recently died. Following this, Laura discovered some interesting truths about her family, which led her to travel to Mallorca, to Deià, to find out more. Inevitably she fell in love with a guy from the island, but there were some further discoveries that complicated those matters too… At some point she ends up running a cat refuge and nothing goes smoothly there either…
I really, really enjoyed reading the book. It was one of the coolest books I have read this year!
Jan: Thank you! I did not want it to be too light and fluffy, or too soppy in terms of romance. I was hoping it would appeal to male readers too, and from the reviews it seems that it did!
Is any part of the book autobiographical, based on your own personal experiences?
Jan: No, beyond the fact that the main character is a radio presenter, not really. Plus the fact that I have always had some cats, so I know a bit about them, even though I have never run a cat shelter.
The end is very intriguing too. Can we perhaps expect a sequel to “Daughter of Deià”?
Jan: Interestingly, I had not planned on that when I wrote the book, but many people have asked me about it, after reading it. Some things might have been left unresolved. So, yes, I am now thinking about a sequel.
Fantastic! I look forward to it! And thank you so much for talking to me.
Jan: Thank you. It was a pleasure.
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By Mia Naprta
Photo Credit: Vicki McLeod, Phoenix Media