I’m so pleased to welcome fellow author Isabella May to my blog today. Isabella’s new novel, Oh! What a Pavlova, has one of the most tempting covers I’ve ever seen and promises to be a delicious read in all ways, combining a deft tale about love, life and art with plenty of cake. Sounds finger-licking good! Here’s Isabella to tell us all about it:
Thank you so much, Alice, for inviting me to appear on your blog today! As The Girl in the Gallery, the sequel to your whodunit Death in Dulwich, features an art gallery (and I know you are a fan of Scandinavia), I wanted to talk about the part of my book, Oh! What a Pavlova, where Kate Clothier comes face to face with Edvard Munch’s masterpiece in a gallery in Oslo.
But first, a little blurb to put it all into context:
Kate Clothier is leading a double life: a successful jet-setting businesswoman to the outside world, but behind closed doors, life with Daniel and his volcanic temper is anything but rosy. Some days – heck, make that EVERY day – cake is her only salvation. Slowly but surely, the cities she visits – and the men she meets – help her to realise there IS a better future. And the ley lines of Glastonbury are certainly doing their best to impart their mystical wisdom… But will she escape before it’s too late?
Autumn sees Kate making a sales trip to Oslo to visit her publishing clients, and, given that she has a little free time, she decides to milk the opportunity for a spot of sightseeing. She’s reaching the stage in her bid for freedom from her abuser where the scales are beginning to tip: the mathematical equation no longer balances; the fear of staying is finally becoming greater than the fear of leaving. Of all the cities she visits (and men she meets along the way), Oslo and Munch provide her with the greatest, and most powerful of signs in a succession of ever-growing ‘coincidences’.
Here’s a sneaky peek at what happens when instinct leads her to the National Gallery in Norway’s capital city:
“I knew Edvard Munch’s infamous The Scream hung there, and though not an arty-farty type, there was a certain satisfaction in being able to say I’d seen all The Big Ones, just like I had with the travelling Gaugin exhibition in Stuttgart, as well as the beauties hanging in both The Louvre and Musee D’Orsay in Paris. I was kind of passing Oslo’s collection, and it was on the way back to the snazzy Radisson – via my detour.
I began in earnest with the intellectual intention of studying every artefact and painting in depth. I read plaques and descriptions, letting it all sink in for future pub quizzes. But before long I was marching from hall to hall with the attention span of a child, desperately seeking Munch so I could say I’d seen the star attraction and get back out into the sunshine.
I knew when I’d found him.
The mood changed. Visitors’ expressions changed. A melancholy solitude was woven like a tapestry through all of Munch’s works as they hung in succession. Mental torment wailed through his palette. The queasy look on the green-faced girl of Anxiety spelt utter misery. It was enough to quicken my pace.
And then, there it was: The Scream.
I sort of recognised her. Funny that, because wasn’t this meant to be a guy? But hang on. Wait a minute. Oh, bloody hell. I knew this person alright. My feet almost propelled me out the building in haunted panic, willing me to break into a sprint, just like Shaggy and Scrappy from Scooby-Doo.
But her gaze was magnetic. It was me. I was looking in a mirror. Munch had captured my fear on canvas.
I stepped back, shaking, teary eyed. If I continued to walk backwards, this figure would turn into a male. Like one of those holograms or optical illusions. I’d always been useless at working them out. But I wouldn’t stand for this. That face had to change.
I turned to the other exhibits, feigning speechless critique until the trickle of heads had passed by. And then I turned back again. It didn’t matter which angle. It didn’t matter how many metres. The Scream was my fears made manifest.”
Protagonist Kate Clothier practically doubles her cake intake thereafter. Not only is she flying back to her West Country life to face the usual guilt trip of leaving Daniel to fend for himself in the kitchen, now she has the added cherry on the cake to go with it: a reoccurring Munch nightmare, waking her constantly in the dead of the night in an ice cold sweat.
But will it be enough to put a stop to her procrastinating ways; to make her wake up, smell the coffee and get out of her violent relationship for good? That’s the million dollar question…
Here’s a little more about Isabella, the author:
Isabella May lives in (mostly) sunny Andalucia, Spain with her husband, daughter and son, creatively inspired by the sea and the mountains. When she isn’t having her cake and eating it, sampling a new cocktail on the beach, or ferrying her children to and from after school activities, she can usually be found writing.
As a Co-founder and a former contributing writer for the popular online women’s magazine, The Glass House Girls – www.theglasshousegirls.com – she has also been lucky enough to subject the digital world to her other favourite pastimes, travel, the Law of Attraction, and Prince (The Purple One).
She has recently become a Book Fairy, and is having lots of fun with her imaginative ‘drops’!
Oh! What a Pavlova is her debut novel… and her second novel, The Cocktail Bar, will also be published by Crooked Cat Books in early 2018.
You can follow Isabella May on her website and social media here:
Twitter – @IsabellaMayBks
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/Isa
Instagram – @isabella_may_author