Today I have the pleasure of having Colette Dartford doing an interview today to promote her new book "Learning to Speak American
What is it like to pack up your life and move to America?
Frightening and exhilarating. Even though it was something my husband and I had talked about and planned, when the day came everything felt unreal, as though it was happening in slow motion. We were leaving the country of our birth and the life we had always known for something far away and different. It was our choice to do that of course, but it didn’t make it any less daunting.
Did you face any challenges?
Many! At least Brits and Americans speak the same language (although the title of my novel may suggest otherwise) so we didn’t have that barrier to overcome, but America is an extremely bureaucratic country so we wasted a great deal of time and energy jumping through governmental hoops.
As this book is based on your own experiences of doing up a cottage can share any of the pitfalls?
Everything will take five times longer than you expect and cost twice as much. While the same might be said of England, as I mentioned in my previous comment, any construction project, especially in California, with its earthquakes and stringent environmental policies, is subject to a vast number of rules and regulations. I left all of that out of Learning To Speak American (too tedious, believe me), but the emotional rollercoaster certainly found it’s way into the novel.
What are the best spots in California to hang out?
San Francisco is an amazing city and breakfast in the Ferry Building, looking out at the double-decker Bay Bridge and the vast Pacific Ocean, is a great way to start the day.
In the Napa Valley, 80 miles north of San Francisco, you are truly spoilt for choice. I would recommend lunch on the deck of The Auberge de Soleil (where the fictional Duncan and Lola stay on their first visit to the area) with its elevated view across the valley floor. Or dinner at the cool Solage resort in Calistoga as the sun dips behind the mountains. And a nightcap at Bouchon in Yountville is the prefect end to any day.
What inspired you to become an author?
I have always been a prolific reader and though I love writing too, it was really more of a hobby until I moved to the Napa Valley. It was the beauty of the place that inspired Learning To Speak American, and the warmth and kindness of its people.
And finally what's instore next??
In the immediate future I'm busy promoting Learning To Speak American and off to take part in the Sharjah International Book Fair.
My second novel, The Sinners, is being published by Bonnier in 2017 and I'm currently working on the edits for that. I have a third novel in progress too - Writing For Prizes. When the writing bug gets hold of you, it doesn’t let go!
About the book
Title: Learning to Speak American
Author: Colette Dartford
Published 5th Nov 2015 (Ebook)
Having suffered in silence since the tragic death of their young daughter, Lola and Duncan Drummond's last chance to rediscover their love for one another lies in an anniversary holiday to the gorgeous Napa Valley.Unable to talk about what happened, Duncan reaches out to his wife the only way he knows how - he buys her a derelict house, the restoration of which might just restore their relationship.As Lola works on the house she begins to realise the liberating power of letting go. But just as she begins to open up, Duncan's life begins to fall apart.Colette Dartford's debut novel, Learning to Speak American, explores whether a parent can ever truly move on from the death of a child. And, after all the heartbreak, whether Lola and Duncan can learn to love again.