Welcome to Barren Island Books, an interview show in no way related to a popular music-based radio programme. Every Thursday, I will be exiling my latest guest to a remote island with only five books for company, selected from the categories I give them. It’s up to them to make sure they choose wisely, because they’re going to be stuck with these books for a long, long time …
My interviewee this week is Tricia Drammeh, author of The Claiming Words. When she's not being banished to a desert island, Tricia can be found at www.triciadrammeh.com.
Tricia, thanks for joining us. First of all, could you please tell us a little bit about yourself – just so we know who it is we’re sending into exile. Illogical fears, unusual birthmarks, whether you’d rather wrestle a bear or punch a shark, that kind of thing.
Hi, AFE, and thanks for having me on your wonderful site. I am married with four children, three of whom are still young enough to live at home. I live in the St Louis area. My biggest, most illogical fear is my fear of insects and spiders. *shudder* I don’t have any unusual birthmarks and I’d rather wrestle a bear than punch a shark. Actually, I’d rather avoid both activities if possible.
And what about your own work? What are the inspirations behind it? What would make someone else choose it to accompany them into exile?
My writing is inspired by my characters. In every book I’ve written, the characters have emerged first and told me their stories a little at a time. Anyone who likes romance, love-triangles, and fantasy might choose to bring The Claiming Words into exile.
Great, now let’s move on to the books you’re going to take to the island with you. First up, it’s your favourite childhood book – perhaps the one that got you interested in reading in the first place, or the one you read over and over when you were young. Which will you choose, and why?
I have so many favourites, but I think I’d have to choose the Little House on the Prairie books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. If I could take the set, that would be great, but if I had to pick only one, any would be fine. They’re all superb.
Next, the book that made the greatest impact on your life. This could be one that inspired you to become a writer, or one that made you look at the world in a whole new way – maybe even one that resulted in real-life romance or adventure.
There are so many books that have made an impact on my life, but the Harry Potter books really sparked my interest in fantasy and reminded me that books written for children can be enjoyed by adults. I could re-read the Harry Potter series a million times. If I had to choose between books in the series, I’d choose Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.
Interesting. It would be Prisoner of Azkaban for me! Now, for your third book – and you’re probably going to need this one, all alone on a remote island – I’d like you to choose your greatest comfort read. You know, the one you turn to when you’re sad or ill or just need a little pick-me-up.
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. For me, it’s the ultimate comfort book.
Fourthly, it’s your unexpected treasure: a book you didn’t expect to like but did, maybe one outside your usual genre or that you picked up with low expectations but were pleasantly surprised …
The Hangman’s Daughter by Oliver Potzsch. I had to read it for book club, otherwise I never would have picked it up. It was brilliantly written and unexpectedly wonderful.
And finally, I’d like you to choose your instant classic – the book you think most deserves to be read and reread by future generations. It’s up to you whether this book is already considered a classic or is something more obscure.
White Mountain by Sophie Tallis. It isn’t considered a classic yet, but it will be.
Right. We’ll get those five books packaged up ready for your journey. Since we’re not completely heartless here at Barren Island Books, we’ll also let you take one song/piece of music, one film and one other item of your choice into exile with you …
For my one piece of music, I’d choose Mahler’s First Symphony. One film – Steel Magnolias. One item of my choice – a gigantic battery to power the laptop I’d need to play my music and film.
Excellent. Now, before we whisk you away, you have one last decision to make: where you want your remote island to be located. You can choose anywhere you like for your exile, in this world or another.
I’d like my island to be located somewhere near Hawaii.
That’s it, then – you’re ready to go. Thank you for joining us, and enjoy your trip!
If you are an author and would like to take part in a future edition of Barren Island Books, please get in touch with me via the Contact page.