What could possibly go wrong when a London girl, (or penniless student armed with a hefty collection of literary gems), falls in love with a much older and dashing Scotsman, and tries her hand at goat-keeping, vegetable growing and life in a tiny Scottish hamlet?!
Sophia Wasiak Butler grew up as an inner-city London teen who always fostered a dream of country life. After graduating from Newcastle-Upon-Tyne University with her English Literature degree in her pocket, deaf to the unappealing and empty promises of the rat-race, she invites us to accompany her as she takes the daring jump into a world where the universal melds seamlessly with the personal. The path is bursting with literary sages, Eastern wisdom, the gritty reality of dirt-stained nails, self-reflection and a good dose of common sense on this adventure, always interwoven through the multicultural tapestry which defines the author.
Links for the book:
Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/47187233-scotland-and-aye
MY INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHOR!!
- When did you know that you wanted to be an author?
Her name was Miss Louise. She was a teacher at my primary school when I was 7 years old. We had to write some kind of survival story for homework. So I wrote about a small plane carrying 50 passengers, which had engine problems, but had safely landed in the Florida swamps. Everybody was elated to have survived the crash landing until…the alligators entered the plane and had a feast. Her comments were “What a gruesome story, you told it so well!” Miss Louise called me to her desk and said “You my dear girl will be a writer.” She planted the first seed in my literary destiny.
- What inspired you to write this book?
My book started it’s life as a series of articles in a newspaper. The editors thought that the subject of a newly graduated London-girl moving to remote hamlet in the Scottish countryside had it’s merit in times of economic hardship and recession. And so, my monthly column began. Writing on demand with serious deadlines and a stern editor, are wonderful things for somebody without discipline and a solid routine! Little did I know, that writing was my life-saving companion, along with cheap wine and cigarettes! I found myself seriously balancing on the tightrope of love and life. It was unknown territory and I was insecure on all fronts. And then, a magical thing happened…Readers started to respond to my story, to the point that I got advice on small-holding, life-long penpals and invitations to other let’s say ‘pastures’! Writing became my life, and my life made sense because of it.
This transition into ‘real life’, (however that looks for each of us), felt so personal at the time, but I have come to realise, it is a fundamental moment, which marks a before and an after for all of us. That’s why I wanted to share it.
- If you could sell this book in one sentence what would it be?
One reader said something which I will never forget: “I love this story, it’s about me and everyone I know.”
- What are you up to next?
Some readers found similarities between my writing and that of Peter Mayle about Provence or Chris Stewart about Andalucia. So, if I have managed, to pay homage to mighty Scotland I am very happy.
Now, living in Santiago, Northern Galicia in Spain, I don’t feel restless and homesick any more. This is where I want to be and I wish to share the wonders of the Spanish “Fiesta Siesta and Manana” with my readers, so watch this space…
- Who is your biggest inspiration?
This question is difficult to answer without writing a manifesto! I think to put it succinctly, I am incorrigibly fascinated by the human condition in all it’s manifestations and the biggest inspiration in this life for me, are unsung daily heroes. There is nothing more beautiful than a person who has suffered but who continues to remain beautiful within.
In a literary sense, I am fascinated by many different writers. Vikram Sethfor example, I adore for his supreme power of weaving a thousand-and-something-page story, which leaves you gripped until the end. After reading ‘A Suitable Boy’ I felt as if a part of me had died, it accompanied me for a good chunk of my life!
I also adore the genius and rebellious spirit of Mary Shelley with her prophetic and timeless gift of ‘Frankenstein’, or the strength of ‘George Eliot’ who wrote even though she had to do it under a male pseudonym to be valued.
On an existential level, my dog. It may sound strange, but he is a being who is utterly present in every moment. Everything is a celebration of his sensory experience. He equally accepts any opportunity for a celebration, or a sofa day. He has no regrets and holds no grudges. He is a master of this journey called life!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sophia Wasiak Butler grew up in London and went on to study English Literature at Newcastle University.
With nothing but her degree, a beanie hat and a silver suitcase to her name, it was time for this girl to become a woman and try her hand at adult life.
After having fallen madly in love with a dashing and much older Scotsman, it was time to put her dream to the test in Scotland.
The author now lives happily in Northern Spain in a traditional stone house, which is 136 years old, with her dog.
Apart from sharing her passion for languages by teaching English, the author can be found enjoying a plate of Galician octopus and sipping a glass of wine!