One of my favourite books of 2015 is the wonderful 183 Times a Year by Eva Jordan. It's a book that really made me think about how I act and react with those I love and, to my absolute shame I have to admit, if the book was about me it would be called 360 Times a Year. When given the opportunity to host a Q&A with Eva Jordan, I absolutely jumped at the chance and I really hope you enjoy reading my interview. If you haven't yet had the pleasure of reading 183 Times a Year, I strongly suggest you head over to Amazon and pick up a copy for yourself.
Q: 183 Times a Year is your wonderful debut novel – what was your inspiration to write it?
A: Thank you so much Michelle. I suppose my debut novel is a social observation of family life and in particular the relationship between a mother and her teenage daughter. Although at times the mother-daughter relationship is a road fraught with diverse and complex emotions, it can also be – like many strong, female friendships – very enriching and rewarding. Inspired by own experiences and that of friends and family I felt inspired to write 183 TIMES A YEAR as an observation of the complex and diverse relationship between a mother and daughter set amongst the thorny realities of today’s sometimes divided, often extended, modern family.
Q: I got the impression that 183 Times a Year has a semi-autobiographical feel to it, can you tell us how much of the story was influenced by your own experiences?
A: I wouldn’t say my novel is semi-autobiographical – all the characters and events are definitely fictional – but I have been, without a doubt, inspired by the relationship between my own daughters and myself but also by that of friends and acquaintances and their stories and experiences. And, of course, I have also been influenced by my relationship with my own mother.
Q: Have you always wanted to write a book and how long did it take for 183 Times a Year to go from idea to publication?
A: I’ve always wanted to be a writer and have done so, on and off, for most of my life. I had some poetry published when I was younger and more recently I’ve had some short stories published. Also, during my early twenties I joined a band with one of my brothers where I sang backing vocals but also co-wrote and recorded original material too. However it wasn’t until after I graduated as a mature student with a BA Honours Degree in English and History in 2009 that I seriously thought about writing a book. 183 TIMES A YEAR took approximately one year to write and then I suppose another year to do re-writes and edit.
Q: I picked up a few messages from your book; the main ones being to treat others as you'd like to be treated yourself and to not generalise and label people. Did you intend for the reader to learn some life lessons along the way?
A: I don’t think it’s the job of a writer to preach their own values or belief systems to their readers but yes, I did intend for my readers to think about some of the social issues and problems that surround us. Books should make you think, and question things.
Q: There's an interesting dip into immortality in 183 Times a Year. Was the mention of Nicolas Flamel a Harry Potter influence or homage to the legendary alchemist?
A: The mention of Nicolas Flamel is actually homage to my dad. Like the grandparents in my book, both my parents have been avid readers all their lives. My dad talked of Nicolas Flamel and the philosophers stone long before J K Rowling wrote about it. That said, I am a huge fan of Harry Potter – I think my dad missed a trick there though!
Q: What are your writing routines, where do you do most of your writing and do you prefer to write with pen, pencil or keyboard?
A: We have a small room where the main computer in our house is kept and I do most of my writing there. However, if I get too many interruptions I’ll disappear upstairs with my laptop. Unlike a lot of writers I do actually prefer using a keyboard – I learned to touch type when I was in my teens so I just find it a lot easier and more convenient to type. I do have several (hundred probably!) notebooks that I carry around with me though to write down ideas when they come to me. I also, due to family commitments, prefer to write early in the morning – when it’s quiet!
Q: When you aren't writing, what do you enjoy doing?
A: When I’m not writing I love to read – fiction and non-fiction. I also love a good film or a good TV series like Sherlock Holmes, Breaking Bad and just recently I’ve been watching the second series of Fargo. I also love all kinds of music and love to watch live bands – with the odd glass or two of wine!
Q: Who are your favourite authors and do you have a favourite book?
A: I honestly couldn’t pick out a favourite author or book. I’ve read a lot of different genres and a lot of different authors over the years. I’m not a book snob either – I appreciate the simplicity of some books and the difficulty of others. Three of the most recent books I’ve read are The Last Days of Rabbit Hayes by Anna McPartlin, Love In The Time Of Cholera by Gabriel Garci Márquez and The Woman Who Walked Into Doors by Roddy Doyle – all very different, all very enjoyable. I love the classics like Wuthering Heights, Pride and Prejudice and Elizabeth Gaskell’s North and South however I also love most of Stephen King, writers like Angela Carter and I loved Philip K Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep.
Q: Tell us a little about yourself – who is Eva Jordan?
A: I am a published short story writer with a degree in English and History. I live in a small town in Cambridgeshire with my partner and three of our four children who are a constant source of inspiration! My career has been varied, including working in a Women’s Refuge and more recently at the city library. I enjoy the odd glass of wine, coffee cake and taking long walks. I also love reading or watching a good film and really enjoy the company of good friends and family. However, storytelling through the art of writing is my true passion. 183 TIMES A YEAR is my debut novel.
Q: Finally, the question that all readers of 183 Times a Year are dying to ask: can we look forward to a second novel?
A: Yes, there is definitely going to be a sequel to 183 TIMES A YEAR, which is what I’m working on at the moment. I’ve more or less structured my plan for the book and written the opening chapter. Hopefully, like my debut novel, there will be a few tears but lots of laughter. Watch this space!
I honestly can't stop thinking about this book; it's definitely a book I will read again and I'm sure I will enjoy it just as much the second time round.
Don't wait a minute longer, buy it now from Amazon by clicking here.