Travel the World in Books Readathon, Day 10 – For the Love of Spain


General Event Info

What our readathon is all about:

Explore countries other than the one you live in. Read as much as you can of books set in a different country or by an author from a different country. Read for your own pleasure or learning, read with your kids or both. Travel the world from the comfort of your own home and learn about different cultures. Expand your horizons and show publishers that #WeNeedDiverseBooks to promote cultural understanding and diversity in our reading. Support diverse authors and books. #TraveltheWorldinBooksRAT

Sign up – you must be signed up to be eligible to win a giveaway
Full Readathon Schedule
Book Giveaways and Prize Form page – please remember to fill out prize form so we know what you would like if you win!
Readathon Pinterest board link up your Readathon related posts so we can pin them to our board.

Twitter chat tonight!

We’ll be having a Twitter chat from 9-10pm EST tonight. Follow us at @imlostinbooks, @savvyworkinggal and @momsvictories. I will be asking the planned questions and my co-hosts can jump in anytime with theirs. We’ll be talking about books made into movies and your favorite books by genre. Use the #TraveltheWorldinBooksRAT so you don’t miss any of the conversation since all 3 hosts will be online!

Author Interview with Rebecca Stonehill


When Kim at Bookouture offered to giveaway Rebecca Stonehill’s book, The Poet’s Wife, to 3 lucky Readathon readers, I jumped at the chance. My love for Spain came about soon after we were married. Superhubby and I took a trip with his family to visit family friends and some of the tourist destinations in the South of Spain. Spain is just a gorgeous country, the beauty and vibrance of the landscape, the opulence and artistry of the Cathedrals, the hospitality and warmth of the people, the joy and exuberance of enjoying life. More laid back during the day and yet, party animals till the wee hours of the morning. We only went once but loved it so much, we always said if we ever moved or retired to a foreign country it’d be Spain. Every time I read about Spain, I’m transported back to that beautiful and amazing trip.

The Poet’s Wife is being released on September 26, 2014. Stop by our giveaways page and enter to win one of the 3 copies being given away by Bookouture. Thanks Rebecca for sharing your incredible story with us, I am amazed at the places you’ve been!


1. Introduce yourself and your book to us.

I’m from London but currently live in Nairobi with my husband and three children where my husband’s job in water and sanitation has brought us. I teach creative writing to children from various backgrounds and am making the most of this incredible opportunity to spend a few years living in Africa. My debut novel, ‘The Poet’s Wife’ is set in Granada in southern Spain during the Spanish civil war and Franco’s dictatorship.

2. Describe your path to becoming a writer. Give our aspiring writers one tip to achieving their writing dreams.

I always knew I wanted to be a writer, from as early as it’s possible to comprehend that when you grow up, you ‘become’ something. When I was a child, I loved nothing more than sitting in my room for hours reading and writing stories, poems and diaries. In my twenties, I began to write lots of short stories and it was in my late twenties that I first had the idea for The Poet’s Wife. It was rejected many times before I found a publisher, so my top tip I’d give aspiring writers is this: Don’t give up. Rejection can start getting you down and I must confess there were many times during my journey that I questioned if what I’d written was really any good. But ultimately I couldn’t let the story or the characters go and persevered. So if you believe in what you have written, keep going. Rise above the rejections and press on.

3. How and why did you pick the location(s) of your book?

I lived in Granada many years ago and was captivated by the beauty and ‘alegría’ (a word that roughly translates to joyfulness) of this city. So it was really the place that inspired me to start penning my novel. I just knew I wanted to write a homage to this city I’d fallen in love with and it was only when I started researching what had happened there during the civil war and years under a dictatorship that I was certain I had a story there. After that, the characters and plot slowly began to take shape in my mind, becoming as real as my everyday life! There are shorter sections set in Barcelona,a city I’ve not been to yet but can’t wait to visit one day, and also Morocco. I’ve travelled a bit in Morocco and am fascinated by this country.

4. Did you spend time in the countries your book is set in? Give us examples of customs or something you found interesting about the culture you experienced.

In total, I spent almost two years living in Spain: the first six months in Sevilla doing a CELTA course (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) and then a year and a half in Granada teaching English. There were so many customs I found fascinating whilst living in Spain but here are a few examples: Mealtimes as I knew them in England were completely different in Spain as lunch would often not be until three or even later. Many shops and even offices shut up for a long lunch (and siesta) break before re-opening until late which completely threw me initially! Dinner also is eaten late too and it wasn’t unusual to find myself teaching till 10pm then coming back for dinner before heading back out again. I adore the tapas culture in Spain: going from tapas bar to bar and trying small plates of delicious Spanish food, washed down with a beer or wine. Granada is one of the very few places left in Spain where each drink you buy in a bar automatically comes with a free tapas. Finally, there is a custom I’ve never seen anywhere else called Bottelón whereby large numbers of young people congregate in squares and public areas, bringing their own drinks with them and socialising. I’m sure botellón’s can get out of hand, but all the ones I went to were very calm and civilised!

5. What is your favorite place that you visited, either personally or professionally?

Lago Atitlán in Guatemala takes your breath away, quite literally. It is ringed with volcanoes and their reflections are mirrored in the lake’s surface. I loved this place so much that my then boyfriend (now husband) and I very nearly ended up buying a house and staying there. Aside from this place, I have been to India several times (including living there for a year with my family) and it has definitely worked its way beneath my skin. Watching dawn rise in the ancient city of Varanasi from the Ganges is unforgettable, as is walking in the mountains in Ladakh. Finally, my father lived in a tiny village in Switzerland called Troistorrents and growing up, we would spend a lot of time there. Sometimes we could look out over the mountains and the clouds were beneath us. I felt as though I was on top of the world.

6. Where are your bucket list travel destinations?

This list could go on and on but here’s a snapshot: Barcelona, Dubrovnik, anywhere I can see the Northern Lights, Nicaragua, New Zealand, Bhutan, Inaccessible Island (there really is an island with this name!)

7. Where would you most like to write about?

One day, I definitely want to write a novel set in Guatemala. This is a fantastic country with warm, hospitable people, incredible mountainous, volcanic, jungle and coastal landscapes and a rich cultural heritage.

8. What book are you working on now and where does it take place?

I’m working on my second novel now which is set in Kenya in the early twentieth century when Nairobi first became a settlement and fifty years later during the Mau Mau Emergency. I am often drawn to historical settings when I write. Living here in Kenya for a few years provides the perfect opportunity for me to feel the pulse of life here and weave my ideas into a story.


Follow Rebecca Stonehill

Follow Rebecca on Magic Pencil, her blog to inspire create writing in children / her Barefoot Books Ambassador site / on Twitter.


Enter to win one of 3 e-books of The Poet’s Wife on our Giveaway page.

Guest Post: From Isi Shares Her Favorite Spanish Authors

But wait, we’re not done with Spain! Isi, a book blogger from Spain, is sharing her favorite Spanish authors. I am amazed that she runs two book blogs, From Isi in Spanish and From Isi in English, her second language. I am happy to be sharing Isi’s recommendations today with you…so let’s hear From Isi.


Spanish authors

Hi everybody!

How is the readathon going? Do you need any suggestion for Spanish authors? Great, because I was just passing by to talk about them!

Tanya suggested that I might write about Spanish authors for the Travel the world in Books Readathon, so I’m picking up some of the novels that I like most and are very popular here in my country; all of them have been translated into English and, therefore, you have no excuses to put them immediately on your list 😉 Here we go!

Captain Alatriste series, by Arturo Pérez-Reverte: fans of historical fiction, you can’t miss Pérez-Reverte and his most famous character, Diego Alatriste. The decline of the Spanish Empire told by a witty and humorous character who doesn’t always happen to be in the right time and place.

The Frozenheart, by Almudena Grandes: the Spanish Civil War, which happened in 1936, just before World War II, is a common topic in our novels, and I have read a couple of them that I think everybody should read. Besides, this is one of my favourite books. This novel is told in two times – the war and the present time – and it is set in Madrid and Paris. It talks about revenge: one family betrayed the confidence of a man and now his granddaughter wants to make them pay for what they did. It’s really vivid and thought-provoking.

In the Night of Time, by Antonio Muñoz Molina: I said there were a couple of novels about our civil war and this is the second. In Muñoz Molina’s books the plot is less important than the language; he creates a unique atmosphere thanks to his writing, which may be heavy if you are not ready for it, but that is an absolutely delectable when you read it in the right time.

Learning Tolose, by David Trueba: it’s difficult to explain what this book is about, so I can only tell you that the author made me feel every single page. It’s told by the points of view of three characters – a teenage girl, her father and her grandfather – and how the three of them find and lose love. It’s the kind of book that talks to directly to you.

Finally, I want to say that I’m not listing Carlos Ruiz Zafón here, in case you expected it, because all of you already know him! 😉

And these are my recommendations. It hasn’t been easy because many of the Spanish novels that I have read are not available in English, but you can be sure these are very good. I hope you fancy reading some of them and, if you finally do it, hope you tell me what you think.


Isi – From Isi

Follow Isi

Follow Isi on her Spanish blog / on her English blog / on Facebook / on Twitter

So are you ready to travel to Spain in books yet? What are your favorite books set in Spain or Spanish authors? Be sure to visit both Rebecca and Isi and thank them for sharing their stories with us!


  1. I very much enjoyed today’s interview with Rebecca Stonehill. The Poet’s Wife has a beautiful vibrant cover, unusual artwork (*pausing to Pin on “Beautiful Book Covers” board!). I too admire Rebecca’s travels and wide appreciation of other people and places, her teaching and sharing through writing. I hope she gets to see the Northern Lights–on my ‘bucket list’ too!

    Very grateful to meet Isi through these excellent recommendations and now hopping over to her blog too! I have read two by Pérez-Reverte (Club Dumas, Flanders Panel) and have a bookmark in Queen of the South, but I haven’t read the Captain Alatriste books yet! I am a fan of Dumas, as he is, so I shouldn’t put off the pleasure of this witty series any longer. His other books have a sharp intelligence–like Alatriste’s sword! I will look into your other suggestions too. I haven’t yet read Carlos Ruiz Zafón–want to!–but as you say, his books are well-known. Thanks!

    Thanks for a great post, Tanya! 🙂

    1. Hi Lucy,
      I’m very glad you want to read my recommendations and I’m looking forward to knowing what you think of the books!
      It’s great you already know Pérez-Reverte, because you know that you’ll find witty and funny reads, but with something more in the background 😉
      Hope you like the others as well.

  2. It is so magical when you are in a place and can be above the clouds! Like something out of a story book! You have led a very interesting life, can’t wait to get my hands on a copy of your book! 🙂

  3. A brilliant interview with the author of ‘The Poet’s Wife’. I had the pleasure of reading an advance copy of the book and absolutely ADORED it. It was hard to believe that this accomplished, beautifully written tale was the author’s debut. Rebecca Stonehill brought Spain alive for me, she has the knack of transporting us right in the middle of the action with a few choice words. Reading The Poet’s Wife has kindled a thirst for more books on Spain and thanks to Isi’s recommendations, I now have a nice list to work through.

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