Today’s expat interview features the lovely Zoe Braganza Jones. I got to know Zoe some time ago when I read her book, “A Thousand Miles From Nowhere”, the semi-fictional story of Saff, as she travelled around Spain. Scroll to the bottom of this page for the review. There is also an extra treat! To coincide with Zoe’s interview going live today, the book is available in ebook format for FREE today and tomorrow (29th & 30th September 2013). I hope you enjoy the book as much as I did, and of course this interview with Zoe.
Expat Interview: Zoe Braganza Jones
When did you move to Spain, and where from?
I first moved to Spain in 1986 with my family at the age of thirteen. We moved from leafy Surrey to Altea on the Costa Blanca. I stayed for almost ten years before heading back to live in the UK with my eldest daughter and ex husband.
Who came with you?
I returned to Spain yet again in 2004 with my eldest daughter, Asia and a new addition,Yasmin then two years old. We moved inland for a few years, Alcoy area.
Where in Spain do you live now?
I am currently living at the family home near the Village of Jesus Pobre; in between Denia and Javea: A beautiful rural setting. I say ‘currently’ as I seem to move rather frequently!
Do you work? As what?
I’ve been working as an English teacher at local academies on/off for a few years now. I’ve also worked as a translator for ex pats among other things.
How are you with speaking Spanish?
Fortunately I speak the language pretty well: Having come at an early age I picked it up pretty well though lost a lot having lived away for a few years. I did continue studying though when I returned to the UK and did my Spanish A-level and some time at Uni studying the lingo. I would recommend having a Spanish lover-that definitely helps improve fluency!
If you could change one thing about Spain… what would that be?
Gosh-big question – I was briefly involved with the 15M movement – the Spanish revolution! I was sick and tired of the horrendous corruption. Before that, I personally went to have a rant at the local mayoress and chief of police – the mayoress wouldn’t see me but the chief of police got an earful for at least an hour. It’s going to take at least another generation before things really change on that front…
What is the best thing about living in Spain?
The climate is obviously a huge factor as I’m an outdoor person: I love the beach and cycling and walking. The light here is very uplifting too for those of us who suffer with the dull English skies: I don’t deal with the damp and cold too well – I blame my Part Indian roots for that!
What is your favourite Spanish dish?
I’m predominantly Vegetarian which used to be more of a problem here: Now people don’t quite look at me as If I were an alien and attempt to shove a bit of Tuna or ham at me to add flavour to whatever I was eating! I love ‘Puchero‘ which is a kind of stew with veg and chickpeas and the ‘caldo’ to which they add fine noodles. It does contain meat to flavour but I just put it to one side. It’s an excellent winter fuel :) I also love tortilla de patatas which made my vegan days slightly hard – I eventually caved in and returned to eggs!
What is the predominant nationality of your friends in Spain?
English and Spanish I guess, but I love meeting people from all over and from all walks of life.
If you won the Euromilliones – would you still live where you currently are?
Difficult to say – I would definitely build something here as a base for me and my offspring but I need to do some mega travelling too. I already have my list prepared: India, Morocco, The States (esp San Franciso and New York ) just to name a few. I am a VW camper fanatic and have had 3 in the past so would purchase a couple (split-screen and a bay window) and go off on great road trips… I wish you hadn’t asked that question!
If a movie was made about your life – who would play you?
Ooh, that’s a difficult one-any suggestions on what you’ve read so far?
If you had to describe yourself as a sandwich filling… what would you be?
Well-would have to be a ‘mixed’ one which represents me; fresh wholemeal bread with avocado and goats cheese and salad and something spicy :)
Right – now is the chance to tell us all about your business/website/blog if you have one (or more of course). Go for your life!
I have finally published my first novel, ‘A Thousand Miles From Nowhere’. It is semi auto- biographical and is set predominantly in Spain in The early nineties. It is a mix of hedonistic road trip, contemporary romance and alternative chick lit. It has been a bit of a long term project as life tended to get in the way of writing but is a big personal achievement for me. It is currently available on Amazon Kindle but if it goes well I also intend to publish as a paperback. I love writing and intend to continue: I have written various articles which have been published and am now considering my next novel.
From the very first paragraph in this book, I knew it was going to grip me.
Page after page… chapter after chapter… and I wished I was heading along on the road trip with “Saff” and her eclectic mix of “friends”.
The story follows Saff as she is trying to come to terms with a broken heart. As part of her healing process, she finds herself in Spain… bombing along with various groups of people… exploring drink and drugs… and plenty of sex with hot men too!
There are some very colourful characters in the book, from Mat with his dreads and accompanying dog Norman, to Adam the long term friend. Saff gets into all manner of scrapes, but there is none of the normal travelling stories that you would find elsewhere.
I would recommend this book to anyone thinking of throwing caution to the wind and heading off on a backpacking holiday. It certainly isn’t a sales pitch – far from it – but it gives plenty of inspiration and more than a few warnings.
Is this a travel book? Not really. Is this is a romance novel? Kind of but only slightly. Is this addictive? Most definitely.
If I had to say one negative comment, it was that the ending wasn’t to my taste… but I am not your usual reader… so don’t let that put you off.
Highly recommended for those of us that wished we’d travelled more as youngsters… and those that did it and want to relive it in full technicolour.
Amazon.com users click here
Amazon.co.uk readers click here