Beating the summer holiday rush with an early getaway this year? The Hideaway by no.1 bestselling author Sheila O’Flanagan really is THE perfect way to hide away. The sultry Spanish location is wonderfully escapist with blue skies, orange groves and a romance written with pace and heart. Lose yourself this trip to a captivating, sun-soaked read.
What’s the book about?
What would you do if you discovered you were living a lie?
When a shocking news report shatters Juno Ryan’s world, she suddenly finds herself without the man she loves – and with no way of getting the answers she needs.
Juno flees to the enchanting Villa Naranja in Spain. The blue skies and orange groves – along with Pep, the local winemaker’s handsome son – begin to soothe her broken heart. But just when she begins to feel whole again, another bombshell drops.
Juno might have run away from her secrets, but the past isn’t finished with her…
Sheila meets Thomas Cook! Find out what she had to say…
What inspired you to write The Hideaway?
Anytime I hear about natural or other disasters I always think about the people caught up in them and what might have been going on in their lives. The Hideaway came about when I was thinking about a recent earthquake in Italy and I wondered about the people who were there when it happened and what their stories might be. So, I thought about Juno and how her life would be shattered by a single event.
Why did you choose Spain as the setting for The Hideaway?
I know and love this area of Spain very well and it seemed the ideal place to bring Juno as she tries to rebuild her life. The tranquillity of rural Valencia is absolute, and it’s just a beautiful setting for a book about finding yourself.
What’s your favourite summer holiday destination?
Spain is a bit of a cliched destination, but I love it. You can be as touristy as you like on the coasts but if you travel inland, even by about twenty minutes, you’re in the most amazing countryside. In Valencia, one of my favourite areas, it’s all orange groves and olives, but in the north of Spain there are majestic mountains and wide open spaces. So, Spain is my favourite place to be in the summer, but I also have a soft spot for Antigua in the Caribbean as a place to completely switch off and “chillax”.
Who has had the biggest influence on you as a writer?
To be honest, that’s a difficult question to answer. Every author I’ve ever read has influenced me in some way, whether by the brilliance of their storytelling or their use of language.
But I think I was given the impetus to try and complete a book by the wonderful Maeve Binchy who once said that if you wrote a page a day, you’d have a book written in a year. Somehow that made it seem an achievable goal.
Which of your novels have you most enjoyed writing?
I honestly can’t answer that! When I write a book, I’m totally caught up in the dilemmas my heroines are facing, and I can’t think of anything else. So, each one at the time has been the most enjoyable to write. But the most fun in terms of research was What Happened That Night which is set in the world of high-end jewellery. Trying on a million-pound necklace was excellent research!
What’s your favourite book of all time?
Another impossible question to answer. My go-to author for a great laugh is the late PG Wodehouse who was a master of the English language. Equally masterful in a different way is Hilary Mantel and I loved Wolf Hall and Bring Up The Bodies.
What type of books do you like to read on a relaxing beach holiday?
I always bring at least three books with me. A romantic comedy, a thriller and a non-fiction book.
If you were to write a book based abroad again, where would you choose?
I’ve written quite a few books with overseas settings that include Spain, California, France and Sweden. I’d love to visit Japan so that might be a possible location.
What book is currently at the top of your must-read list?
I haven’t yet read Milkman by Anna Burns and I really want to get stuck in. On a lighter note… Sophie Kinsella’s books are always fun and I Owe You One is on my “to read” pile.