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From Carol Drinkwater, the beloved star of the English TV show. All Creatures Great And Small comes a heart-wrenching World War II romance about a French village that opened its arms as the Nazis closed in
Hi, I’m your host Jenny Wheeler. And Carol, our Binge Reading guest author today, is well known for her series of bestsellers about her life on an olive farm in Provence, made into a series of popular nonfiction books and a TV show called Carol Drinkwater’s Secret Provence.
But Carol also writes fiction and her latest novel An Act of Love is based on a true story that took place in a mountain village not far from where she lives. It’s a fascinating story.
Links to items mentioned in the show:
All Creatures Great and Small TV show (2020 Version) https://www.imdb.com/title/tt10590066/
1978 Series https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/All_Creatures_Great_and_Small_(1978_TV_series)
Carol Drinkwater’s Olive Farm series:
Carol Drinkwater’s Secret Provence Tv series
(All different areas have different providers – search your location…)
Or Prime: https://www.primevideo.com/hp/video/detail/Carol-Drinkwaters-Secret-Provence/0KPNV7QZY4K2Q0U3FI9AOLF1HE
You Tube: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLmi4nFcUuHiBZSZXVzB79ghqqwgWm_kR_
Occupied and Free France in World War II
Golden Pennies: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0222566/
James Herriot penname – real name James Alf Wight https://www.jamesherriot.org/life-and-times/
Beyond Borders Film Festival:
Companion Piece – Ali Smith: https://www.amazon.com/Companion-Piece-Novel-Ali-Smith/dp/0593316371
Seasonal Quartet: Spring and Winter, Ali Smith: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40545817-spring
Oh William, Elizabeth Strout: https://www.goodreads.com/en/book/show/56294820
Where to find Carol Drinkwater Online
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But now here’s Carol
Hello there. Carolyn. Welcome to the show. It’s great to have you with us.
Introducing author Carol Drinkwater
Carol Drinkwater: Oh, it’s an honor. Hello? Hello, New Zealand.
Jenny Wheeler: We should start by establishing our geographical location. As you’ve mentioned, I’m in New Zealand, and where are you for our listeners benefit?
Carol Drinkwater: At the moment, I’m in the south of France overlooking the Bay of Cannes.
Jenny Wheeler: Beautiful. Now that’s on your olive farm, is it?
Carol Drinkwater: That’s our olive farm. Indeed. Yes. We have two homes in France. One is in the north outside Paris, and the south is the olive farm.
Jenny Wheeler: Wonderful. You’ve had a fantastic career. You started out with a wonderful career in tv, including a starring role on a famous show of a few years ago now. All Creatures Great And Small, which I’m sure many of our listeners will still remember, and then you’ve transmuted yourself into, first of all, nonfiction and then fiction writing.
Now we’re going to focus a bit at the beginning of this chat on your latest book, which is called An Act of Love.
It’s a wonderful World War II story set in a tiny village in the French Alps during the Second World War. Tell us about the story and how you came across it.
Carol Drinkwater: Well, though the story is entirely fiction, the incidents are not, and this part of the Alps where the book is set.
It’s in fact about an hour inland of our olive farm. And I happened to be up there, oh, I don’t know, just reconnoitering around for looking for ideas and things.
And I came upon this village and there was the tiniest museum I’ve ever seen, which no longer exists, sadly. And in there, there were one or two… not exactly photographs, but there were just references to incidents that had happened in the Second World War.
A hideaway from Nazis in the Alps
And I dug a little deeper and found out that, in fact, this village, because this area was in the free zone of France — the Nazis came in and they took most of France, but they didn’t take this southern section down here.
And so Jews were down here, and those who thought that they would in danger from the Nazis came to live in this corner.
And then as the Nazis started to move into the Free Zone, it became a dangerous area for anybody who was a target for them, particularly Jews. And this one small village inland of Nice, about an hour’s bus ride inland from Nice, voted a hundred percent to take in refugees.
It was a village of about 300 people, just farming people and mountain people.
And within, oh, six months there was almost a thousand people there.
And all the other people, of course, were foreigners. They were Lithuanian speaking, Polish speaking.
They were Jews from all over Europe who were fleeing the Nazis and they were safe for almost a year in this village. I don’t want to give the details away, because that’s what the story is inspired by.
It is the most remarkable story of how completely different peoples came together and created for a short while during a war, an area and an environment of peace and acceptance and diversity.
And it so inspired me that I thought I must write a story. My story is basically about a Polish Jewish family, but particularly the 17-year-old daughter who is on the cusp of her life, the verge of her life.
She’s about to step out, and wants to go dancing and do all the things that young girls want to do for. Fall in love, et cetera.
Love in all its dimensions – personal and communal
But there she is caught up in a war zone situation. However, within this village, she finds certain areas where she’s welcome and her life begins to open up.
So that’s the basis of the story.
Jenny Wheeler: And it is about love in all its dimensions, as you’ve outlined. Her most remarkable communal love, but she also does meet up and have an attraction to a young doctor in the village.
But the act of love that the book refers to is not just a simple romantic love. We’re not going to give it away, but she makes quite a self-sacrificing act for the benefit of others.
I wondered if you could talk about those terms of love at the heart of the book. As I say, it is a wonderful romance, but it’s much more than a romance, isn’t it?
Carol Drinkwater: Well, I think the point is that yes, it is much more than a romance and an act of love is actually, yes, it is the act of love.
Yes, it is the act of her first experience of a physical relationship with a young man and a young man who is not Jewish, of course, who comes from a totally different background.
But more importantly over the time that she’s in this village, what she sees is the risks the local people are taking to hide and look after 500 completely unknown foreigners whose lives are in danger.
If they are caught, they will be murdered. And if the villagers are caught, they too will be murdered.
So these local people, these French people are putting their lives at risk the act that happens in the book, which is of course an accumulation of many acts. small gestures of love and acceptance build in the eyes of Sara, in the heart of Sara.
A young woman growing up in a war
She begins to see that actually, life is about giving, it is about opening yourself up to others and taking risks in order that we can all share the best of the world.
And in the light of that, she makes a gesture, which I’m not going say what it is.
Obviously she takes a step which is extraordinary. Absolutely extraordinary.
And there were young women who made similar gestures, similar steps not specifically Sarah’s story because I’ve made that one up,
But that becomes one of the most important parts of her growing process, of her maturity into womanhood, to understand that opening her arms to embrace, no matter what the risks are what really makes life worth living.
I’s a bit vague because I don’t want to give the story away.
Jenny Wheeler: This is not your first fiction that you’ve written, but before you began your fiction, you had a remarkable series of non-fiction books. We’ve already referred to your Olive Farm.
And the Olive Farm began as a rather personal love story of your own. Tell us a little bit about.
Carol Drinkwater: The whole genesis of the Olive Farm series, there’s about four or five books – well let me just go back before the Olive Farm series,
I wrote some fiction. I wrote a book for what I call young adults, which is the nine to 13 market called The Haunted School, which we made into a mini-series, shot it in Australia.
I worked quite a lot back then in Australia and visited New Zealand of course.
In a way that was the beginning of it all, in Australia. Before The Haunted School, I was shooting in Melbourne, a mini-series called Golden Pennies with actors that included Jason Donovan, who was a very young chap back then.
And I met the French producer of this mini-series, Golden Pennies, a man called Michel and he is now my husband.
On their first date, he asked her to marry him
So the story goes back as far as I met my husband in Sydney. After we’d been, shooting, he turned up to see the rushes and everything from Paris.
And on our very first evening for dinner, he asked me to marry him. It was a love story that began in the most extraordinary and unexpected circumstances.
I was cradling a broken heart at the time over someone that I’d loved on and off for donkey’s years, and he wouldn’t commit to me.
And I went off, I got this job in Australia hoping that I would begin to see life from another perspective and maybe start writing. And that’s where I met Michel.
And my heart was open and ready for a new relationship and off we went. It was four years before we got married. But that’s the beginning of this story.
And also to say that I wrote at that stage some fiction books. Then after I’d met Michel in Australia, though he asked me to marry him. I didn’t accept straight away.
In fact, it was four years before we got married, but we came back or he came back to France and I came back to England at the time.
To London and he said, come and visit me. I’m going to the Cannes Film
Festival. So I came down here and I’d been looking all over the world for what I described as my ‘house by the sea.’
Seeking the ‘house by the sea’
I wanted a house that I could relax in, hide away from work, et cetera, when I wasn’t acting and maybe start writing, which is what I had as an ultimate goal.
And I’d looked all over the world. I’d looked a lot in Australia. I was looking around Melbourne and all that way and had found one or two places I liked and had thought of staying in Australia.
I was offered an Australian residency, so I was thinking of doing that and then, As I say, Michel stepped into my life and he said, come to Cannes.
While he was doing business during the Cannes Film Festival, I started looking for my house by the sea. And of course the French said, Bien sur, we have many houses by the sea.
And they said, how much have you to spend. And then they were rather sniffy when I gave my, paltry sum of money.
One estate agent took pity on us and brought us inland, so not quite on the sea, but I can see the sea from the windows as I talk to you now.
He said, ‘well, I know of somewhere.’ He, first of all, took us to somewhere, which is just one stone wall in a field, and. Michel came with me, even though we weren’t looking to buy at that stage together.
And then he said, well, I do know of an olive farm and vineyard.
I’m not representing it. It’s been squatted. It’s been empty for 10 years, and he brought us here.
There were no gates or anything so we could just come up through this winding jungle of land and ridiculously we both fell in love with it.
A journey for peace around the Mediterranean
So that was the beginning of my personal story that has become The Olive Farm and indeed, the commitment to our relationship.
I fell in love with this house, this property. I fell in love with Michel, of course. first and foremost, Michel, then the property, and then the Mediterranean lifestyle.
And then as I began to understand and ask myself about the olive trees, I made a 17 month journey on my own round the Mediterranean, in search of the history of the olive tree.
I worked with Unesco. They invited me to help them create an olive route of peace around the Mediterranean, particularly in the Middle East.
Israel, Palestine, those kinds of countries. Turkey, Greece, the countries where there is conflict and where the olive tree is at the very heart of living.
Two of the books, The Olive Route and The Olive Tree are travel books.
They narrate my journey around the Mediterranean over 17 months and the other books are set here in Provence.
They’re all Mediterranean stories, my personal story and travel stories, but always told from my point of view. So that’s the six books in the series.
A rustic life with a leaking roof and no power
Jenny Wheeler: Fantastic. And I was really struck, because it sounds very romantic, but I saw a reference, you said, for the first four years we slept on a mattress in the sitting room and cooked over an open fire. That sounds very rustic. How did you survive those years?
Carol Drinkwater: Well, to be fair, we weren’t living here full-time, it was because it really was in the beginning, there was no water, there was no electricity, there were no facilities at all.
And the place had a leak. It’s got a flat roof, a Mediterranean roof. Although we discovered a leak, there was no kitchen, et cetera, et cetera.
But we came here with Michel’s daughters from his first marriage, twin girls, and we had friends sometimes come to visit us.
We came, at Christmas and in the summer and things like that.
Obviously anyone that came to visit us stayed in hotels. They weren’t mad enough to sleep on mattresses on the floor with us, but we were totally in love.
We had no money. That’s not changed a lot, but we really wanted to do this and we spurred each other on.
And I think that’s one of the great things about why we complement each other. We are both very willing to take a risk, for example, at our place up north, my husband started an environmental film festival for an entire weekend in early June.
It’s coming up now and at first I thought, oh God, millions of people traipsing around the garden, but I’m on board with him now.
We put a screen up on the back of what I call our place up there, the mad old chateau. It isn’t a chateau, but it’s an old stone house. So you know, he’s on board for that.
So I support him and I think that’s one of the things that makes our relationship work is that, we are enthusiastic for the others most of the time.
Nearly 40 years and still going strong
Jenny Wheeler: Just to go back to that very first night. Was your breath rather taken away when he asked you to marry him after having known each other such a short time?
Carol Drinkwater: Not even 24 hours. I was completely blown away. We hadn’t even had our first course.
We were sitting at this little restaurant that doesn’t exist now down at Elizabeth Bay in Sydney.
And we hadn’t had any food, but the wine had arrived. I had a good slug of my chardonnay, and I moved straight along, pretended I didn’t hear.
But I saw him the next morning in the hotel at breakfast and he came over to my table and said “thank you so much for a lovely evening.” And I said, thank you too.
And he said, “but I think you didn’t answer my question.”
And I said, “which question was that?”
And he said, “Well, I asked you to marry me,” and I said, “well, I didn’t actually take you seriously.”
He said, “I tell you what, I will telephone you.”
And we’ve just celebrated our 35th wedding anniversary and in October, because that was in October. October 4th, it will be 39 years since we met.
We’ve had some very bad years, we split up for a while and like all marriages, we’ve had ups and downs.
But no, I didn’t take him seriously that night. I can see now that he meant it.
The challenge of organic olives
Jenny Wheeler: You’ve got some very old trees there, on the farm, as well as new ones that you’ve planted, haven’t you?
Carol Drinkwater: We have, some of the trees have been dated at several hundred years old. We’ve planted more trees.
Oh, well, it must be 20 years ago now that we, and we still plant an odd one here and there as we change the, layout of the land.
We’ve got about 300 and something trees, which might not sound a lot by New Zealand, Australian standards, but land is very precious down here and very expensive.
So, it’s quite a lot of trees. It’s a small holding, but nonetheless it’s a considerable small holding.
Jenny Wheeler: You’re making your own olive oil still, aren’t you?
Carol Drinkwater: We do, we are now organic. That’s been one of my big fights is to look after the environment and that was one of the things when I did my traveling around the Mediterranean for the olive route and the olive tree books was where I saw land being cared for and land being destroyed.
And it became something that was very clear for me about how we need to go forward to look after the planet.
And I’ve become quite a vocal speaker for anti pesticides, not putting chemicals on the land. So we have an organic olive farm here. There’s nothing goes on this land at all.
Every, plant that – I don’t like the word weeds, but everything that is not where we want it to be, is taken up by hand, which is, I can tell you as I get older, I curse myself sometimes for the position I’ve taken on this, but I believe it strongly.
We have lots of butterflies and pollinators and I can go outside, I can hear the whole land buzzing and moving.
A little piece of paradise
And, I feel proud for that. It’s only a little small plot, as I say, but you know, it’s 30,000 square meters. So, I’m proud of that this little piece of paradise is being cared for by someone who’s not trying to do it for money and yes, we do produce our own organic olive oil.
Jenny Wheeler: Do you have enough to sell. Do you have it on your website
Carol Drinkwater: No. People contact me and say, have you got any olive oil? And if I’ve got any over then I happily will sell it.
But it’s very little. it’s not a. business. That’s not my thing, I earn my living as an artist, as a writer, as an actress or whatever it is that I’m doing.
By the way, just to say to you the television series I did last year, Carol Drinkwater’s Secret Provence can be Seen in New Zealand. I’ve spoken to people who’ve seen it down there.
If I can find out how, I’ll send you an email for it. Okay. I’ll let you know.
Jenny Wheeler: That’s lovely.
We’ll put that in the show notes because I’m sure people would be interested.
Give us an idea about how much your time you’re spending writing, and how much you’re spending on TV and how your life works at the moment in terms of your main interests.
What Carol is working on next
Carol Drinkwater: Well at the moment I’m not doing any television because we finished that series and they wanted to do another series, but we had slight differences about how it would go forward.
We’re talking now about something slightly different, which would be lovely. But we’ll see whether or not that gets the green light.
I’ve just completed a novel three weeks ago, so I’m biting my nails, waiting for feedback from my agent.
That’s a fiction novel set down here on, on a fictionalized vineyard. I’m waiting to see about that. And other than that, I’m writing, articles and bits and reading and then I take the opportunity to work on the land.
When I say work on the land, first of all we’re on a terraced hillside, old stone walls and everything.
We can’t have tractors and things, but I go out and do weeding and there’s lots of watering to be done as the weather gets hotter.
And we’ve had very little rain this year, so it’s a bit of a drought crisis coming up.
I do the little jobs, I do maintenance as it were. And then we normally bring in friends or young chaps who come to help over the summer.
We have places where people can stay and be with us and be part of our life as it were.
They come and stay for a month or something and help us with the watering, or they’ll help to chop wood or whatever it comes to be, simple because there’s not a lot to do with the olive trees in the summer.
Sharing paradise with like minded friends
They’re growing and they’re pumping up the olives for themselves and, we need to make sure that that they haven’t got any kind of fly coming.
And as we don’t spray we have a very fascinating system, which is we hang. half bottles old bottles of mineral water, plastic bottles from the tree.
And in that we put a Mediterranean sardine submerged in water. The odor of that attracts the flies.
The olive fly has been a Mediterranean problem since the Romans and even before.
It goes into the water, not into the fruit, because they lay their eggs in the olive.
We spend some of the summer hanging these half bottles from the trees and I go down to the fishmonger and they go, here comes the sardine lady and I order 200 sardines.
They’re the summer chores that we do with guests We try to turn it all into a celebration and an understanding or a chance to understand what nature gives to us and how it’s our role to respect and give back, to look after it and not rape it.
When the guests come and there’s no rules as such, but I hope that it gives them an opportunity to put their hands into the soil and understand what it means to produce food.
Carol’s summer – olives, film festivals and writing
Jenny Wheeler: Is there a link where people can actually approach you and ask to come and stay as a tourist? Is that how the setup is
Carol Drinkwater: We have a tiny cottage, which is at the foot of the land, which I occasionally I accept guests there.
Other than that, as I say, I put friends in it or family in it, or people that want to come and work with us.
I have two bizarrely, I have two New Zealand guests there in the cottage at the moment, in May and June.
They tend to be tourists who come and stay.
Often they’re people that have been many times, or several times before, that are now friends. But it’s very low key.
People contact me via my website and if there’s something available, there is, but it’s just a few weeks to the year
Jenny Wheeler: The book that you’ve just finished, tell us a little bit about that one.
Carol Drinkwater: I’m always nervous about talking about a work in progress, in case my agent says, cut all that.
Okay. It’s set on a vineyard. And I’ve done something, all my novels, obviously, in one way or another because I’m an actress and I trained as an actress come from within me, and character is exceedingly important.
The charting of females stories. The main character is an actress living on a vineyard that she inherited from her parents with her husband.
‘Without our readers, what would we be?’
They’re both English and they’ve been here about 10 years.
When her parents die, she inherits it. For a particular reason for about 10 years without my giving away the story someone claims a connection with her.
And that is where the story begins, and this particular person comes to the vineyard and the story begins to unfold from there. And I don’t want to say too much more than that.
Jenny Wheeler: Right.
Carol Drinkwater: It’s a mystery, but more importantly, than a mystery.
It does have mystery elements and thriller elements to it, certainly in the first part of the book.
But I think the most important thing I really wanted to investigate was a woman’s place when she reaches a certain age, what does she feel that is still there for her to offer and what lengths she will go to maintain what she feels is her loving role in, in the world?
So that’s a bit vague again, but you know, it’s because I don’t like to give the story away.
Jenny Wheeler: Yes. When you first started out writing, what was your main goal and have you achieved it?
Carol Drinkwater: Well, to get published, of course. So that’s long achieved. I think I’ve now written 25 books. I’m not sure, 24 or 25, and many of them have been bestsellers.
I love the fact though it wasn’t specifically my goal, but to reach out to the world. I get letters from all kinds of people, different people.
I had one last week which quite broke my heart from a woman who said that she read The Olive Farm and the series of books, The Olive season, et cetera, to her 13-year-old daughter when she was dying of cancer in hospital.
And she said it became a point of contact between the two of them and they started to imagine the farm and the girl has survived.
Touching lives the biggest reward of all
Not because of my books, but the girl has survived and she said, it’s now 10 years on and I want to just let you know what an important role you and your books have played for me and my daughter as my daughter now looks towards some kind of adulthood.
I found that extremely touching and very humbling. I get quite a lot of letters from people who say that their psychiatrists have recommended my books. I don’t know why, because I’ll think of myself as quite mad.
But, Hey, how wonderful.
And then lots of people who write me because in one way or another, I’ve touched them, and they tell me a bit of their story, which regularly has nothing to do with my story, but they want to share something of themselves in return.
And that’s lovely too. And these are men, women, younger women.
It’s not specifically women, obviously there are lots and lots of women, but it’s also men who seem to follow and read the books. more the olive farm books than the fiction.
I think the fiction is mostly women readers, though I had an email for The House On The Edge of the Cliff yesterday from a gentleman who said someone thrust it upon him and said he must read this novel.
And he said, I just wanted to tell you how wonderful I thought he was. So that’s fantastic.
What Carol is reading now – mainly women writers
That’s been an immense though, not to goal as such, reaching out and touching people in the same way that I think, for example, All Creatures Great And Small, mainly because of the quality of James Herriot’s or Alf Wight’s writing touched people all over the world.
I like to think also that, that I have touched people and that was a goal. That was a goal to try to reach and have people say, Hey, I understand, I get that.
Jenny Wheeler: Yeah, that’s wonderful. Look, we all. Always do ask about our author’s own reading tastes, and I wondered what you’re reading at the moment and if you’ve got any recommendations for our listeners.
Carol Drinkwater: Oh, on my website every time I do a newsletter, I always end up with one or two recommendations. I’m having a woman’s reading phase at the moment. I read a lot of Irish authors because I am Irish.
And I read a lot of women writers as well. I’m just reading and I’m ashamed to say it’s my first of hers.
I’m reading Ali Smith’s Companion Piece.
I haven’t read anything by her before I bought Spring, one of the quartet of her books, which I actually thought were non-fiction books, then when I was in Paris a couple of weeks ago, I went into the bookshop and saw Companion Piece.
I bought that and a couple of other books and I’m reading it now, and I’m blown away by her. I think she’s wonderful.
As I say, I haven’t read anything by her before. I’ve discovered that Spring is not the first in the quartet, so I’m going to go back and I think it’s Winter is the first, so I’m going to look at that, and then I will read the whole quartet, because if I find a writer I like, I’m one of those people I want to I gorge on them,
Jenny Wheeler: Yes.
When Carol finds a writer she likes, she reads them all
Carol Drinkwater: I look and see what else they’ve got, because I love, because of being a writer, I love seeing the process of their development and, how people grow as writers or as artists generally speaking. I love to follow that journey. I think Companion Piece is Ali’s latest book as far as I know.
So I will now go back to the quartet and then last week I read Elizabeth Strout, I read Anything is Possible.
I started with her when she was shortlisted for The Booker, I think last year with Oh William, which I loved. I really enjoyed that.
I hadn’t read any of the Olive Kitteridge or any of those other books or the Lucy Barton books and I’ve now read a couple of the Lucy Martin books, but not in order because I messed it up. I’m quite keen on her.
I enjoyed Oh William very much. I was less keen on Lucy by the Sea and Anything Is Possible. I found a little disappointing, but I still think she’s a very unusual voice and I like that about her.
She’s a serious writer. She’s also quite a light writer. you can pick her up in most moods and be able to journey with her a little bit, which I like as well.
I bought a couple of books by Irish male writers, both of whom I like very much, John Banfield for example, which I started and then didn’t continue with nothing to do with the quality of the work.
Quite simply that my mind was not there at that stage. I was still finishing my own book.
And also because at the moment I do feel very inclined to read women’s literature. I’m discovering lots of modern women writers.
Looking back down the tunnel of time….
Jenny Wheeler: That’s beautiful. looking down, the tunnel of time, if you had your writing career over again. Is there anything that you would change, and if so, what would it be?
Carol Drinkwater: For my writing career.
Jenny Wheeler: your creative career, perhaps? Generally either acting or writing.
Carol Drinkwater: Well, if I had my acting career over again, I wouldn’t have left all creatures great and small. I think that was an error which I try not to regret because regret is such a negative and waste of time, emotion. But I think, I wanted to write and really settle to that. So I decided to not do any moral creatures and in fact, I could perfectly well have written and continued with all creatures.
So, I was newly over here, newly installed over here, newly in love, starting my writing career, and I just wanted to move forward and I didn’t think that it was perfectly possible to take that role with me into my future, which I very easily could have done. So I think that’s something I would change in terms of my writing career.
Well, I wish I’d started earlier. I would like to have gone to university, which I didn’t do because I chose to go to a drama school straight away. And I went to a drama school that gave a degree and. An ma, but I was so keen to get on and get out there on the stage that I didn’t think that I needed to give attention to the writing that early on though my parents had encouraged me.
But anyway, there we are. I don’t really go in for regret or changes cuz I think it’s negative. I think it’s more important to think, okay, I didn’t do that, so what can I do now that moves me forward positively, otherwise I think if one gets into the past it can drag your energy down.
What Carol has got coming up in next 12 months
Jenny Wheeler: And look, that’s a great place to ask you one of the questions that I’ll ask everybody, and that is, what does your next 12 months look like? What have you got on your desk? What are you looking forward to working on over the next 12 months?
Carol Drinkwater: Well, this is assuming that my agent takes and likes my new novel because we are changing publishing houses, I will, this next week or so, begin another one.
I’m looking at ideas in my head. I’m helping my husband set up – because Michel now doesn’t do productions, he runs film festivals, documentary film festivals here, there, and everywhere.
We are looking at setting up a Mediterranean film festival, which is perhaps based more on the areas of the Eastern Mediterranean, which of course I know a little bit about because of my travels for the olive route.
He would like me to be the director of that festival and I’d be quite interested in doing that because it’s a part of the world that is incredible.
I’m sure that in one of my earliest lives I was a Phoenician, that I can come from what today is the Lebanese coast.
In my fantasies that’s sailing ships across Europe and bringing olive trees in the very beginning. And talking about anchovies and all those kinds of things. I’m sure that was part of who I was.
I’m very keen on this idea of an Eastern Mediterranean Film Festival. I’m starting to do some research on that for him as well. I think that’ll keep me busy.
And then as I say there is talk of another television series, so we’ll, in fact, this talk of two television series of as me fronting them.
If one of those came up what I didn’t want was too much personal stuff here on the farm. I found that a little intimidating. If it’s more to do with me and my travels and out there and guiding and introducing the audience to my world.
The South of France, the Mediterranean, the growing of, organic foods, all those kind of things, I’m really happy to work on something like that.
Where to find Carol Drinkwater online
A couple of people are out there, beavering away trying to get one of those set up. So that would be fantastic. I’d love to do that.
Jenny Wheeler: So Carol Drink Water’s Secret Provence, that is more based around the Olive Farm. Is it?
Carol Drinkwater: Well, when they first pitched it to me, it seemed to be that I would be guiding the viewers around the south of France. And indeed it is that, but it’s also, some of it was set here, and Michel is in it as well, which we’d agreed he wouldn’t be, but somehow he got seduced into it and he seemed to love it.
We couldn’t get him off stage. No, I’m kidding. Once the camera moves into your house, I’m well aware of how close it gets.
And it can’t not, because if you’re honest, that’s the nature of it. It was great fun and we had the two of us had great fun working together on it with the small team.
But I don’t want to do too much more of my personal life, I don’t want to become reality television Carol.
Jenny Wheeler:We are starting to run out of time together. We could chat away here all night, but do you like interacting with your readers and where can they find you online?
Carol Drinkwater: I love it. I really love it. on my website, Carol Drinkwater www.caroldrinkwater.com and there is an email address and they can contact me there.
And at events of course, I’m always delighted when people come up afterwards and chat to me and everything I have all the time in the world my readers.
Without them, what would we be? I love hearing their stories. I love hearing what they think about the books.
Husband Michel’s glorious film festivals
And when I get up in the morning, because that’s when the mail comes in from all over the world, I love seeing what’s come in and who’s got something to say and what they’ve been reading and et cetera.
So please make contact. I love it.
Jenny Wheeler: That’s wonderful and all of these things we’ve been referring to, we will try and make sure we’ve got links in the show notes for this episode so people can easily dip in and find books and find references to your TV programs and all of that kind of thing.
We’ll even try and put in some references to your film festivals,
Carol Drinkwater: Fantastic. If you want links to any of my husband’s film festival, this one coming up in August called Beyond Borders, which is set on a tiny, absolutely glorious. Greek Island called Castellorizo, which is about a kilometer from Turkey.
It’s about as far as Europe goes, so the title of The Festival Beyond Borders is very apt.
And that was started by a Greek lady who grew up just outside Istanbul.
She knows very well though cross culture and she’s a historian, so that’s where that began.
And Michel has been guiding the festival into a small festival, but an international festival. Lots of Australians come of course, because, there’s a big history between Castellorizo and Australia, which I haven’t got time to go into now, but anyone can look it up. It has a big connection to your side of the world.
Jenny Wheeler: We’ll make sure we put that link in. Thank you so much for your time.
Carol Drinkwater: A pleasure. Real pleasure.
If you enjoyed Carol, you might also love Nadia Marks’ Mediterranean stories
Nadia Marks has turned her early childhood years in the Mediterranean into a fulltime career as a novelist, writing stories of facing heart break and finding new life and love in sunny climes – like Crete, Greece and Spain…
Next Week on Binge Reading
Jenny Wheeler: Next week on Binge Reading, award-winning mystery author Ann Parker and her Silver Rush Stories. Yes, that’s silver, not Gold Rush Set in 19th century Colorado.
She’s got eight books in the series and the eighth one is called The Secret in the Wall. A joint venture with a boarding house operator leads to the discovery of secrets hidden in a wall, the remains of a body, and a sack full of gold.
That’s next week on Binge Reading.
And a reminder, if you enjoy the show, leave us a review so others will find us too. Word of mouth is the best way for people to discover a show where they find great books they will love to read.
That’s it for now. See you next time and happy reading.
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