As part of The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper #blogtour, I’m joined by the lovely author Phaedra for a Q and A guest post.
Do you have a piece of jewellery that tells a story just like the charm bracelet of Arthur’s?
I own a few pieces of jewellery that are special to me and have their own little stories. I suppose one of the most precious is my own silver charm bracelet, that I got when I was eight or nine years old. It has ten or so charms on it, including a fruit basket, church, owl and pussycat in a boat, and a piggybank. A tiny coin moves in and out of a slot on the piggybank’s back and he was my favourite charm to play with, when I was younger and also now! My bracelet also inspired the idea behind The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper.
How did the idea for Curious Charms come about?
I showed my bracelet to my son and told him the stories behind each of the charms. The idea came to me about an elderly man who discovers a mysterious bracelet in his late wife’s wardrobe. I once holidayed in India and bought a small brass elephant pendant, and this was the inspiration behind the first charm (an elephant with an emerald in a howdah on his back) that sets Arthur off on his epic journey of discovery.
I wanted to write a story straight from my heart, and create a character that people would want to cheer, laugh and cry with. I love to collect ideas in my head, so each scene and character in the book was influenced by someone I know, something I’d seen, or personally experienced.
Arthur is quite a reserved man, up until he goes on the adventures of each charm. Where in the world would you like to go on an adventure?
I’d probably return to Sri Lanka. I got married there and it would be lovely to go back. From the elephant orphanage in Pinnawala to the rock temples at Dambulla, from the tea plantations in the hill country, to the golden sandy beaches, I’d love to revisit them all. Back then, I only made it half way up Mount Sigiriya (Lion Rock), but this time I’d climb all the way to the top! We’d visit the hotel where we got married – perhaps somewhere to bear in mind for a special anniversary.
Describe your perfect writing space…
It would be somewhere warm! I don’t like being cold so I’d choose a balcony somewhere in Croatia, overlooking the sea with boats bobbing around, and hustle and bustle in the street cafes below. Then at lunch time I could pop down for a slice of pizza and a big ice cream before getting back to work.
If you could have written one book that’s not your own, what would you pick, and why?
It has to be Q & A by Vikas Swarup. It’s the book that was adapted into Slumdog Millionaire. It tells the story of a young orphaned boy who is arrested for winning the Indian version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire. Each chapter tells how the boy knows the answer to each of the questions, and there are other intriguing story lines running through it too. It gives a real glimpse into India as a country and its culture. I believe the book is total genius and the structure was a big influence to me whilst writing The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper.
About the book
Sixty-nine-year-old Arthur Pepper lives a simple life. He gets out of bed at precisely 7:30 a.m., just as he did when his wife, Miriam, was alive. He dresses in the same gray slacks and mustard sweater vest, waters his fern, Frederica, and heads out to his garden.
But on the one-year anniversary of Miriam’s death, something changes. Sorting through Miriam’s possessions, Arthur finds an exquisite gold charm bracelet he’s never seen before. What follows is a surprising and unforgettable odyssey that takes Arthur from London to Paris and as far as India in an epic quest to find out the truth about his wife’s secret life before they met–a journey that leads him to find hope, healing and self-discovery in the most unexpected places.
Featuring an unforgettable cast of characters with big hearts and irresistible flaws, The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper is a curiously charming debut and a joyous celebration of life’s infinite possibilities.
You can read my review of Arthur’s adventures: here.
Purchase the book: Amazon UK
Phaedra Patrick studied art and marketing and has worked as a stained glass artist, film festival organiser and communications manager. She was inspired to write Arthur Pepper’s story by the memories of her own charm bracelet. She lives near Manchester with her husband and son.