WLM Spotlight Sunday – Saffron Mello Castro

Saffron Mello Castro SS2

Alan Parks: This morning we welcome Saffron Mello Castro to the Sunday Spotlight. Her memoir A Thousand Miles From Nowhere has been published recently. Two people will be picked to receive ebook copies of the book. Saffron, good luck

Saffron Mello Castro: Morning everyone-looking forward to the questions

Alison Teeshirts:  Hi Saffron, being lazy here and not looking at your profile, can you tell us a little about yourself and your book please ?

Saffron Mello Castro:  Hi Alison Teeshirts well, I’ve always loved writing from a young age-creative writing and reading in general is my escape from life! I also have an over active mind so writing is a form of therapy too I’m British born and have lived in Spain on/off since the mid 80’s. I have two daughters and I teach English here as a foreign language. My novel is based on my own experiences in life-a road trip full of adventure, love, sex and experimentation but always with an introspective aspect as there is always a consequence to one’s actions. The novel started out as short story and evolved into what it is today

Alison Teeshirts:  Know what you mean with writing things down. I have hundreds of shorts lying around. Agree with what you are saying about consequences: people don’t think enough about that. Sounds like I have another read to add to my list! Whereabouts are you in Spain?

Saffron Mello Castro:  Yeah the consequences part is something I want to emphasize-mainly because of the drug experimentation in the book-I don’t regret any of it but at the same time I’m not advocating it-I knew when to stop and fortunately have escaped relatively unscathed though the same can not be said for everyone! I live on the Costa Blanca near ‘Denia’ stunning area. I’ve lived up and down the coast and inland in small villages in the mountains…there is a whole other book there for the future based on those adventures!

Alison Teeshirts:  I sometimes feel that Spain is like the English 60’s and 70’s with its hippy communes and relaxed attitude to recreational substances. But yes, knowing when to stop is the important thing and it’s made you the person you are

–Sounds like two or three books! I’m familiar with inland Sierra Nevada rather than coastal

Janet Hughes:  I’m amazed that the Guarda Civil were so tolerant, even in the 1980’s. So what have you got lined up next Saffron?

Saffron Mello Castro:  Spain was more like that before..they had their ‘La Movida’ movement which was the equivalent of the swinging 60’s about 20 years later after the death of Franco-I think it got pretty extreme and yes there were consequences…it is still relaxed in many ways but with the current rather extreme right wing government things are becoming scarily reminiscent of the Franco era again As for the next book..well I’ve started a few things and left them…a kind of sequel-another based on my father’s background in India and his life in UK as an immigrant, also a collection of Erotica that i stared way before ’50 shades’ was around etc etc! so yes rather a strange variety of ideas

Janet Hughes:  I like the sounds of sequel, has the 50 shades phase died out yet, or is it still blossoming?

Dougie McPherson:  Happy to review for you simply send me a copy in mobi or PDF for a fair honest review

Janet Hughes:  Hi Dougie, have you seen our free offerings for today

Julie Haigh:  How long did it take to write your book? And is your hair naturally curly? It looks lovely-mine won’t behave when I’m abroad!

Saffron Mello Castro:  Janet Hughes no the ’50 shades’ is still blossoming and i have many ideas though I wouldn’t want to compare it with the former…I think her success has been an amazing though mine is on a different level-watch this space Thank you Dougie McPhersonMcPherson I shall send you a copy.

–Julie Haigh I started writing the book over five years ago but I stopped and started continuously as life invariably got in the way and some pretty extreme life changing things happened during that time-was a bit of a love/hate relationship! And yes my hair is naturally curly but drives me mad and gets frizzy! This pic was taken a good hair day!haha

Janet Hughes:  Sadly 50 shades got there first, there are other authors that write much better. 50 Shades is written really badly, it’s repetitive, and that woman, if she ‘bites her lip’ once more I’ll be forced to hand her over to Woofie Wotsit and Mark Bean for target practice! Sylvia Day writes much better (in my humble opinion). So go for it gal, you can’t possibly do any worse than 50 Shades!

Susan Joyce:  Good morning from Uruguay Saffron! Just catching up on the questions and answers. Julie, my hair never behaves.

Julie Haigh:  Glad I’m not the only one then!

Saffron Mello Castro:  Janet Hughes I wrote quite a funny critique of 50 shades-I shall put the link on here after-see what you think! Susan Joyce Good morning in Uruguay! It’s exciting speaking to people all over the world! I have to pop out with my daughter and will return shortly to answer more questions.

Susan Joyce:  Saffron, is there one book that greatly influenced your life, your lifestyle, your writing? What do you hope your book teaches others?

Joy Hughes:  Saffron, just loved your book (as a beta reader) but need to head to bed to try and sleep . . . 1.30am Monday in New Zealand. Will try and catch up on posts in a few hours when I am really meant to be awake and alert!

Saffron Mello Castro:  Susan Joyce that is a real difficult question-I don’t think there is ONE book but a variety-I read a vast amount particularly as an adolescent-everything from teen stuff like Judy Blume to Wilbur Smith, Jeffrey Archer, and many of the classics-I loved a book called ‘Walk through cold fire’ which really resonated with me at the time. Books like James Michener, ‘The drifters’-Hideous Kinky’ ‘The Beach’ etc have been influential with regards to my novel now. ‘The Alchemist’ Paulo Coelho is also very special to me. I think I’d like to send a message that everything is possible in life and to never give up on your dreams and aspirations..looking at the photo for today’s feature where I’m smiling and looking happy-I had just come out of major surgery days previously and could barely walk-they thought I had a cancerous tumor-thank god it wasn’t! But it was something else unpleasant…I got through it and continued writing my story

–Joy Hughes am so glad you loved the book! Many thanks X

Susan Joyce:  Saffron, a good message to send. ‘The Alchemist’ Paulo Coelho is also special to me.

–Regarding your critique of 50 Shades … Literature is purely subjective. One man’s ceiling is another man’s floor. One woman’s libido is another woman’s fantasy. Go figure. I haven’t read these books, nor do I plan to read them. Not my thing. These women readers must lead very shallow lives to need a book to show them how to do it. Happy to say, I did it my way.

–Saffron, were your children born in Spain? Do they like living there?

–Is your father from India? Did you ever live there?

Dougie McPherson:  Saffron Mello Castro many thanks I shall duly await it’s arrival (my younger bro lives in Peurto Polensa and has done for almost 20yrs now and loves it although due to the sun he badly resembles a wrinkled prune nowadays at just gone 40 I would love to live in a hot dry climate would assist my MS a great deal but sadly it’s never going to happen, so cold damp & wet blighty it is then ) thank the lord for Kindles and IPads is all I can say without which I wouldn’t be able to communicate with the world as touchscreen is the best for as I have no feeling in my hands/fingers thus typing is impossible then with no grip I can’t write so I now do everything on either my IPad or Kindle Fire (I also have a brand new Mini IPad not even out it’s box and a MK 2 old style Kindle and a NO name 7″ Tablet, a mini laptop and a massively fast Windows 8 desktop that I use voice commands with and lastly I have just been given a Samsung Galaxy camera which is all touchscreen thus I will now be able to use it as that is my passion that I lost when I lost all use of my hands in the conventional ways but it all goes a long way to keeping me sane I may have to come the summer buy a Galaxy tab to sink with my camera then I wouldn’t need my two IPhones 4s & 5 I’m a bit of a tech head in a case you hadn’t noticed it’s what gets me up in the morning as without it I have very very little to look forward to …. sorry for long post it wasn’t meant to b

Victoria Twead:  Saffron, having read your book and thoroughly enjoyed it, I found your love of music shone through. I imagine you used to be a bit of a rock chick? Are you still?

Susan Joyce:  Love your name Saffron. Who named you and why? Colorful and flavorful. Nice!

Julie Haigh:  Victoria mentioned your love of music-listening to music? or do you play an instrument/instruments?

Saffron Mello Castro:  OkaySusan Joyce Re: 50 shades, I totally agree about literature being purely subjective and I made sure I read 50 shades before commenting as I found many people had an opinion without having read the book! It’s not my thing but well done to her for her success-I wouldn’t say no to that many sales My eldest daughter was born- in Spain in 1994 ( I was 21-young by today’s standards!) and we returned to the UK when she was 2..my youngest was the opposite-born in the UK and came to live in Spain when she was 2!! My eldest loves it here and my youngest says when she grows up she will live in London and have a city pad she may become an interior designer…My father was born in India in Mumbai and went to the UK when he was 17-his is a fascinating background-very mixed and I still haven’t got to India-it’s on my to do list! and lastly my pseudonym is Saffron Mello Castro as i always used to wear yellow and the surname comes from my anglo-indian background

–Dougie McPherson I’m sorry to hear all of that but I guess Thank God for technology for you! The climate does make all the difference for many health problems as well as for mental well being-I don’t do well with lack of sunlight and suffered alot with SAD in the UK during the long winters-I need light!

–Victoria Twead yes my love of music is obvious in the book and in my life in general I guess it comes from my childhood being exposed to live music as my parents took me to concerts and festivals and then my father went on to work in the music business throughout my childhood mainly working for Cat Stevens and travelling the world with him so i was always surrounded by musicians and music in general! I tried learning the guitar on a couple of occasions Julie Haigh but never saw it through! I have musician friends and boyfriends (well not at the same time-the boyfriends I mean!) I did a short spate of band management too but that is another crazy story…

–Oh and yes I still love live music and go to gigs whenever I can.

Susan Joyce:  Thanks for all your answers! Your father’s life sounds fascinating. I won’t read 50 Shades because from reviews I’ve read it’s not very well written and I have a stack of at least 60 books I consider MUST READS … on my coffee table. Sounds like your book is well written and thought out. Congratulations on receiving great reviews. I plan to check it out soon. Music has always played a big role in my life. Got me through some very difficult situations. Band management? That could be quite the story.

Dougie McPherson:  I look forward to reviewing it now if you could send me a copy I will put it next in line (only got one in front ) sounds like my type of book though which also helps when reviewing one I think.

Saffron Mello Castro:  Yep Susan Joyce Music is the same for me-I even have a soundtrack for the novel-some of the songs are featured in the book including ‘Pink Floyd’ ‘The Who’ ‘The Stone Roses’ ‘Spiritualized’ etc I have a song for pretty much every stage in my life-i even had a birthing tape for in the hospital while giving birth!haha Okay Dougie McPherson will do.

Terry Bryan:  I’m always nosey about what makes some young people take off…was there one crowning blow that made you leave home and experiment with drugs? Or do I just need to read the book?

Saffron Mello Castro:  Haha just read the book! To be perfectly honest the story is not in chronological order for a number of reasons-some of which to protect identities etc I left home young for a number of reasons but when i did most of my experimenting i was still at home-my mum just blamed my mood swings on my hormones!parents tend to spend a lot of time in denial

Susan Joyce:  Saffron, Billy Joel, the Bee Gees, and Paul Simon figured big in my life and their songs come into play in my book.

Saffron Mello Castro:  Did you quote them in your book? I think, no rather I know (!) music creates the atmosphere within the story and out-I had my soundtrack on constant play whilst writing the book…I have it on spotify now

Susan Joyce:  I did quote one or two lines. Beyond that it gets into copyright infringement and is a no-no.

–Thanks for mentioning Spotify. Sounds like a cool app. Do you do regular posts to promote your book?

Caroline England:  Given that your characters are based on a mixture of real people you have met, did it make you nostalgic for them when you were writing your book?

Victoria Twead:  Good question, Caroline. And I want to know if you have many regrets.

Linda Kovic-Skow:  Hi Saffron Mello Castro. My daughter is visiting from CA, but I wanted to pop in and say hello. My book is also set in 1980 – an interesting timeframe all around the world. How did you come up with the title for your book? What about the cover?

Saffron Mello Castro:  Susan Joyce yes I do try and do fairly regular posts-mainly on my blog-but the book ( well this much improved second edition!) has only just come out now so this is the beginning of the real promotion

–Good question Caroline England yes I do get nostalgic and DID get nostalgic for some of those times but it also helped me put some ghosts to rest during the writing process as well as making me realize that I’ve had many good times in the present as well as the past.

–Victoria Twead, I do have some regrets yes but they are pretty mixed up but I’ve also come to realize that timing is paramount in life and perhaps I wasn’t ready for certain things back then and now I am-the time s now! I’m now officially a mature grown up-haha…as if…we…

Susan Joyce:  Saffron, thanks for your answers, Very interesting to get to know you. I blog once a week and not sure if it helps with sales, but old friends are coming out of the woodwork. I’ve been able to connect with friends from my Cyprus and European daze, which has been great fun. Wishing you great success. I’ll be in touch. Time to go make dinner. One last question, what ages are your kids? Our 26 year old left Uruguay for the States a week ago. Found Uruguay BORING. You’re right, timing is paramount.

Susan Jackson:  I just got home so I was reading the post. I have your book and have it on my list to read. What made you move to Spain and do your daughters enjoy living there?

Saffron Mello Castro:  Hi Linda Kovic-Skow good question regarding the title-it was originally provisionally entitled, ‘Shine a light’ after a song that is very special to me and is quoted in the book-it’s meant to represent the light that shines in the darkness (Love!) anyway then I changed it to ‘ A thousand miles of space’ alluding to the distance-both physical and emotional between two people (based on my long distance relationship back then!) however a couple of people said it sounded like a sci-fi novel! Just as I was becoming desperate for the right title I heard a track whilst on a plane home, called, ‘ A thousand miles from nowhere’ and the rest is history as they say finally the cover just happened whilst racing around with my friend taking pics locally of roads and sunsets and I just felt right with what we came up with

— Thanks Susan Joyce I’m not sure either about the blog with regards to sales but I agree it’s fun and also keeps me writing about a variety of things not just my book! My daughters are aged 19 and 12 (well almost!) I’ve never been to Uruguay but would love to go as well. The states and Canada-2 places on my to visit list, hopefully very soon!

–Susan Jackson Hi there I first moved to Spain in 1986 with my parents as a grumpy adolescent! So since then I’ve lived on/off between both countries-my eldest daughter was born here. I do love Spain in many ways however I can’t honestly say whether I would have ended up here if it hadn’t been for the family connection…the world is a big place. I’d like to try out some other places but not particularly keen on moving back to UK.

Susan Jackson:  Thanks–sounds like the experience Savannah Grace had in Sihpromatum–sulky teen on her mother’s trip of a lifetime.

–Can’t wait to read your book as I loved Savannah’s

Saffron Mello Castro:  Haha sulky teens and trips of a lifetime-not good combination! I shall have to read that too.

Susan Jackson:  I am sure you will love it–well, I am off–gotta fix hubby’s dinner! Thanks for entertaining us today!!

Susan Joyce:  Yes, thanks again Saffron!

Saffron Mello Castro:  Thank you to you all and on that note I’m going to bed! X

Julie Haigh:  Thanks for a great spotlight Sunday, very interesting. Will definitely be reading your book!

Linda Kovic-Skow:  Thanks for a great interview Saffron Mello Castro. Good luck with your book!

Saffron Mello Castro:  Thank you Julie Haigh and Linda Kovic-Skow I’ve enjoyed chatting with you all.

Victoria Twead:  Saffron, thanks again and please choose 2 people to win your ecopies. And in case people are looking for your book on Amazon, the link is http://smarturl.it/1000milesAmazon

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