Heart warming story set in Kosovo and Canada
Novel set in London (mainly), plus author Q & A
19th April 2016
Girls Who Travel by Nicole Trilivas, novel set in London (mainly).
What do you do when your year of backpacking comes to an end? Do you settle down to a regular job, or do you find ways to finance more travelling in the future? From Europe, through India and more destinations, Kika’s adventures were crowned by a passionate love affair with the charismatic Irishman Lochlon which ended to all intents and purposes in Southern India. Lochlon continued with his backpacking adventures. Kika returns to the States and is hunkering down to do a rather mundane job, ironically part of it involves planning travel for others. Probably, a means to an end, but her future is unclear.
Her work comes to a rather juddering end because she doesn’t really have her eye on the ball, and is summarily bowled into touch by Bae Yoon, a competitive colleague; but, hey, she is soon offered an au pair job for a family in London, and off she goes. It’s a good life amongst the rich jet set, where she finds her real skills of caring and enabling the two little girls in her charge. It’s a pretty ok life. Roll in Aston Hyde Bettencourt from next door, a rich businessman (only you possibly wouldn’t guess it) and she finds a bit more colour added to her life palette.
Accompanying her family to a ‘do’ at the Wolseley she comes across Bae Yoon once more, but things between them are soon settled with the help of Aston, the knight in shining armour, and life moves on. But what hold does Lochlon still have over her heart? Will Aston get a look in, hovering in the background, forlornly strumming his instrument in the garden? A few twists and turns and a ride in a private jet, and a few days off the coast of Amalfi, soon give Kika the clarity she needs to find her way to her own future.
I found the cover eye catching because it just shouts travel and backpacking! I was slightly taken aback because the setting, to all intents and purpose is not multiple locations (as I felt the title and cover implied) but London (and there is only really one girl – rather than plural girls – who is intent on travelling; you could, sort of, include Elsbeth, in whose house Kika lives, but she is more of a swish travelling gal). However, London really comes to life in the capable hands of this author, whether it is a quick bottle of wine at Gordon’s Wine Bar (in fact, London’s oldest wine bar) just off the Embankment or the Zetland Arms in Kensington, where Aston plays music. The writing is extremely competent and the storyline bowls along at a good pace. Interestingly the novel feels as though it is written in part, in the form of a memoir, which works quite well. I think the one issue I might have is the chemistry between Kika and Aston and for me, it just wasn’t there – they have two differing outlooks on what travel means to them, and at times he was a little gauche for the more experienced and seemingly worldly Kika. But it is after all a story about finding who you are and where you can truly be happy in life, whether that is stationed in one place or permanently on the move.
Tina for the TripFiction Team
Over to Nicole who has kindly found the time to answer our questions:
TF: From the book, you clearly have a lot of backpacking experience under your belt. Can you tell us a little more about your adventures and the amazing places you have visited?
NT: I’ve been to nearly 40 countries and most of them as a backpacker. My favourite experiences tend to be the quite moments: Watching the sun set in Santorini; drinking prosecco under the strong winter sun in Venice; seeing swans float down the canals of Amsterdam in the dead of night. These are the moments I tend to remember.
TF: At times the novel reads almost like a memoir. Is this a conscious device you employed and are there any parts from your own story?
NT: Though the novel is strictly fiction, like Kika I have a desperate love of travel and I used my own passion to give the book life.
TF: The characters get to fly in a private jet and a yacht. Is this a lifestyle you yourself have experienced at any point?
NT: I wish! I actually recently started working for a luxury travel company that has lots of travel-related perks, but I have yet to fly private or go yachting—one day!
TF: The cover is really eye catching, how did that come about and how much input did you have?
NT: Thanks, I love it too! The cover was designed by Sarah Oberrender. I sent Penguin Random House a Pinterest board of what I was envisioning and she made it happen. She really did a great job.
TF: What is next for you on both the writing and travelling front?
NT: I am off to Africa (Cape Town) in a few days for work and then play. In terms of writing, I’m writing more travel-themed fiction. Stay tuned!
TF: Any tips for someone who is about to go off their first backpacking adventure?
NL: Talk to people! There are tons of travel-based Facebook groups just filled with backpackers who will be happy to answer all your questions and fill you with confidence and knowledge before you leave for any trip!