If you have followed me over the years you will know that there is one Author I feature regularly, because not only does she write the most delectable books, but she is one of the most supportive and creative Authors I have the privilege of knowing: Isabella May

Today I am delighted to have been given the chance to interview her, and also feature her latest book, and share some news on her up and coming new books.


Q: What inspires you to write your books?

A: Sharing my love of travel and food. Giving people a few laughs and reminding them that romance and magic are both alive and kicking!

Q: Is there any truth in the storyline of any of your books that relates to your own life?

A: I think we infuse parts of ourselves in many of our characters. My travels and foodie penchants definitely shape the storylines of all of my books! My debut, Oh! What a Pavlova is loosely based on my own experience of domestic violence.

Q: What have been your favourite moments of being an author?

A: Heartwarming feedback. Hearing that I have made someone laugh, inspired them through a character/plot, encouraged them to improve their relationship with food, given them a few hours of escapism. These are the things I dream of achieving when I write a story.

Q: What motivates you to keep writing?

A: Receiving thumbs up messages from readers all over the world. There is no feeling quite like it!

Q: How do you come up with the plots of your books?

A: I have a rough idea but the characters speak to me as I begin to write. I never truly know what the twists and turns will be and I am always delighted to discover them on the journey.

Q: Of all the books you have written, which would you say is the most special to you or your favourite and why?

A: They are all dear to me for completely different reasons. That would feel like trying to choose my favourite child!

Q: Are there any characters that have felt so real to you that you feel you could keep writing about them?

A: Many of them. But since I grew up in Glastonbury, just like my MC River Jackson from The Cocktail Bar (who is also appearing again in my Christmas novel, Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Bar), I would have to say him!

Q: If you could choose to have an exclusive book club with three authors, dead or alive, who would you choose and what would be your ideal discussion to have with them?

A: Nigella, Julian Fellowes and Julie Caplin probably. The perfect mix of food, travel and wit – all fused with the most kaleidoscopic language. I just adore the way all three authors write.

Q: What books do you currently have on your bedside table?

A: I’m reading ‘The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul’ at the moment. It’s as far removed from your typically twee little coffee shop titled books as you can get! But it’s a refreshing change. A bit of a slow burner but a deeply fascinating insight into life in modern day Afghanistan from a female perspective. Great writing. I highly recommend it.

Q: What book is your latest, or releasing soon and can you tell us a little about it?

A: Bubblegum and Blazers will be published on 1st July 2021. I’m really excited about it and had a silly amount of fun writing it. It’s quite a unique story but a great way to escape the antics of the outside world, so I truly hope it helps uplift bookworms this summer! Here’s the blurb:

When Ali, Blake, Charlotte, and Grant sign contracts to star in a Back to School reality TV show, LOVE is the very last thing on their minds:

Ali flies to the UK from New Zealand, intrigued by the golden opportunity to advance her amateur social media influencer career.

Blake carpe diems the moment with both hands after a constant flurry of bad luck.

Charlotte jumps at the chance to relive her sporting glories of the past – and take a hiatus from her humdrum marriage.

And Grant is just relieved to get away from his failing second-hand music shop.

But once the advances hit their bank accounts, it soon becomes apparent that producer Jock’s Pied Piper-style offer to change their lives is distinctly lacking in sherbet fizz!

In fact, the only sweet thing about this gig for the former students and the rest of their Bubblegum and Blazers competitors, may just be the packet of candy in their pockets.

Re-enacting their past is a rollercoaster of revelations, retaliation, and unlikely romance in a goldfish bowl of mayhem where Raphael (agony uncle of the school sweet shop) and his rhubarb and custards reign supreme…

Q: What is the kindest thing a stranger has ever done for you or said to you?

A: I can’t think of anything recently. I am trying to be that person for others daily. I think the pandemic has really awakened that duty in me. I don’t always get it right but I think that’s one benefit the pandemic has brought with it: this deep ache and need for many of us to give what we can to others. Even if it’s just a smile.

When I think back to the past though, I will never forget those who have unconsciously changed the path of my life just by being in the right place at the right time and making me wake up and smell the coffee (especially during the aforementioned DV relationship).

Oh, then there have definitely been a couple of guardian angels who happened to appear from nowhere when I was being pursued as a young woman – once in a car when I needed to flag a motorist down for help, once in a car park after clocking off from my work shift, and once on a train in Denmark – I missed my stop in the middle-of-nowhere (it was late at night) and a random guy decided to ‘befriend’ me. I quietly freaked out and notified the ticket inspector because the end of the line was some stop in a forest! The inspector spoke to the driver and they phoned ahead to the train passing in the opposite direction so that both trains could literally (almost) stop on the tracks and I could jump across. You really couldn’t make it up! I’ve no doubt I was saved from some pretty appalling potential situations in all three of those cases. And each time it was a male who stepped into that role and helped me out, actually.

And as for the person who helped me up when I tumbled down the women’s Olympic downhill ski slope in Austria! He was far better in tune with the ski school students than the instructor lol…

Q: Lastly, something fun that our readers might not know about you?

A: I speak four languages, I have weird thumbs, and I twice turned down an interview to appear on the UK version of ‘The Apprentice’. I thank God for the latter!

Featured book: The Chocolate Box by Isabella May


Ellie Sanchez wants revenge.

Spurned during her school days at prestigious Monty’s academy when she was plain Eleanor Finch, and played second fiddle to her idol, Barnaby Westwood, and his show-off sister, Clementine, Ellie will stop at nothing to turn the tables now she’s all grown up. The siblings and their snubbing have been the catalyst for everything that’s gone wrong in her life, from parental neglect to her divorce.

When the Westwood travel merchandise company advertises for a new HR manager, Ellie decides her unique combo of karma and Law of Attraction has finally come good. And she’ll be bagging herself a cherry-on-the-cake, second, and richer, husband in the process – once Barnaby sees how much she’s changed, anyway.

Fast forward six months and he STILL doesn’t recognise her! Fast forward six months and the company is in a financial mess.Last Chance Saloon-style, Ellie coerces the siblings and their older sister, Brooke (the perpetual spanner in her works) to a rustic gîte in Normandy for a spot of team-building… over a very ‘special’ box of artisan chocolates.

“Cue ALL the fireworks in the cocoa bean version of Jumanji…”

About the Author

Isabella May

Isabella May lives in (mostly) sunny Andalusia, Spain with her husband, daughter and son, creatively inspired by the mountains and the sea. Having grown up on Glastonbury’s ley lines however, she’s unable to completely shake off her spiritual inner child, and is a Law of Attraction fanatic, as well as a Pranic Healer.

After a degree in Modern Languages and European Studies at UWE, Bristol (and a year working abroad in Bordeaux and Stuttgart), Isabella bagged an extremely jammy and fascinating job in children’s publishing… selling foreign rights for novelty, board, pop-up and non-fiction books all over the world; in every language from Icelandic to Korean, Bahasa Indonesian to Papiamento!

All of which has fuelled her curiosity and love of international food and travel – both feature extensively in her cross-genre novels, fused with a dollop of romcom, and a sprinkle of magical realism.

Isabella May’s Social media links:


Twitter – @IsabellaMayBks

Instagram – @isabella_may_author


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Taryn Leigh is the Author of Perfect Imperfections and The Secret Letters, which are currently available from AmazonWaterstonesBarnes&Noble, Exclusive Books and where all good books are sold.

Published by Taryn Leigh

Taryn Leigh is the Author of Perfect Imperfections, which is available worldwide. She lives in South Africa with her Husband, Son and two Cocker Spaniels.

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