"Thank you for inviting me to visit 'A Bookworm's World', Luanne. I'm really delighted to hear that 'The Perfume Garden' is being released in Canada and the US. My husband's from Vancouver, so I'd always wanted to write a Canadian hero, and with this story I had my chance. There's a line in the story: 'your home is within you, you carry your place in the world', which seems to resonate with people, and it's something I really believe in as an expat. My husband grew up in Canada, Africa, Russia, and we've both traveled and lived all over the world (currently in the Middle East), but we both have a strong sense of our roots.
The novel was inspired by the years we lived in Valencia, Spain. I wanted to understand why there was a ‘pact of forgetting’ about the Civil War, which was fought in the lead up to WW2. Researching the book was heartbreaking, learning how such a beautiful country literally tore itself apart. It’s recent, painful, history. I was moved by the way that ordinary men and women, and many writers and artists from across the world including Canada joined the International Brigades to fight for democracy, which is why I chose to focus on them. We went back to Valencia last year, for me to do some final research, and we showed our daughter where she was born, which was wonderful.
The story weaves together fact and fiction, so my invented hero, a Canadian doctor named Tom, works alongside Doctor Norman Bethune who pioneered mobile blood transfusion units on the front line, saving many, many lives. Bethune is a Canadian Person of National Historic Significance, and I believe he's been honoured with a statue in Montreal.
'The Perfume Garden' brings together a lot of my interests - history, photography, and the theme of fragrance is a sensuous counterpoint to the war story. In nature I love cut grass, the smell of a bonfire on an autumn day, the smell of orange blossom, gardenia … I could go on forever. At the moment in our desert garden here, the oleander is blooming and smells like honey, and the jasmine is in full flower. I fed all of these wonderful natural scents into the story of the garden. In terms of perfume, I love fragrances like Annick Goutal’s ‘Eau de Sud’, and Diptyque’s ‘Philosykos’. Jo Malone’s ‘Orange Blossom’ candle was lit every evening writing this story and as you can see from the photo, my desk always has a few bottles of cologne around.
I gave Emma, the young perfumer at the heart of the contemporary storyline, my dream house in a village near us in Valencia. It had faded blue walls, and a wonderful Moorish belltower you could just see from the street. I'm hoping that one day I'll get to plant my own permanent perfume garden when our family finally puts down roots, but for now I enjoyed giving Emma her chance at happy ever after."
Thank you so much for stopping by Kate! The Perfume Garden sounds like a wonderful read! Read an excerpt of The Perfume Garden.
"Kate Lord Brown grew up in a wild and beautiful part of Devon, England, and was first published while at school. After studying philosophy at Durham University and art history at the Courtauld Institute, she worked as an art consultant, curating collections for palaces and embassies in Europe and the Middle East. Kate won the BBC International Radio Playwriting Competition, Middle East region, in 2014; was a finalist in ITV's The People's Author competition 2009; and has an MA in creative writing. The Perfume Garden was shortlisted for the UK Romantic Novel of the Year 2014. She lives in the Middle East with her family, and is working on her next novel." You can connect with Kate Lord Brown on her website, her blog, on Facebook as well as on Twitter.
And if you think this is a book you'd like to read, I have a copy to giveaway, courtesy of Thomas Dunne Books. Open to US and Canada, no PO boxes please.Ends April 25/15. Enter using the Rafflecopter form below.