Today I’m delighted to feature Irish bestselling author, travel writer and broadcaster Michelle Jackson. Michelle loves to write about travel, and her novels are all set in wonderful locations that will make you feel as if you are travelling with the characters that she writes about. Her latest novel Journey to the Heartland takes it’s inspiration from her travels through Oklahoma and America’s mid-west in 2015 during her time as a journalist.
Michelle has published seven novels (six with Poolbeg Publishers) since 2008, all bestsellers, and one non-fiction title ‘What Women Know’ with Hachette Ireland in 2010. Her journalism includes, business and travel features in all major National Irish Newspapers and magazines, including The Sunday Times, The Irish Times, The Irish Independent, The Irish Daily Mail and National Geographic Traveller. She is publisher of the award winning website www.TheNovelTraveller.com – one of Ireland’s premium travel magazine websites and has been travel writing since 2012. Michelle has been contributing as The Novel Traveller on The Elaine Show on Virgin Media One for 8 years and travel expert with Ivan Yates on The Hard Shoulder on Newstalk FM for three years. She has contributed to broadcasts on RTE and other channels over the years.
She is a native of Howth, County Dublin, Ireland where she lives with her two children.
Over to Michelle:
Which 5 pieces of music/songs would you include in the soundtrack to your life and why?
My Dad used to play cassettes in the car of Jim Reeves and all the old country and western tunes especially songs like ‘I Love You Because’ – it is his love of The Wild West that inspired me to travel to the American mid-west with him and find the inspiration for my current book.
When I was in art college in the 80s some songs seemed to always play on the duke box in the canteen and if I was to pick one song that really takes me back there it would have to be I Want to Know What Love is by Foreigner – I’ve always loved that song.
The number one song when my son was born was Toploader Dancing in the Moonlight and I still love to hear it- as it reminds me of that winter when I was swaddled in my own little world with my new baby in 2000.
Save a Prayer by Duran Duran was always a song that I loved and I think more for the video than any reference to Simon le Bon but I always wanted to go to that place – which is in Sri Lanka and although I haven’t made it there yet in my career as a travel writer I was in Fiji last February which was magical and pretty close.
In my sixth novel I wrote about an album by ABC entitled The Look of Love and although it didn’t have a story about the song from the eighties and my teens to accompany it, I felt it was the right one. Then when I met my partner later in life at 52 he said that was the first record that he bought – I like to think we were romantically connected before we had even met.
What 5 things (apart from family and friends) you’d find it hard to live without.
My google photos app
My laptop for writing
Can you offer 5 pieces of advice you’d give to your younger self?
Start to write sooner
Don’t allow fear into your life
It’s better to regret things you’ve done than things you haven’t
Marry a kind man (who you have great chemistry with of course)
Don’t put off doing anything that you are passionate about
Tell us 5 things that most people don’t know about you
My first job was a sock designer in the 80s
I can play the piano moderately
I can whistle and hum at the same time
I adore ziplining – the more exotic and dangerous the destination the better
I was an art teacher in secondary school for thirty years
Tell us 5 things you’d like to do or achieve.
I’d like to do a parachute jump
I’d love to travel into space
I want to learn to fish
I’d like to finish a young adult book that I’ve been writing for several years and can’t finish
I’d like to live in a warm country for January and February every year
Thanks so much for joining me today Michelle, it’s been a pleasure. I suspect we are of a similar vintage so hearing your music choices really brought back memories for me too. My dad liked country music and my first real boyfriend loved Jim Reeves. When I grew up I was definitely more of an ABC kind of girl though. I certainly couldn’t live without chocolate and music either, I think we’re not on our own with that one. I love your advice, particularly, ~It’s better to regret things you’ve done than things you haven’t~ that is one of my mantra’s. Good job that not everyone is like me and sees socks as perfunctory or that would have been one job less on your C.V.? I hope to get to achieve your dreams and although I’m a bit rusty I could always try and teach you to fish – that’s another thing I got from my dad when I was younger.
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Journey to the Heartland
This is the story of the fragile love between Roz Waters and her visually impaired father, Patrick, a love that is revived on an extraordinary road trip through Oklahoma in America’s heartland. The journey is an opportunity for Patrick to impart knowledge and wisdom that Roz is finally ready to hear.
Unexpectedly, Roz’s world is rocked when she meets an army officer, Michael Williams, along the way. But his wedding band isn’t the only obstacle that makes their love forbidden. The prairies pale in comparison to the touching journey into each other’s hearts.
As time unfolds Roz discovers that she and her father are intrinsically linked to Michael and together maybe they will all find the real Heartland.
Journey to the Heartland has been chosen as March Book Club read for the Hope Foundation USA Book
Club and is the first selected from an Irish author https://hopefoundationusa.com/product/book-club/
One Kiss in Havana
Emma, Louise and Sophie are sisters. Talented, artistic and creative, they have a lot in common – especially when it comes to men.
When Emma receives two tickets to Cuba in the post from her late husband she is more than surprised. She decides to take her sister Sophie along – not realizing this was his exact intention.
Louise hankers for lost love – Jack Duggan. She trudges through her suburban life with husband Donal while her sister’s soak up the Caribbean sunshine. But a chance encounter with the love from her past means that she will have plenty to deal with back in Dublin.
Meanwhile, in Cuba, Emma meets Che Guevara lookalike Felipe and Sophie meets Greg – a Canadian art dealer. Set against the backdrop of Salsa music, rum cocktails and balmy tropical nights –the girls have no idea what One Kiss in Havana will lead to…
Two Days in Biarritz
They’re chalk and cheese but always the best of friends . . . until Biarritz! Meet best friends Kate and Annabel, all set to celebrate a big birthday in style. And where better to do it than the chic resort of Biarritz packed with yummy food, heady wine and surfers? Kate is an artist and lives in France, while Annabel’s only ambition is to hang on to her Yummy Mummy status back in Dublin. But Annabel has been keeping a shocking secret from Kate for years. Then in Biarritz, in a haze of alcohol, she at last lets it slip. Kate is devastated and runs back home to the Pyrénées. Then her mother’s illness forces her to return to Dublin . . . to Shane, a pilot, the one-time love of her life . . . and to Annabel. Meanwhile Annabel’s perfect suburban life is rocked and she throws herself into setting up a small business. Her husband Colin is appalled at the new Annabel . . . new friend Gary, however, approves . . . Can the women’s friendship survive deception, betrayal and anger? Can they survive Biarritz?
Three Nights in New York
3 girls, 3 guys, and 3 unforgettable nights in trendy downtown New York! Eve doesn’t believe in knights in shining armour. As director of Just for Coffee dating agency she reckons you need the correct profile and bank balance to find love. Fate, however, does not agree! This is single mum Nicky’s first time in New York and she has come to shop! But she gets more than she bargains for! For Rachel it’s time out from her stressful marriage and a chance to visit her hunky brother Conor. A holiday fling is the last thing she needs. Until she meets sexy Alex who uncovers the dark secret she lives with in her cosy secure life back in Dublin. From the High Line to SoHo and the Boathouse to Chelsea the magic of New York transforms their lives forever!
4am in Las Vegas
It’s Halloween in Las Vegas and things are crazier than normal for Connie the wedding planner. Vicky and Frank are in town for their nuptials but Vicky’s teenage daughter Tina is less than impressed until she meets Connie’s moody and enigmatic son Kyle. Frank’s brother John is trying to hold everyone together but something happens that turns the wedding party on their heads at 4am in Las Vegas!
Suzanne is new to Facebook and has stumbled upon more than she expected when she receives a friend request from Ronan in Boston! He’s on his way to Las Vegas for a work convention and Suzanne’s friend Eddie convinces her that she should go too!
When they all meet in Binion’s Casino the cards have already been dealt but will there be a winner?
5 Peppermint Grove
Emigration, emigration, emigration…Ruth Travers is leaving Ireland like so many of the Irish Diaspora who have gone before her. But unlike most she’s travelling business class on a Boeing 777 and will be landing in sunny Perth Western Australia sometime in January. Leaving behind her married boyfriend of ten years, Ruth hopes to make a fresh start but not everyone is happy with Ruth’s decision to go. When she tells her mother Angela that she is Australia bound she is met with scorn. It is only when she discovers an airmail envelope with the address 5 Peppermint Grove scrawled across it that Ruth wonders why her parents left Australia without explanation.
Her best friend Julia Perrin gently orchestrated the move for her friend’s own good. She is a successful business woman with her own travel company and so busy fixing everybody else’s life she sees no need to do so with her own…until she visits Ruth in Perth! Sunshine, sandy beaches and Barbeques abound but there may be more than Angela’s secret waiting for them in Peppermint Grove…
Six Postcards Home
If you enjoyed the love story Normal People then Michelle Jackson’s sixth bestselling novel Six Postcards Home will resonate with you. Set in Dublin, London and Spain this Irish love story follows Karen and Greg who fall in love as teenagers. But their story doesn’t run smoothly as a series of events and circumstances prevent them from being together. As middle age approaches it seems they will never be together…or will they?
Seven Wishes in Rome
It’s April 2005. Lucy is getting over her divorce, Emily is searching for her mother, Sebastian has a crush on Cathy and Nell is so angry with her father that she could kill him. As for Conor, well he’s just being himself. They’re all going to Rome on Wednesday with thirty-five teenagers in tow and now it looks like the Pope is going to die, which could have a serious effect on their schedule.
Over the course of four days, three will find love, one will find himself and the other will find the handbag she has always dreamed of but will fate allow her to buy it?
Irish Girls on Holiday (Anthology)
‘Irish Girls on Holiday’ is a collection of sizzling summer short stories from three of Ireland’s most popular writers.
From sunny Spain to historic Washington and tropical Jamaica, this bumper crop of romantic, funny and thought-provoking tales will make you laugh, cry and transport you around the world. So kick back, relax and dive into the perfect holiday read this summer!
What Women Know : A Book of Wisdom and Knowledge (with Juliet Bressan)
What is the secret to a woman’s strength and power?
Mothers, daughters, sisters, friends, colleagues: women connect through shared experience, mutual support, and the wisdom handed down from generation to generation.
In What Women Know, bestselling authors Dr. Juliet Bressan and Michelle Jackson mine this world of female wisdom and share the results of both their personal journeys and those of the many ordinary and extraordinary women that they have met along the way.
With answers to all of the big questions that every woman asks herself about – With advice and tips on relationships, work, health, love, loss, sex, money, children, spirituality, key life changes, beauty – What Women Know is an open book of women’s confidences, designed by women for women, to help us live life to our full potential.
Inside these pages are precious gifts for each and every one of us: to learn, to live, and to pass on . . .