Today I am delighted to have Nicole Trilivas on the blog to talk about her debut novel, Girls Who Travel. It’s a joy to read and perfect for lazy holiday afternoons.
Thank you so much Nicole for stopping by Sam Still Reading to answer some of my questions today. I loved Girls Who Travel – it was witty and fun. Kika was a great heroine to read about. First of all, I noticed that you’re the winner of the Wattpad Marian Keyes contest – congratulations! – with an abridged version of Girls Who Travel. How did the idea for the novel come about and how did you get involved in the contest?
I’m so glad that you enjoyed Girls Who Travel! The idea of the book came from a distant friend who became an au pair for a family abroad. When I saw her photos on social media, I thought 1) oh man, why didn’t I become an au pair abroad? And 2) that would make a really fun book!
In regards to the contest: I was in the midst of trying to find an agent for Girls Who Travel when I stumbled upon Wattpad, which is just such a great platform for writers and readers (Wattpad readers are so genuine!). And when I saw that one of the writers I admired most, Marian Keyes, was involved in their contest, I knew I had to submit my story! I credit Wattpad with getting me an agent and everything that followed—that platform (and the people who run it) are nothing short of amazing.
To what degree are Kika’s travels inspired by your own?
At first, I found it easier to place Kika in settings I myself had visited, such as Goa and London, but it was equally fun doing a bit a research on new places I didn’t know so well—like Positano!
I never had the kind of “roadmance” that Kika had; however, I was always desperate to! It was fun living out this fantasy with Kika and giving her, her very own Before Sunrise moment (have you seen the film? If not, check it out!).
Girls Who Travel is witty and the insults that Kika comes out with are hilarious! How did you think all of these up?
Thank you! I’m so glad that the humor came through. Some of the best advice out there is to write as if you’re talking to a friend. I have a wonderful (and crazy) group of friends who collectively are just some of the funniest people I know, and so I tried to write in a way that they would make them crack up.
One of the characters I loved (besides Kika and Aston) was Gwen. Was there a particular inspiration for her?
Funny you should ask—Gwen was this character I invented years and years ago to amuse my little siblings. I would do a silly voice for her and eventually we developed this whole persona around her. My mom always said I should write a children’s book series based on Gwen, so I decided to sneak her into this book as a sort of inside joke!
The family that Kika works for in London as an au pair is called Darling. Is this a reference to Kika never wanting to grow up, like in Peter Pan?
Yes! Excellent observation! I peppered in some Peter Pan mythology into the book and I’m impressed that you picked up on it. At one point, Kika mentions that Lochlon is Peter Pan, but ultimately, we see that she’s the one best suited for rewriting the script on what it means to grow up and evolve as a person.
Finally, I love to read about author’s favourite books. What are your top reads for people travelling?
Ooo fun question! My top reads for travelers are as follows: The Beach by Alex Garland is a must for any backpacker who craves a diversion from the beaten track. Around the World In Eighty Days by Jules Verne is a surprisingly digestible read—it’s uncomplicated but not without naivety (let’s just say that you can tell it was written in 1876). And of course Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert, because I will always appreciate the use of travel as a means of self-discovery!
Thanks Nicole! You can find out more about Nicole on her website. Girls Who Travel is now available, the links below will take you to buy the book directly (note, I don’t get any financial incentive, just warm fuzzies from these links).