- Author: Jo Bunt
- Published: November 2013 by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
- Category: Contemporary Fiction
In the Cyprus of 1974 Prudence, a young and pregnant army wife, was caught up in the fighting between the Turkish and Greek Cypriots following the Turkish Forces invasion of Cyprus. Pru, a little self-centred and unprepared for the realities of married life and impending motherhood. Her world was turned upside down by a tragic event and she felt compelled to flee Cyprus with a baby, but not her own.
Thirty some years later Leni, a food journalist, is in Cyprus having persuaded her boss she should write about Greek cuisine. She is actually trying to find out about her past after having suffered a personal tragedy and a totally unexpected and shocking discovery, which causes her to re-evaluate her life. Leni is resolute in her determination to visit Valrosha, the area of Famagusta which is now totally out-of-bounds to the public and is also the place where she was born. She feels a desperate need to understand where she came from and to find out about her birth family.
The two stories, one of Pru written in the third person and the other of Leni, written in the first, are woven together extremely well and give an understanding of both women and what motivates them. Given what happened to Pru, she did what she thought she had to and Leni has the overwhelming compulsion to delve into her past after such a startling revelation.
The writing is very descriptive and visual giving a real insight into the terrible suffering and tragedies of the invasion, something I knew virtually nothing about but found very interesting. I enjoyed very much the picture Jo Bunt paints of the Greek culture, the island itself….and the food! It’s all depicted so well and in-depth.
I like that, in the end, Leni realises it’s the people in her life that matter, the love and even the loss has made her the person she is and the love a mother has for her child is not always about blood ties.
I’m very pleased to welcome Jo Bunt, author of Daughter of the Winds, which is on offer from 14th to 20th February as a Valentine special! So grab one while you can 🙂
Following the family’s return to England Jo went to school in Nottingham, university in Hull and then worked in London as a Recruitment Consultant for PwC for many years. Following a family illness Jo moved to Derbyshire where she now lives with her husband and her twin sons. This has enabled her to focus on her two great loves in life; her family and her writing.
She remembers writing her first ‘novel’ when she was seven but spent her angst-ridden teenage years writing miserable and dark poetry. She mostly writes mainstream fiction but is also working on a series of children’s adventure books, largely guided by her own children. When she is not writing or looking after the children Jo is an avid reader and self-confessed food snob. If she can combine the two she is a very happy lady indeed.
- Jo, how old were you when you left Cyprus and do ever feel you’d like to visit again?
I was 5 when I left Cyprus. We went back as a family a few times over the years for holidays and I took my husband to Cyprus before we had our children. I have a huge fondness for the country and would love to visit again.
- Is there a particular book or author that inspired you?
There are so many! I love Victoria Hislop’s books about Greece, especially The Island. I like to learn something new at the same time as reading a gripping story.
- When did you decide to write Daughter of the Winds and how was the whole process for you?
After I had my twins I gave up work in the city. I thought I could retrain in something – anything – but all I wanted to do was write. After about a year of research and writing a few lines here and there (and getting nowhere) I went on a writing course at my local library run by local author Martin Davies. He was wonderful in motivating me. I came up with a plan at this time and stuck to it. By the third and final module of his course I had a manuscript.
- Do you work to an outline or run with the characters?
I always have a pretty good idea of where the story is going but sometimes the characters take me in a different direction. Characters that were only meant to be bystanders sometimes steal the scene and end up sticking around.
- What would be your perfect meal and where would you dine?
I love food and there are many contenders for the ‘perfect meal’. It would almost certainly be seafood, and definitely by the ocean/ sea that it was caught in that day. There’s not much that can compare to the Shrimp Roti with Bajan pepper sauce and a local beer in Cocomo’s on the west coast of Barbados. Happy times!
- That sounds lovely! Finally, do you have anything specific to say to your readers?
Thank you for taking the time to read Daughter of the Winds. I would write even if nobody read my books but I am so happy to be able to share these characters with you. Every sale excites me because it means someone else is going to meet Pru and Leni and they get to tell their story all over again.
Synopsis from Amazon
When the Turkish invade Cyprus in 1974 Pru, a young British Army wife, has her life turned upside down. Two weeks later she flees the country with a baby who isn’t hers. Over thirty years later that baby, now a grown woman called Leni, returns to the island of her birth to find out about the chain of events that led her to be brought up as Pru’s child. She discovers the true cost of war, how the hurt still continues through the generations and what being a family really means. In this story of love and loss Leni will lay ghosts to rest in more ways than one.
Many thanks to Jo for agreeing to this interview.