Grab a drink, make yourself comfortable, because the inquisition is about to start.
*Alan scrambles to get a piece of my double chocolate brownies before I have them all*
Okay, now wash it down with some delish coffee and we’re all set to go.
What is the biggest thing in your life so far?
The biggest challenge, decision and event in my life so far has been moving to Andalucia, in Spain. My partner Lorna was ill, and struggling with work, so we made the drastic decision to change our life forever. From decision to move was only six months, no five year plans for us.
Do you ever miss those great English summers?
Maybe I’ve missed it a bit this year, as everybody has been enjoying the weather in the UK while we swelter in over 40 degree heat. Normally however, no I do not miss the UK summers, or the hosepipe bans.
What about your job? The life you left behind?
I was in between work. I used to be in retail management, and got made redundant. I then dabbled in property before we made the move. I, of course miss family and friends, I miss playing five a side football, and I really miss the cinema and fish and chips.
Living off-grid, has that proven a challenge?
Of course, it is a completely different lifestyle. Whereas in the UK we would turn on the TV all day, have the heating on, not think anything of leaving lights on, we can’t do that. If we run out of solar power, that is it until the next day, when hopefully the sun comes out again. We had one winter where it rained for three months solid, we were living in welly boots and damp clothes, but we are still here! What doesn’t kill you, only makes you stronger.
Hahahaha, sometimes I wonder how true that is, but that’s aside. It does sound like something we need to know more about and I believe you have written a book on the subject?
Yep! Last year I decided to write a book about our life, why we moved here and what has happened to us. I thought a few people would be interested. Bloody Hell, What’s an Alpaca? Was the result.
I see you opted for ‘Seriously Mum’ instead of ‘Bloody Hell’. 🙂
How did you come up with the title?
Hmmm, the title, that’s a story in itself! At first I was going to call it ‘Into the Frying Pan’ because the area we live in is called the Frying Pan of Spain. But I decided the title needed to include alpacas somehow. ‘Bloody Hell, What’s an Alpaca?’ was Lorna’s daughter’s reaction when we told her our plans. BUT then I had a problem on some sites in the US, as they didn’t like the word ‘Hell’ in the title, so I had to change the ebook to ‘Seriously Mum, What’s an Alpaca?’
And why Alpaca’s?
If only I had a pound for every time that question gets asked!
I know, it is kind of a lame question, but I wondered about it. I just had to know! 🙂
Because they are gorgeous, wonderful animals and we thought we could make some money with them. They are still beautiful, but we haven’t made the money that we hoped we would.
Is the book more factual than fiction, or the other way around?
Everything in the book is based on fact. I may have combined character traits and embellished stories a little for entertainment purposes but it is a memoir about our new life here in Andalucia.
Can you give us a teaser for the book? I know it’s usually called a blurb, but I like to think in more graphic terms. *Lucy grins* So teaser it is.
Seriously Mum, what’s an alpaca?’ is the frank and charming story of a brave couple who risk everything to move to Spain to breed alpacas. Their intention is to make a living, but first they must negotiate their way through the Spanish property market, local characters, rogue builders and the worst weather Andalucía has seen for 100 years. Alan and Lorna experience the joy, but also the heartbreak of alpaca breeding, picking up an assortment of stray animals on the way. ‘Bloody hell, what’s an alpaca?’ may be full of glorious highs and monumental lows, but it is essentially a story of endeavour and spirit, living each day as though it may be the last.
What is it that makes you write?
I write because I think people would like to know what we are doing, and maybe live a little bit vicariously through our adventures. Many people would love to do what we have, but don’t for whatever reason have the opportunity.
Can you give me an excuse for not writing?
The alpacas need feeding? 😉
Could be true! Hahaha, but I guess that wouldn’t take all day?
What do you do to get you and your book in the reader’s eye?
I am a Facebook king! Events, pages, posts, cute photos and anything that gets people involved. I am still new to Twitter and still learning the ropes but I will get there.
Is there something you feel works best to promote your book?
It needs to be seen by the people who might be interested. In my case, expats, animal lovers, alpaca owners and farmers are all good target markets. So many people expect their book to sell just because it is on Amazon, but if people don’t know it’s there, how can they buy it?
And finally can you tell us something about yourself none has ever heard before?
If I try and smile for a photograph, I end up looking like Alan Partridge. Go figure. So now I just look grumpy in photos!
Nah, I don’t think you look grumpy, or like Alan Patridge at all! I think you look like a Brit who lives very happily in a frying pan with a couple of Alpacas to keep him warm in winter. 🙂
What do you think? Does Alan Parks looks like Alan Partridge?
Thank you Alan for being here, I hope you had as much fun as I had and want to come back with more on your Spanish adventures.