Although it’s a while since I first met Tracey Scott-Townsend at an event called Oceans of Words, at which she was speaking, and my write up of which you can read here, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Tracey a couple of times in real life as well as asking her onto Linda’s Book Bag to tell me about one of her books, Another Rebecca, in a post you can read here. I have also had the pleasure of reviewing some of Tracey’s poetry in her anthology So Fast and you can read that review here. Consequently, Tracey feels like a true friend and I’m delighted to be starting off the Love Books Group blog tour for her latest book The Vagabond Mother by asking Tracy to stay in with me to tell me all about it.
Staying in with Tracey Scott-Townsend
Welcome back to Linda’s Book Bag, Tracey. Thank you for agreeing to stay in with me.
Thank you for inviting me, Linda, it’s a pleasure to be visiting you again. (Offers Linda a hug.)
(Which Linda accepts with pleasure!)
I rather think I know, but tell me, which of your books have you brought along to share this evening Tracey and why have you chosen it?
I’ve brought The Vagabond Mother along with me today. I’ve chosen this because it’s my upcoming novel, due to be released on 22 January, 2020. This is a very personal book, in a way, as the story was originally inspired by my youngest son, who went off travelling the world when he was only sixteen.
Crikey, that’s young to head off. Tell me, what can we expect from an evening in with The Vagabond Mother?
You can probably expect to be a little bit shocked at how Maya, the main character in the book, has changed over the two-plus years she’s been living the vagabond lifestyle. Honestly, you wouldn’t recognise her. She used to be one of those well-groomed middle-class village women who attended the local charity ball and held regular dinner parties in her conservatory-dining room, Now she’s thin, brown-skinned, wears her uncombed hair wrapped in a scarf and is capable of walking twenty miles a day, carrying a heavy backpack.
I think I’d rather like Maya!
Expect Maya to regale you with tales about her adventures on the road, from Australia to Bali, Iceland, Denmark, Germany and Spain to name but some of the places she’s been to; sometimes staying in hostels and sometimes sleeping out in the wild. She can teach you about food-salvaging, how to toilet when there are no facilities, and how to come to terms with mistakes made in the past and set about putting them right. She might get her guitar out and encourage you to join in a song or two as well. I wouldn’t ask her too much about her husband, Con, though. She tends to clam up on the subject.
And now, of course, I want to know all about Con!
What else have you brought along this evening and why?
I’ve also brought along a copy of “The Vagabond Guide”, it’s full of helpful tips about food-salvaging, the best places to hitchhike from and where to sleep in the urban wild. It was actually written for me by my son for the book. I’ve included it at the end of The Vagabond Mother, along with some paragraphs written by my daughter-in-law, who also became a solo traveller from a young age. The two of them met in a hostel in Reykjavik, I was visiting my son there at the time and was privileged to be present at their first meeting.
How romantic. I love Iceland.
Another of the chapters in the book was contributed by my middle son, who described a street in Bali for me in great detail. All I had to do was insert my characters. Finally, I took inspiration for Maya’s son’s time working on a farm in Bundaberg, Australia, from my oldest son, who told me about his experiences at the same place.
With Bali and Australia also having been on my travels I think I’m going to enjoy The Vagabond Mother Tracey!
I’ve brought along a selection of food and drink items from some of the countries Maya visits in the book. You might like to try a whale burger from Iceland, a heiße Schokolade from Germany, or tostados con tomate from Spain.
I’m not sure about a whale burger, but did someone say hot chocolate?
I do love a guest who brings food. You’re welcome back any time!
I think we should listen to Bob Dylan and Joan Baez records as well, as these are some of the tunes Maya plays as a busker.
That sounds like perfect background music as you tell me a bit more.
I can tell you about my experience of sleeping in a ten-bed room in a vibrant Berlin hostel, which I challenged myself to do as part of my post-research for the book. Goodness knows what my room-mates in their twenties must have thought about the old lady in the corner bed, but for me it was a wonderful opportunity for some non-participatory observation, and gave me some valuable first-hand material to talk about in my promo for the book.
I bet that was VERY entertaining! It’s been lovely chatting with you all about The Vagabond Mother Tracey. Thanks so much for stopping by.
I’ve really enjoyed spending the evening with you, Linda. I hope you enjoyed Maya’s and my travelling tales, the music and the food. Thank for having me!
It’s always a pleasure. You’re welcome back any time Tracey.
The Vagabond Mother
Not every Vagabond is a Castaway…
Maya Galen’s oldest son, Jamie, left home eight years ago after a massive row with his parents and now Joe, her youngest child and apple of her eye, has cut off all contact with them too.
Called to Australia to identify the body of a young man, Maya is given her son’s journal. After a sleepless night she decides that the only thing she can do is follow in Joe’s footsteps and try to discover her most basic human self. Eschewing a monetary lifestyle, from now on she must rely on her physical and emotional strength to survive.
Following Joe’s hand-drawn maps and journal entries, she travels from Australia to Denmark and beyond, meeting many other travellers along the way and learning valuable lessons.
Eventually a crisis forces her to return home and confront the end of her marriage, but also a new understanding of what family, in the widest sense, really means.
Exploring the big questions at the heart of human existence, The Vagabond Mother shares territory with books and films such as Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer, The Way, starring Martin Sheen, Wild:A Journey from Lost to Found by Cheryl Strayed and Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert.
The Vagabond Mother will be released by Wild Pressed books on 22nd January 2020 and is available for pre-order here.
About Tracey Scott-Townsend
Tracey is the author of The Last Time We Saw Marion, Of His Bones, The Eliza Doll and Another Rebecca. Her fifth novel, Sea Babies was released on 1st May 2019. Her novels have been described as both poetic and painterly. Her first poetry collection, So Fast was published in January 2018.
Tracey is also a visual artist. All her work is inspired by the emotions of her own experiences and perceptions.
Tracey is the mother of four grown-up children and now spends a lot of time travelling in a small camper van with husband Phil and their rescue dogs, Pixie and Luna, gathering her thoughts and writing them down.
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