Lise Gold is one of those writers whose books transport you to each exotic locale she writes about. Her Compass series is one of my favorites. Her latest book, Welcome to Paradise, is the first book of a new series and is out now. Lise was kind enough to chat with me.
Lise, tell us about your new book and the series it is the start of?
It’s the first book in my new ‘Resort Series’, set in Spain along the Costa Blanca. The idea started this spring when some countries in Europe announced they were opening up to tourism again after lockdowns. I imagined people going on holiday for the first time since the pandemic started, especially the Brits, who love the sun. At the same time, many of my friends had lost their jobs due to restructures after their furlough, so I didn’t want to ignore the pandemic in my book. I know that might not fit with the concept of a romance per se, but I think it works here.
It follows Lisa Walker, who has lost her relationship, her job, and her apartment in London. As it’s cheaper for her to book herself into an all-inclusive resort in Spain than to stay in London without a job, she decides to move into Paradise Hotel while she continues her job-hunt.
Stella Castillo, poolside manager at Paradise Hotel, is delighted to be back at work after a long lockdown. The guests are equally excited, celebrating life going back to normal. Apart from one woman, who her colleagues refer to as ‘Miss Grumpy’. When one of her team members makes a faux pas and insults Lisa, Stella steps in to try and smooth over the situation. What starts out as a tentative friendship soon leads to more and as Stella begins to understand why Lisa is so unhappy, she unexpectedly finds herself falling head over heels with the beautiful Brit.
Your book Living was the first book of yours that I read, and I loved Cam and Ella. Depression is a difficult subject. What inspired you to write this book?
I know a lot of people (including myself) who have suffered (or are currently) suffering from depression. I wanted the book to be a message of love and hope while addressing poignant and pressing topics of depression and suicide
You have obviously traveled extensively and write about different cultures and locations beautifully. What brought about your love for travel and where would you still like to go?
I’ve always been restless; perhaps because we moved around a lot when I was younger. I constantly had to make new friends, learn new languages and adapt to different cultures. Although some people may have hated that, I grew to love change and new experiences. Traveling to new places excites me and I’m very good at finding gems on a budget.
The list of where I’d still like to go is long; the Amazon rainforest, Peru, Jordan, certain parts of the US and Alaska are currently on the top, but there are also so many beautiful places in Europe to explore so I’ll have to make choices. My Europe trip is something I want to do with the dogs so that will take a lot of planning.
Continuing on with the travel theme, what are a few of the most beautiful places you have visited?
I loved Louisiana, Buenos Aires and Rome. Thailand and Norway are close to my heart because I have family there and know the countries well.
What’s the weirdest food you’ve eaten during your travels?
I had ambuyat in Brunei. It’s their national dish, and it’s a type of starch derived from the trunk of the sago palm. It’s slimy and we ate it with a side of fermented durian paste, which is the only fruit I really don’t like. I’ve also had jellyfish salad multiple times in China. It’s transparent and surprisingly crunchy as the jelly is very firm, and it has very little flavour. China is probably the country where I’ve eaten the weirdest things. I love authentic Chinese food; it’s actually really healthy, but I’m not a fan of floppy pigskin stew.
I am a little slow and thought Madeleine Taylor was another author you collaborated with only to discover it was actually your alter ego. What prompted the move to writing these erotic books?
I just needed a temporary change from romance and wanted to see if I could do it. In the process, I discovered that I really liked writing in first person as it’s easier for me to relate to the characters that way. I feel that the collaboration between Lise Gold and Madeleine Taylor is the sweet spot where I’m most comfortable writing.
If you were to travel on a yacht like Celia and Erin in Blue and you could invite four other lesfic writers along for the ride who would you take and why?
KC Luck because I fancy her and she’d look great in a captain’s hat. She can sleep in my cabin.
Melissa Tereze because she lets me swim in her pool and she also promised me there will be a cocktail bar next time. Also, I want to return the favor after our road trip. I’m a chameleon so I might start speaking with a Liverpool accent after those two road trips.
LL Shelton because she’s great fun and I adore her. Also, she’s a very talented stripper.
There are so many other authors I’d love to bring and I don’t want to choose, so can I bring Dolly Parton instead?
I understand you are quite the singer, what are some of your favorite songs to sing?
I love singing and I’ve sang South American folk music, fado (Portuguese), blues, popular music and funk (not really into the latter). During the first lockdown I went on Smule (singing app). It was great because so many performers were stuck at home (sad for them but good for me) with nothing to do so they went on the app too and that gave me the chance to sing with some amazing people.
My favorite genres are country and blues. My favorite songs to sing are ‘Jolene’ by Dolly Parton and ‘Autumn leaves’, the Eva Cassidy version.
I hate to admit it, but I’ve read very few lesfic books this year. I got sucked into suspense and mystery and read all of Lisa Jewell’s books instead. When I discover an author I love, I tend to read their whole backlog.
I have quite a few lesfic books on my to-read list though, so if you ask me again in December, I’ll let you know 🙂
Lise, thanks so much for taking some time to chat with me. I really appreciate it and hope we can do it again soon!