Today is the release of Mandy Baggot’s new book, Truly, Madly, Greekly. Mandy is a Travel Republic super-fan and always books twice a year with us to stay at the lovely Mareblue Beach Resort in Corfu, which happens makes her quite the Greek expert. In fact Mandy has based her new book on her experiences in Corfu so we thought what a perfect opportunity to get some insider knowledge from her. I decided to interview Mandy to find out all about the new book and also get some top tips for Corfu!
So Mandy, can you give us a brief overview of your upcoming book, Truly, Madly, Greekly?
Sisters Ellen and Lacey Brooks are travelling to the Blue Vue Hotel, Corfu to plan Lacey’s big, fat, Greek wedding. Lacey’s a Bridezilla waiting to happen and Ellen is harbouring a big secret. Will the sun, sea and all-inclusive treats be the distraction they both need? Or will a sexy stranger sweep them both off their feet?
It’s a feel-good beach read, perfect for your sun lounger this summer!
What is it about Corfu that inspired you to write your book Truly, Madly, Greekly?
I first visited Corfu back in 2003 and fell in love with the island. It’s the perfect mix of beaches, countryside, a beautiful, historic capital city, the wonderfully welcoming Greeks, the gorgeous food, the climate… I’ve visited mainland Greece and other Greek islands but Corfu draws me back like nowhere else. My very first book, Excess All Areas, is also set in Corfu. The island just had an immediate impact on me from that very first visit. I always knew there would be more than one book set there. It’s my ‘go-to’ destination, the one place I always long to escape to!
Would you say the book is a true reflection of Corfu and Greece?
Absolutely, as it is inspired by my own experiences there. It’s obviously fiction but as well as telling Ellen and Yan’s romantic story I hope I’ve captured the spirit of Greece and created a picture postcard in book form. Most of the book is set in Agios Spyridon, but there are visits to Sidari, Kassiopi and Perithia too! It’s like a mini tour of the north of the island.
Also, with the not-so-good economic times, I’m hoping the book will spread a little sunshine over the Eurozone!
Have you included any personal experiences of your holidays in Greece into the book?
There are lines in the book relating to personal experiences – like the time my husband and I tried to climb to the top of Mount Pantokrator in the midday sun with one litre bottle of water between us. We turned back just before heat stroke set in luckily! I did have to drink two glasses of lemonade in about a minute for my legs to stop shaking though.
There are also lots of entertainment nights in the book. The animation teams at the Mareblue Beach gave me plenty to work with for that. I’ve watched magicians, taken part in quizzes, karaoke and bingo, water exercise, boules, volleyball etc. I don’t think there’s anything I’ve written about I haven’t experienced in some form or another. And of course the Greek food… I’ve eaten plenty of that! And we won’t mention that potent local brandy – I’m quite partial to that too!
You’ve been heading to the Mareblue Beach Hotel for many years now, what is it that draws you back each year?
I’ve been staying at the Mareblue Beach Hotel (booked with Travel Republic!) twice a year since 2012 and it was after my very first holiday there that I came up with the storyline for Truly Madly Greekly. I love everything about the hotel – from the warm welcome of the Rokas Family and their team, to the amazing food, the stunning view, the perfectly manicured grounds, the entertainment etc. Is it any wonder I was inspired? I would totally recommend it for an all-inclusive break for families or couples. We do both!
What would you say are your top tips for anyone thinking of visiting Corfu?
1. Do not hesitate – book a room at the Mareblue Beach Hotel!
2. Take a boat trip – my favourite is the East Coast Cruise. Or try horse riding!
3. Visit Kassiopi for a beautiful harbour setting with plenty of bars, restaurants and the ruined fort to explore.
4. Make sure your camera/smartphone has lots of space for photos of all the amazing scenery.
5. Pack some citronella candles! They smell nice and will keep any pesky mosquitos away!
Truly Madly Greekly comes out today and if you’re looking for a book for the beach this is perfect! You can buy the book here.
Are you madly in love with Greece?