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Victoria Twead turned her new life into bestselling novels

by Mary Yuhas

Victoria Twead is a New York Times bestselling author. In 2004 she nagged poor, long-suffering Joe into leaving Britain and relocating to a tiny, remote mountain village in Andalucía, where they became reluctant chicken farmers and owned the most dangerous cockerel in Spain. Village life inspired Victoria’s first book, ‘Chickens, Mules and Two Old Fools’, which was quickly followed by more in the Old Fools series, all of which fast became bestsellers.

victoria twead

Victoria Twead

Victoria and Joe continue to enjoy life keeping chickens, writing, sampling the local wine and living alongside their colourful neighbours.
LitVote: When did you start writing?

Vicky: I began writing when I was knee-high to a grasshopper, and can even remember my first masterpiece. It ran along these lines: THE RUNNAWY TADEL Wunce there was a runnawy tadel and it ran away wen you put food on it the end. As an adult I wrote articles and stories for magazines, hoping that the income might supplement my housekeeping budget. When the children were small, any extra pennies in the coffer were more than welcome so I was delighted when they were published. I never dreamed I would someday write a whole series of books and that they would become New York Times bestsellers… *pinches herself*

LitVote: What was your inspiration to write the Old Fools series?

Vicky: When my long-suffering (but ever-complaining) partner Joe and I moved to a tiny mountain village in Spain in 2004, we experienced a culture shock. Every new day produced events either hilarious or heart-warming. Food suddenly tasted better, human behaviour was more fascinating, local events more interesting. It was like seeing in colour for the first time, and the book began bubbling in my head. As soon as I could, I unearthed all my records, notes, old emails to friends, and began to write. The result was Chickens, Mules and Two Old Fools.

LiteVote: So what happened next?

Vicky: Chickens was awarded the HarperCollins Gold Star, and to my astonishment, began to sell all over the world. Readers wrote to me, asking for a sequel. I had been bitten by the Writing Bug. As nobody tied my arms behind my back or confiscated my laptop, I wrote and wrote. Living in a tiny Spanish village means I am never short of material. And now? I can hardly believe that I have four books published in the Old Fools series. I am so grateful that people seem to want to read them.

LitVote: What is the hardest part of writing for you?

Vicky: I don’t find any part of writing, or editing hard. However, I do find it utterly, totally and numbingly mind-consuming. Whilst I’m writing, little green men could be dancing a Highland Fling on my desk and I wouldn’t notice. Of course, Joe often loses patience with me, and rightly so.
“Stop dreaming, and concentrate! Hold that ladder steady or I’m going to break a leg in a minute!”
But if I’m in writing mode, I’m oblivious to the real world…

LitVote: I love your book covers. They speak volumes about your books before you even open them. How did you come up with your book covers?

Vicky: I’ve been so lucky! I came across some beautiful paintings of Spanish villages painted by the artist, Nick Saltmer. I got in touch with him, and wondered whether he might like to design some covers for me. To my absolute delight, he agreed and we have been working together ever since. I asked him to please make sure they looked like a series, and I think he has done exactly that! An awesome job!

Lit Vote: You are adept with social media. Has that helped sell your books?

Vicky: Adept? I don’t think so. I began with Twitter which I enjoyed, because I loved the constant chat and the challenge of condensing to 40 characters. However, Twitter has become too vast for me really, and now I prefer Facebook. I love the interaction with my Facebook friends, and the We Love Memoirs Facebook group I co-founded is such fun! Even when I’m writing I usually pop onto Facebook several times a day. Has it helped sell books? According to emails I receive, yes.

LitVote: What do you recommend to authors just getting their feet wet in social media?

How to write a bestselling memoirVicky: I would say, don’t try to take on too much. Pick either Twitter or Facebook and build up your following. Engage in conversation. I think people are sick and tired of authors pushing their books. I rarely mention mine, I just chat and have fun. It seems if people like you, they’ll search your books out anyway. Simple as that.

LitVote: Have you written any other books?

Vicky: Yup, I’ve co-written a Spanish cookbook, a play for children called Morgan and the Martians, and a little book called How to Write a Bestselling Memoir where I’ve shared all my secrets.

LitVote: With two New York Times Bestsellers already under your belt, what’s next? Will there be any more in the Old Fools series?

Vicky: Oh, yes. Most certainly. I have already begun a prequel, and the fifth in the series is already planned. I’m addicted.


Author Mary Yuhas, is the author of the upcoming memoir, QUIT AND BE QUIET, about growing up with a severely mentally ill mother,  featured three times on Scribd.

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Currently there are "2 comments" on this Article:

  1. Frank Kusy says:

    Great interview, Victoria! 🙂

  2. Susan Joyce says:

    Good one Victoria! Super interview!

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