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When it comes to Meet Me in Tahiti shelves, we’ve talked to Georgia Toffolo about writing women’s heroes, Instagram book clubs, and the joy of a good read …
Georgia Toffolo’s name is synonymous with positivity. And from his famous TV presence to his social media activity, Toff’s infectious view of the sun is always at its core.
His new novel, Meet me in Tahitiis no exception.
The third book in the Mill & Boon series hits shelves this week, centered around the wheelchair user Zoe, and if a romantic fiction novel could provide a similar empowerment to Toff, that is.
These books are far more than your average romantic fiction, as Georgia is committed to dealing with important issues, ensuring representation, and writing powerful heroes who control its narrative and sexuality.
In short, they are worth reading.
With that Meet me in Tahiti Released today, Jenny Proudfoot, MC Features Editor, sat down with the wonderful Georgia Toffolo to talk about Instagram book clubs, write female heroes, and recommended summer readings …
How do you feel about the release of Meet Me in Tahiti?
I’m as nervous as anything I’ve ever written, but this is by far the most important story I’ve ever told. As a Zoe wheelchair user, my main priority was to tell her story in a great and engaging way, but also to be sensitive. And I hope you agree that I’m not shy about Zoe’s inability. We wanted to shed light on Zoe’s story and the stories of many other wheelchair users, so we joined the team. Whizz-Kidz and they’ve been totally great, I can’t even tell you. They seem to think we’ve told Zoe’s story well, so I’m very excited.
And being the third book, you have found the winning formula …
Absolutely. I’m so sorry that when you’re an author like me the winning formulas for writing are shedding light on some really important issues that are facing a lot of women today, but of course with a little bit of fun, female friendship and a little bit of it. . She’s trying to find that happy mix and I feel like I’ve done it with this book.
Did you always know that you want to write a book?
Always. But I never thought I would have a chance in a million years. When I was in school I was a huge bookworm – it was always my first issue, but I never had the confidence to let anyone read my writing when I was 21 years old. I always wonder what I would do if I ended up slipping on a banana and not ending up on TV. I’ve always wanted to study law, but when I look back and think when I was really good, I think this would be it.
What brought you love as a genre?
At first I thought it was because that was what I liked to read to myself; they are romantic fiction novels for myself. I grew up swallowing Jilly Cooper, David Nicholls, Sarah Morgan, that kind of atmosphere. So I think it was all about considering that I would end up in romantic fiction. It would be foolish for me to dare to do anything else. However, I am quite ambitious with my writing and would like to have a new challenge at some point in the future where I can write a different kind of genre. I don’t know why, but I’m still eager to write crime. We’ll see where it goes and I’m very happy with the moment.
What do you want people to take from your heroes?
I attach great importance to my heroes. There is so much planning for these girls and they are so well thought out. I want people to come and think that these very strong women control their narrative and control their sexuality. I want people to see that this is fully depicted in a romantic novel. The old traditional love story is still a huge hit – it’s cork. But I hope people see that you can have that fairy tale but at the same time deal with some really important issues.
Has your intention with writing always been a mere escape?
Absolutely. Traveling in an armchair is my thing and doesn’t God need everyone ?! And looking back, at a time when my books were relatively romantic, we were not allowed to see anyone, and when foreign lands were banned from traveling abroad, they were the perfect storm for a pandemic. Of course, when I was presenting these ideas to Harper Collins and Mills & Boon, I had no idea we were going to experience that, so it was unfortunate. It’s been a huge pandemic, of course, but I hope my books have given people a little bit and taken them to wonderful lands abroad. As I said, they are a good escape.
What role does reading play in your life?
Oh it’s awesome. That’s all. Sad, nervous, excited, whether I’m nervous or not, I always turn to books for comfort. It’s always been my escape. When everyone else is watching the famous movie and TV shows, it looks like I’m reading. Whether it’s a horrible time in my life or whether it’s the inevitable sad moments we all have, books are my comfort. I don’t know what I would have done without them.
Can we talk about your Instagram book club?
I try to be as real as I can on Instagram and I enjoy reading it. Books aren’t probably the prettiest content to talk about, but it’s me and I think people really love authenticity. Also, I really feel that there has been a tremendous change in reading, even in the last two years. There seems to be a change in thinking; it looks really nice now and I’m excited. Emma Watson, Reese Witherspoon, these very nice people run the book clubs and I hope they continue to ride the wave of reading as they are bloody again.
Did you find the books a special consolation in the face of the blockade?
Oh, God forbid. In the first block, like all the others, I found this to be particularly hard, so I went for it Midnight chicken By Ella Risbridger. I can’t say in words how special this book is. I always turn to that. Luckily she cries, she cries sadly, and I’m one of those weird people who can’t even make a toast but I like to read cookbooks. The way Ella writes to me is so fascinating and raw, and it somehow documented my entire experience of being in my forties. She writes very wonderfully about feelings of depression and sadness, but also about joy. When he starts, the depression is very gross for him. He looks at this chicken in the kitchen and says to himself, “Besides smoking that chicken, you can’t get up right now, so get up and do it.” And he writes it all down. It’s amazing and for me, it was my lock novel. There were hard times of loneliness for so many people and for Christ I can’t imagine what some went through, but for me Midnight chicken he was my old faithful. It always seems to pass me by. Whether it’s spending hours or relaxing emotionally, books can be very powerful.
Do you have any recent book recommendations?
I found it Ehun Uda By the hand of Vanessa Branson earlier this year and I really enjoyed it. I didn’t know when I started reading the book but she is Richard Branson’s sister. And I think the reason I enjoyed it so much was the diversity of topics. Not only have you heard of a woman’s life from the beginning, but as a Branson, you’ve also heard of one of the world’s largest businesses. You hear how their parents, different types of parents, and Branson, their grandparents, their lives, wars, and so on were parents. And I think I loved entrepreneurship when he talked about his family and when Branson talked about the reasons that are so high. gets. It’s such a great book, I was really impressed with how much I enjoyed it. It’s another great book I just read last month Marlow Murder Club. It’s by Robert Thorogood, the guy who writes the screenplays Death in Paradise, and is a real page passer. I love British murder mysteries and this one is set in Marlow so there is a lot of talk about the Thames. The main character is the most eclectic and crazy old lady, immersed in the river and walking on this big Barbour, who is long on the ground, with nothing underneath, completely weird and funny, but murder is a great mystery.
What message do you expect people from Meet Me In Tahiti to take?
What I want people to get out of this book is the importance of the language we all use about disability. It is a way for all of us to influence society and thus gain greater respect for the disabled. I also want to get rid of the message that people are wrong to do wrong; at least we are trying to give more representation and visibility to people with disabilities on a daily basis. As Whizz-Kidz always told me, ‘don’t worry if you say the wrong thing. You have no disability, you are learning. And it’s amazing that you’re finding the right words to learn and to raise your profile. ”
Georgia Me Toffolo from Meet Me in Tahiti is now available in Mills & Boon’s paper books, e-book and audio book for £ 7.99.