Wednesday, June 3, 2015

In an Otter Dimension: A visit with Ailsa Abraham

So I hear a crash and bang from very close by... it's the roof! As I race outside into the breezy summer morning, what to my wondering eyes should appear but a enchanted carpet endeavoring to land, bearing a rather large, friendly but somewhat giddy-looking otter – no, It’s Ailsa Abraham, all the way from her lovely French village to visit with me today! And she’s so loaded down with goodies she’s having a little trouble managing her wand

MAAAGGGIIIEEE can you catch the edge of the carpet for me, please? I've just washed the darn thing and can't do a thing with it. I nearly collided with the Statue of Liberty but, being originally French, we both just went “bof” and laughed.

Got it! Come in, come it, and welcome back in! Tea and toast or coffee and cake? 

Thanks so much for inviting me back. I know you haven't been very well so I've brought you some “special well-juice” from home, grown within a mile of our house. Hope you don't mind me bringing Lily, she does so like flying on the carpet and it gives me space to have luggage. Here – little bro Cameron baked you a cake and said he's sorry he can't come but someone has to look after the Bingergread Cottage while I'm gallivanting around.

Phew! It's nice to sit down. Cross-legged at my age is a bit tiring. Oh yes, coffee would be fabulous. Come and give me a big hug MWUH!

MWAH, indeed! So tell me what you’ve been up to. Been busy lately?

Busy? You bet your ...whatever! Been on two holidays in the caravan already and got home to a pile of new work. The Bingergread Cottage is working overtime, which is a point, Mrs! When are you coming to see us?

As soon as I get my carpet fixed. In the  meantime, tell me the news! Give, girl!

The third book in the Alchemy series is still under construction which is sad
because so many people love the first two and are clamouring for it but.. yes that stupid motorcycle accident. I know, I know, Hell's Grannies never die, they only smell that way!

On top of that, people are finding me. Isn't that just the best? All you lovely folks coming by to chat on my blog has made it very popular and I recently got asked for an interview with a magazine which ended up with me writing weekly articles for two of them! Here are the links. France  UK (both in English language)

Suddenly everyone wants me to do short stories which is a relief as trying to get on with a complete manuscript is very hard work with my brain on short-time working. No, no, I'm not complaining but a stroke, followed by a couple of bangs on the head in quick succession do leave one a bit fuzzy. I love a magic-carpet ride as much as the next witch, but being helicoptered to hospital and then having my spleen removed wasn't very funny.

No, not funny at all.

Never mind, I can walk a bit better now. My feet still take off on their own and lead me into the furniture from time to time but that has always been a bit normal for me – clumsy! And you know me, Maggie, I just end up lying on the floor laughing hysterically because “large lady doing toddler impression” just kills me!

You’re such a loon. All right, what else are you working on. Something about a memoir?

What else? Oh yes! My memoirs. Having nearly died in that crash, I got aroun to thinking that while I have some of my faculties left and possibly a bit of time on this good Earth, I ought to write down all the funny stories with which I regale people. You remember when we had lunch and I had you rocking with laughter at my “ice cream seller” story?

Oh God, yes, I still giggle every time I think of it, which is often.

Well those! My French friends won't stop pestering me to do them in French too because I did a bit of stand-up in the local village hall and it was a hit. Having chatted with our lovely publishers Crooked Cat, we agreed that translation rights would be problematic and took the professional decision that I should self-publish the memoirs but they did offer any help they could, which was unspeakably kind of them. I did produce “Four Go Mad in Catalonia” not long ago, which is a memoir and self-published, so this isn't a new adventure, just a bigger one.

So that's me at the mo. WIP is Alchemy Book 3 plus memoirs in two languages (working title “Knitting With Eels”) plus trying to arrange covers etc. You know the drill, Maggie. So I'm kind of an otter rushed off my paws, but I like it like that. I never get bored. When I need a break I take a wander down by the river, yes, where the otter from my tales lives, and chat to my favourite Walnut Tree.

Being close to nature really is important to you, isn't it, Ailsa? You seem to draw so much from that relationship.

Someone remarked that my having ventured into all the alternative religions (Wicca, druidry, shamanism etc) was useful for my books but all I could think was, “Books! Books! It's essential for my daily life!”

Now give me your hands, Maggie and see if we can do some magic together. I want you well.

Goodness, I feel better already, Ailsa, dear. Thank you. Now you said something before about a present?

Pressie for your friends – oh yes, I nearly forgot! <dives into large rucksack on magic carpet>


“Ta daaaaaah!” Here is a copy of Four Go Mad in Catalonia which I'll donate as a prize to anyone reading your blog who can answer this question correctly:

Which two modern countries now contain the old Catalonia?

Easy peasy! You can random draw the winner and let me know their email addie/ebook format and I'll pop this copy over to them.

You’re a generous woman, and a delight to know. More coffee?

Must dash, honey. Cameron and Badger promised to cook supper, and with those two loose in my kitchen I can smell the smoke from here! I put a baby air-dragon on watch but you never know!

Well, I’m so very glad you dropped by. It’s been so lovely to sit and chat for a bit. Thanks so much for coming.

Thanks for having me, Maggie. It's been a blast, as always. Give me a shout when you have time to come to the Bingergread Cottage and I will send the carpet for you. Hop up, Lily, we're going home. (mad waving and barking)
Byeeeeeeeeeee. Hi Ho, Rug-weave.. AWAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY

Links and everything

Ailsa's page at Crooked Cat Books(learn more about and buy Alchemy and Shaman's Drum)
Website (the actual Bingergread Cottage)


  1. Thanks so much for having me, Maggie - it was, as usual, a total blast!!

    1. A total delight, as always, to spend time with you! Thanks again. :)

  2. Great interview. I won't reply as it would be cheating... as I'm from Catalonia!

  3. Well met, Olga! Thanks for stopping by.

  4. Fun read. I think I see new books in my future. :)

  5. Gorgeous gorgeous interview! Ailsa is my new idol. Where do we send the answer?

  6. Enter your answer here and I'll see it - so glad you enjoyed it. Hope you enjoy the books too! (Sales pitch, sales pitch ahhahaha)