Interview with Virginia Bailey, author of Early One Morning

20 Oct 2015
Tell us a little bit about your new release, Early One Morning.

Early One Morning is mostly set in Rome Italy in the 1940s and the 1970s. It begins in occupied Rome in 1943 when a young woman, Chiara Ravello, rescues a Jewish child from deportation. The narrative then deals with the repercussions of this spur-of-the-moment action – on herself, her family and on the troubled little boy she saves. I was inspired firstly by my love of Rome and all things Italian and secondly by the films, novels and music of the period.

What fictional literary world would you most like to visit?

Narnia – the world created by C.S. Lewis in his books for children. I love the idea of magical parallel worlds that can be accessed only by the initiated or the fortunate or the worthy. Or perhaps by the person most in need of what that other world might be able to teach them. I would enter it via the third book in the seven-book series – ‘The Horse and his Boy’- and would accompany the horse Bree and his boy Shasta on their journey via the exotic Tashbaan, the desert, the mountain tracks, all the way back to Narnia, aka home (where the heart is!).

What’s in your Netflix queue

Narcos, charting the rise of Pablo Escobar. I haven’t started yet because I hear it’s highly addictive.

What’s rocking your world this month?

I’ve resumed flamenco classes, having been obliged to abandon them for a couple of years. I had almost forgotten the intense exhilaration to be derived from stamping, head-tossing and skirt-swirling accompanied by soulful guitar playing. Amongst many other things, flamenco gives you permission to strut.

If you had an extra hour each day, how would you spend it?

I think I would spread the sixty minutes through the day, dividing them up and interspersing them between the existing hours. I would not fill them at all but would leave them empty. Then they would ventilate and expand each day, creating a sense of spaciousness and endless possibility.

You wouldn’t be caught dead, where?

As a writer, nowhere is out of bounds.

What’s on your writing desk?

My laptop, a wrist-rest to prevent repetitive strain injury, my yellow notebook, a pen, a lamp, a small flat pebble that sometimes I hold and, usually, a cup of tea.

What’s your favorite quote from Early One Morning?

I can’t tell you without giving the plot away!

Do you have a motto, quote or philosophy you live by?

‘How we spend our days is how we spend our lives.’ This is a quote from ‘The Writing Life’ by Annie Dillard but you don’t have to be a writer for it to be relevant. To me, the message it communicates is to be present in my life right now. This is not a rehearsal.

Virginia Bailey Headshot
Virginia Bailey is the author of the new book Early One Morning.

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