The Story Behind The Great Ex-Scape by Jo Watson

23 Oct 2018

By Jo Watson

The Destination Love series was born out of my passion for travel. I’ve always been a huge fan of Bill Bryson books, the travel writer, and loved and admired the way he manages to inject humour into all he writes. I always knew that if I ever wrote books, I would like to do something similar, and so the Destination Love Series was born; romantic comedy meets travel writing.

So far in this series, we have gone from Thailand to Mauritius. Greece to Kenya to the Czech Republic and finally ending up on Reunion island. I prefer to write about places that I’ve visited, as I’m able to inject first-hand observations into the books; from sight to smells and even textures. (Although I still need to visit Greece and do more than just a stop-over in Kenya.)

It’s been very important to me to make sure that the travel aspects of the book are largely authentic (give or take some creative hyperbole here and there for the sake of comedy, naturally.) But for the most part, I want to take readers not only on a romantic journey with the couple but also on a journey through another country.

The Great Ex-Scape is the last book in this series and I must say, I’m feeling rather sad about that! I was very excited to write this book, though, since I had an incredible experience on the island of Reunion myself and wanted to share it with my readers. Whilst I was there I got to witness a volcano erupt, which is something I never imagined I would ever see in my entire life. And more than that, we got to take a helicopter ride over the erupting volcano and watch it from the air. Honestly, it was one of the strangest, coolest things I’ve ever seen. And I remember the feeling I got whilst watching it, as if I was watching something truly special and ancient. Something that was both destructive, and life-giving- volcanoes have shaped our planet since the dawn of time after all. This image stuck with me and I knew it was something I wanted to write about one day, and I’m so glad I got to do it in this book.

There was also something else I’ve always wanted to write about, something that I think we’ve all probably experienced at some stage in our lives, be it brief, or be it long and drawn out; unrequited love! In my teen years I definitely had one or two unrequited crushes, thankfully they were short-lived since the teenage heart is a mighty fickle thing. But over the years I’ve watched some of my friends go through the most excruciating patches of unrequited love. I’ve seen first-hand how awful and all-consuming it can be. How it can be incredibly destructive to one’s self-esteem and how you can easily lose your identity in it. The amount of energy that goes into loving someone that doesn’t love you back, is immense. So, in The Great-Ex-Scape my main character Val has been in a three-year-long, painful unrequired love crush on her best friend and neighbour. The book starts with her finally confessing her love for him, only her timing couldn’t be worse! She confesses it to him at his engagement party in front of 80 guests, including his fiancé.  Obviously mortified and humiliated she makes a run for it, this run causes her to “accidentally” board a plane to an island she’s never heard about.  And that’s where she meets Alex, a fellow broken hearted traveller.

That’s where the book kicks off, and if you want to find out more, you’ll have to read it 😉

Jo Watson is the author of the new book The Great Ex-Scape

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