Author Interview with John and Annette Gisby
Today I’m hosting an interview with not one, but two authors: John and Annette Gisby. They wrote a book about their journey to New Zealand.
1) How did you come up with the term ‘Hobbit Botherer’?
That was coined by my husband John, in relation to my obsession with all things Lord of the Rings related. I’d seen the films countless times at the cinema, read the books over and over again, bought lots of merchandise such as t-shirts, mugs, pens, diaries, action figures and lots more. I sought out other films the actors had been in, anything that had even a tenuous connection, I was there. In the UK, evangelists who go door-to-door to try and convert people are sometimes called God-botherers and John thought Hobbit Botherer suited me, even though I didn’t try and convert anyone, well except for John I suppose, who took my interest in it with good grace, although he hasn’t seen the films as many times as me! He also loved teasing me about my crushes on Frodo and Legolas and the actors who played them. One Valentine’s Day he surprised me by taking me to an arthouse cinema which was showing all three Lord of the Rings films back to back.
2) When did you have the idea to write a book about your experiences in New Zealand?
We were having so much fun on our trip, we wanted to share it. New Zealand is such a wonderful place and even if there hadn’t been a Lord of the Rings connection, we would still have loved our visit. New Zealand is like the world in miniature. You have golden beaches with turquoise waters, volcanoes and snow-capped peaks, tropical rainforest along with beautiful countryside and cityscapes. However, because we had a map with lots of Lord of the Rings film locations marked, we got to see sights that we may not have found any other way. We had an itinerary for our month-long trip, with hotels etc. booked in advance, but some days we just looked at the map and decided: Shall we go here? We took a very long detour on our way to Christchurch to see Mt. Cook. It was over eight hours out of our way, but the view was so spectacular, it was worth every minute.
3) Where has your “obsession” with Hobbits and Lord of the Rings come from?
That has to be from the minute I saw the first film. I fell in love with the world and characters of Middle Earth. I don’t think I would have enjoyed it as much if it hadn’t been for such good characterization. Lots of films and books have battles and quests, but with those others I never felt so invested in the characters as I did with Lord of the Rings. The casting director was spot on. At no point in any of the films did I think to myself, “Oh, that’s Elijah Wood or Viggor Mortensen.” I was seeing the characters on screen, not the actors. I prefer the films over the books, but I think that was because I saw the films first.
4) How long did it take to write “New Zealand with a Hobbit Botherer”?
We took notes while we there and since we still had our itinerary as well, it was a good way to divide the chapters into the places we’d visited and the people we’d met there. I think it probably took about 2-3 months after that to get it written and then edited.
5) Do you have any advice for aspiring travel writers?
I think travel books work well if they are laced with little bit of humour (if you laugh at something in the book, that was probably John’s part, he’s the comedian.) Don’t just have dry facts, but do have some. For writing in general, my advice would be to read a lot. If you don’t like reading, I don’t think you’d like writing either. For me the two go hand in hand.
6) Are you working on something right now? If so, can you tell us more about it?
Oh, lots coming up! I’ve just re-released my short story collection, Shadows of the Rose in paperback and ebook after my rights were returned to me. It has a new cover and some new stories as well. Pink Petal Books will be re-releasing my romantic suspense novel, Drowning Rapunzel sometime this year hopefully. It’s in edits at the moment. I also have a few male/male romances on the backburner which I hope to get finished this year as well, but we’ll have to see how that goes. John has been thinking for a while of writing a book about the UK with a touch of humour as we tour those locations about my other obsession: Harry Potter, but he’s been so busy with his day job lately that we haven’t had the time to visit lots of them yet.
Thanks for the interview!
New Zealand with a Hobbit Botherer
Authors: John and Annette Gisby
Genre: Humor / Travel
What should you do if your spouse becomes addicted to the Lord of the Rings movies and swoons at the very mention of Orlando Bloom’s name? (Thud. Quick, fetch the smelling salts.)
How about taking the advice of a strange apparition that reveals itself in a dream? An apparition that looks remarkably like the director of the movies, Peter Jackson, but not quite remarkably enough to prompt legal action.
An apparition that recommends touring New Zealand in an effort to prove that its sheep pastures aren’t really filled by frolicking Hobbits. Just sheep and the occasional zorbing local.
This is the hilarious tale of such a tour, featuring snow capped mountains and turquoise lakes, flightless birds and flying cattle, bungy jumping grannies and the carrot mafia, strange yellow eyes peering up from a road map and hotel receptionists always desperate to know win you are living.
Annette Gisby grew up in a small town in Northern Ireland, moving to London when she was seventeen. She writes in multiple genres and styles, anything from romance to thriller or erotica to horror, even both at the same time. When not writing, she enjoys reading, cinema, theatre and travelling the world despite getting travel sick on most forms of transport., even a bicycle. Sometimes you might find her playing Dragon Quest or The Sims computer games or watching Japanese Anime. She lives in Hampshire with her husband, a collection of porcelain dolls, cuddly toys and enough books to fill a library. It’s diminishing gradually since the advent of ebooks, but still has a long way to go.
John Gisby is one of those rare English writers who doesn’t live in Surrey. He lives in Hampshire, next door, but with your help in recommending this book to all your friends he may be able to afford Surrey one day. His wife and leading lady is Annette, who is the author of several novels and short stories, also contributing to the Surrey fund. When John is not writing he enjoys travel, with an ambition to visit a different country for every year of his life, buying enough music to challenge the memory of his iPod and trying to play the guitar. Anyone who listens to these attempts agrees that it is very trying. His day job is science, often working for the mining industry, so more dwarf than hobbit really. Don’t tell the elves. By the way, Hampshire is much nicer than Surrey anyway.