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In 2019, when we needed someone to look after our dog Frodo while we were away, we joined TrustedHousesitters. After setting up our profile, uploading plenty of photos of our house and a rather photogenic Frodo, then publishing the dates of when we needed a sitter, we waited to see if anyone would apply.

As it turned out, we were overwhelmed by the response (apparently there are more sitters than there are sits) and we then had the difficult job of choosing who to stay in our house and look after Frodo for a week. We absolutely made the right choice in Carolina and Alejandro as we couldn’t have asked for a nicer couple. They adored animals, had a background in hospitality, plenty of experience house and pet sitting and they looked after Frodo so well. The next time we went away, we used TrustedHousesitters again and with Carolina and Alejandro not available, we opted for a lovely Scottish lady who was travelling from place to place while working remotely.

The idea of someone travelling all over the world looking after pets while their owners were away got me thinking that it might be a good premise for a novel… So that’s how An Island in the Sun came to be, our own experience of using a housesitting website, inspiring the story of songwriter Tabitha Callahan escaping heartache in the UK to pet sit around the world, before winding up on Madeira looking after a cat and two Cavalier King Charles spaniels.

Little did I know when I initially pitched the idea to my editor, that I’d end up writing the novel just a year after losing our lovely Frodo. Yet, it ended up being a cathartic experience writing this book. I desperately missed my writing buddy and still do – he was always sleeping somewhere close by and helped to break up my day with a walk, but I weaved him into the book in the form of Fudge, one of the Cavaliers that Tabitha looks after on Madeira, with the same colouring and many of Frodo’s traits.

Although An Island in the Sun explores loss and heartbreak, it’s also woven with love and the idea of making peace with the past, ensuring an uplifting, feel-good escapist read. It was a joy to bring to life Tabitha, along with Fudge, Bailey and Misty the cat, not to mention Raff (you’ll have to read the book to find out who he is and how he makes quite the entrance!).

I loved writing An Island in the Sun and I hope you enjoy it just as much.

Pick up your copy of An Island in the Sun today: 🇬🇧 🇺🇸

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