DESERT SKIES, REBEL SOULS
An interview with local writer, Michelle P. Tonnesen, who has just published her second novel
When did you know you wanted to be a writer? I was born a word lover and grew up with multiple languages, so I guess it was written in the stars that I would be a wordsmith of some kind for a living. After having worked with corporate communication, business and academic writing for most of my career, it was a delightful adventure to break into creative writing when I started scribbling my debut novel, The Cosmopolitan Islander, six years ago. What is your new novel about? Desert Skies, Rebel Souls is about a young woman’s thrilling journey of self-discovery and rebellion. Olivia is breaking free from the confinements of her safe, predictable upper-class life in the wealthy suburbs of Copenhagen. She travels to a small kibbutz in rural Israel where she meets Chaim, a young kibbutznik who is about to join the Israeli army like all his peers. They fall deeply in love, but their relationship is soon challenged by geography and the gore of war. It is an uplifting tale of adventure, yet a bitter-sweet love story which questions the concepts of hatred, fate, war and peace as the protagonist deconstructs both her perception of the world and her identity. Where did you get your inspiration from? My memories of living and travelling in the Middle East were the catalyst for my new novel. However, the cast of characters and the story are inspired by lots of different people and events, real as well as fictional. The news, TV series, films, friends, family, random strangers in the street, restaurants or
when travelling – they have all inspired me and triggered different scenes and emotions I could channel into the adventures of Olivia and Chaim. Who will read your book? Hopefully, everyone – but definitely adventurous globetrotters and readers longing to escape. I hope my novel will help more people appreciate the beauty and wonders of this region, and particularly Israel which is often the centre of negative publicity. I also hope my new novel will take the readers on an adventure that will stay with them forever. What do you like to do when you are not writing? I love good food and good company. I do as much travelling as possible. I enjoy discovering new places and cultures – particularly in the sun! I also dabble in yoga and running to look after my body and mind in a hectic life. What is an interesting fact about yourself? I am originally from Denmark, but grew up in a multicultural family and have lived in Brussels, the Middle East and London before moving to the Isle of Man with my family in 2011. My experiences with living in different countries and cultures inspire a lot of my writing, sprinkled with a bit of an anthropological globetrotter’s perspective on life due to my degree in Intercultural Management and Communication. When is your novel out? It’s available now as e-book and paperback. I hope you will enjoy reading it as much as I have enjoyed writing it.
ISLE OF MAN PREMIER MAGAZINE
Published on Nov 25, 2017