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Spanish culture, cuisine inspire new novel

January 24, 2014

Spanish culture, cuisine inspire new novel

Jan. 24, 2014

Margaret from Newton to Neria

Joyce Jacobs Grand is a woman with diverse interests and areas of expertise. An education major at Skidmore, she completed a bachelor’s degree at New York University and went on to earn a master’s in American government and public policy from Georgetown University. The Virginia native has not only enjoyed careers in teaching, politics, television production, and nonprofit management, she has also cultivated a passionate relationship with Spanish culture and cuisine—in particular, Spanish olive oil. 

Grand has woven these experiential threads together to form the backdrop for her novel, Margaret: from Newton to Nerja. In it, she chronicles the journey of a Boston area writer whose unhappy marriage propels her to seek emotional refuge in the rich culture, geography, and cuisine of Spain, where she rediscovers herself and finds romance.

Grand, who was inspired to write the novel after touring the majestic caves of Nerja, Spain, lets Margaret’s story unfold in seaside landscapes there as well as in the cafes, cathedrals, and streets of Madrid, Avila, Escorial, Grenada, and Toledo—continuing across the Costa del Sol and into Gibraltar Along the way, the author’s extensive knowledge of Spanish wine, cheese, and gastronomy enrich the authenticity of the protagonist’s experience. The many varieties and subtle characteristics of Spanish olive oil, researched in depth by Grand, are particularly prominent in the narrative. 

The sights, smells, sounds, and tastes of Spain lend texture to this tale of emotional rebirth and romance.

A first-time author, Grand started writing Margaret’s story more than 20 years ago, taking breaks from it when life intervened. After 10 years, with the novel about two thirds completed, she returned to Spain to see that country “through Margaret’s eyes. “

Her writing routine involves sitting down after breakfast each day “with a muse on my shoulder telling me a wonderful story that I type into the computer. I look up and discover it's two or three in the afternoon and I’m still in my pajamas.” 

Margaret: from Newton to Nerja is available in paperback and for Kindle download at Amazon.  For more information on the author, please click here

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