I’ve been following Notting Hill Yummy Mummy for almost three years now. She is a Notting Hill resident who inspired me to share on social media what goes on in our neighbourhood. She launched her debut novel The Beta Mum Adventures in Alpha Land over a week ago, and I got to read it a week before it was out. I enjoyed it so much and did a review here. That’s why I’m honoured to share the exciting news of her new novel right here. In this conversation we discuss how she began her blog, her love of reading and writing and, of course, her debut novel.
Elna Smith: Hi Isabella! Thank you so much for your time. Let me firstly start by saying ‘Congratulations on the success of your book launch last week.’ For the few of my readers who haven’t come across your words yet, can you please share a little about yourself? Please share with us your story.
Isabella Davidson: Firstly, thanks so much for having me on your blog! I am a mum of two young girls and live in west London. I wasn’t always a writer. I started out as a doctor, but when I had my children and went back to work I realised I wasn’t going to be the doctor I wanted to be or the mother I wanted to be, so I stopped working and focused on raising my children. That’s my priority right now.
ES: What originally drove you to start your blog ‘Notting Hill Yummy Mummy’?
ID: It all started out as a bit of fun, chronicling the lives of Notting Hill residents after hearing lots of entertaining stories and anecdotes. Then, as I got more followers and readers, it’s evolved and become more of a lifestyle blog, with travel and restaurant reviews.
ES: You’ve built an online readership and eventually decided to write a novel about the people you talk about in your blog. What drove you to write a novel?
ID: I always wanted to write a book – it’s always been a dream of mine – and I decided to go for it after a few people mentioned that they loved my writing. It gave me the confidence to write a book! Of course, west London is very entertaining so I chose it as the setting, and I wrote about what I know best: mums in west London.
ES: What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned when it comes to writing a novel, and what advice would you give to anyone starting out now?
ID: The biggest lesson is that if you want to write a novel and be somewhat successful, you will have to really want it and have tenacity. The entire process is really hard work: coming up with an idea, writing the book, getting a publisher and then selling the book. Each step of the way needs so much time and dedication that you have to have a really thick skin and persevere. And it isn’t about making money! It’s about loving to write.
ES: Who are the people, what are the books, places and experiences that have shaped who you are today?
ID: My parents of course influenced me so much. My father has written a book too, so I saw him working on his book for years and it gave me the thought that I could write too. My mother is the empathetic one, which is needed when writing fiction, to see life through other characters’ eyes.
I loved reading when I was younger, so every book I read and loved shaped me as a writer and made me want to write. On weekends, I would wake up and read instead of getting dressed and playing outside. It was what I loved to do. And that has followed me my whole life.
ES: It is exciting times that your debut novel is finally out. So what’s next? What are you most excited about right now?
ID: Well, quite a few people have asked when the sequel is coming out – which is not completely out of the question! But I will need a bit of time to digest everything that has happened with this book. I still have an enormous amount of book promotion to do and it takes up a lot of time! I recently did a live TV interview on London Live, which was my first live TV show, and I was so nervous and excited as the same time!
ES: Lastly, I must say that you’re one of Notting Hill’s famous ‘Yummy Mummies’ and majority of the young girls in Britain (according to a research study done a few years ago) want to be like you when they grow up — get married to a banker and become a yummy mummy, or get married to a footballer and be a WAGs, live in one of London’s posh neighbourhoods, raise beautiful children, travel the world, and all of that. I am sure you’ll have a lot of young girls reading your novel this summer. (Btw, I have nieces in the Philippines who regularly reads my blog and I’m sending them copies of your book). What advice would you give to young girls?
IS: That’s very sweet of you! Not sure I am that famous, but I would like to think that I can inspire girls to follow their dreams. I would tell them that they should find what they truly love to do and to work really hard at it. That’s what really will make them happy in the long run. Not becoming a wag or a banker’s wife. And all the rest will follow.
ES: Thank you so much for your time, Isabella.