The Interview: Bookbag Talks to Jeremy Bullard

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The Interview: Bookbag Talks To Jeremy Bullard


Summary: We were completely drawn into Jeremy Bullards story of his 33,000-mile and fourteen-country trip through the Americas. When we had the chance to talk to him we had quite a few questions - and we particularly wanted to know about a motorbike called Fred.
Date: #
Interviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee

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We were completely drawn into Jeremy Bullards story of his 33,000-mile and fourteen-country trip through the Americas. When we had the chance to talk to him we had quite a few questions - and we particularly wanted to know about a motorbike called Fred.

  • Bookbag: When you close your eyes and imagine your readers, who do you see?

Jeremy Bullard: I‘ve never imagined a reader! Some one who likes to learn new things, who is interested in the world and what might happen if you spend a lot of time on your own!

  • BB: Now, there's one question which anyone who reads the account of your 33,000-mile, fourteen-country trip through the Americas will be desperate to ask. How's Fred? We need details please!

JB: Unfortunately, Fred is currently unwell and about to go into hospital for a heart transplant. His engine is worn out and I acquired a donor today. Although it would be far easier to get the donor though an MOT, I'm going to spend far longer removing all the worn bits from Fred, and replace them with the much newer parts from the donor: his heart, the front forks, rear shock absorber, both wheels and a few more besides...

  • BB: We'll be thinking about him, Jeremy.

In a previous professional life I had a great deal to do with Chartered Accountants and I can never imagine you fitting the mould. What tempted you into the profession?

JB: I like numbers and am er, good at them.

  • BB: You're not alone in making an unsuitable career choice (and many people don't have the courage to admit it) - why do you think this happens?

JB: I’m not sure it’s unsuitable. It's been good financially, but not so good socially.

I guess the main reason is a lack of knowledge of what's available in the areas one is interested in. Knowing what areas I'm interested and passionate about. Pressure to conform to parental expectations.

  • BB: I can certainly empathise with that, Jeremy. Do we lack the courage to do what we want or do we succumb to other pressures?

JB: I’m sure some do but you need to know what you want to do. I tried to become a thatcher but it was a closed shop. I didn’t know enough about what was available at that age and my interests weren’t as defined as they are now.

  • BB: You regularly worried that you were spending your future in the course of your trip. Looking back do you have any regrets about the money you spent and - more personally - has the expenditure really had any impact on the way that you live your life now?

JB: No, I don't regret it for one second. I’ve never thought about the impact on now. I generally don’t think about ‘what ifs?' I‘d have paid off my mortgage if I hadn’t gone so my income would be higher, but then again I‘d probably work less as I wouldn’t need the money so my income might have been even lower!

Thinking about it now. Yes it has - not that I have less money because of what I spent, but that I need less money because of what I’ve seen.

  • BB: I can't think of a better way of summing up the trip.

Before I started reading Life On The Line I had a look at the map and I had preconceptions about which countries would appeal to you most. I'll confess that I got Costa Rica completely wrong. Did the places you visited live up (or down) to your preconceptions or were you surprised by what you found?

JB: Don’t rely on me! You might find CR to be completely different - It depends on where you go, what you do and whom you meet.

No, I wasn’t surprised because I don’t think I had any preconceptions or expectations. I was wildly excited to be in Peru and was told Argentinian meat was the best in the world.

  • BB: How did the trip change you as a person? Given the opportunity and the knowledge of the dangers which you could encounter, would you do it again?

JB: I returned bursting with confidence and contentment. Much more at ease and sure of myself. And an ability to put my ego aside.

I’d love to do it again but not on my own. - though that may change... There were no dangers. No more than going to France. It’s just a question of managing risk. I’m sure there are places in the UK you wouldn’t go at night, so you just use the same rules wherever you are.

  • BB: Where and how do you write? With or without music? Which parts of it do you enjoy and what would you rather not have to do at all?

JB: I wrote in my shed in the garden. Everyone should have a shed. My commute to work was walking down the path into my shed. No music. Silence is essential.

I loved the research - I can go off at tangents for hours - taking notes, putting sections together, restructuring, flowing. Honing, polishing and a swift cut of the editor’s knife and it’s gone! Writing is hard. Day after day alone in ones head.

  • BB: What are you reading at the moment? What's your best book ever?

JB: I’m reading Marling Hall by Angela Thirkell. A very funny writer, who wrote a book a year for 35 years. My best book? Lord of the Rings.

  • BB: You've got one wish. What's it to be?

JB: A wand to make wishes come true. But more than one wish may not be a good thing.

One wish? - to be happy.

  • BB: What's next for Jeremy Bullard?

JB: Paying off my mortgage and hoping happiness finds me along the way.

  • BB: We'll hope for that too, Jeremy and thanks for chatting to us.

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