The Postcard is one of my favourite reads from author Zoë Folbigg, who also happens to be a great friend. It’s a sequel to Folbigg’s The Note, which is such a gentle story that made all of my worries vanish as I drifted into the imaginary world of its pages. It tells the story of a woman named Maya who notices a new commuter boarding her train to London. Maya finally musters up the courage to pass the man she has been admiring a note to ask him out for a drink—and there the tangled tale really begins.
The Postcard continues with Maya and the man from the train as we follow them on their travels around the world. (I have to note how fantastic a character Maya is. Zoë has based this novel on her real life “with a bit of spice” as I like to say—and it truly makes for an enveloping read). We get more of Maya’s handsome Train Man, and we also get an unexpected mystery sub plot running through the story. I won’t spoil it—I’ll simply say you absolutely must pick up a copy of The Postcard (starting with The Note, if you haven’t read it already) to uncover what I’m talking about.
Nena, Maya’s best friend, also features heavily in the storyline as a secondary character. We watch how her life progresses through the stages of being married and now a mother. While Maya and James are backpacking in Southeast Asia, Nena is back in London, struggling deeply with a new-born. These chapters felt quite raw at times, as they reminded me of how tough being a new Mum can be. I wanted to hug Nena and tell everything would be okay.
As an avid traveller, I loved everything about this book—the characters, the plot, the exotic settings Maya and James backpacked through around the world. Each of the characters felt so authentic—like a real person I could be friends with. In fact, they actually felt like they were real friends of mine by the time I’d finished reading Overall, I just love Zoe’s style of writing and how relatable her characters are. Her books are so incredibly fun and easy to read. You can guarantee you will laugh and enjoy a few hours of well-deserved escapism via heartwarming tales of romance, friendship, and adventure.
Please enjoy this additional Q&A with the author:
How does it feel to base the storyline of your book on your own real life? It’s actually fun, because I can take my own life as inspiration—my loves, passions and travels—but make them all cooler. I exaggerate the things I want to exaggerate for the purpose of fiction, and run away with it. That’s what I love about fiction in general: there are no limits to a writer’s imagination—the challenge is to get the ideas written down in a coherent way!
What was different about writing this book from writing the Note? This book has a lot more travel in it than The Note. It’s the next step in Maya and James’ relationship—they decide to go travelling, so writing the book felt as though I was going on these adventures with them (as in fact I had in the trip with my then- boyfriend, now husband, which inspired it!). So it was fun. I could return to places I’ve loved and visited—India, Vietnam, Thailand, Laos—from my kitchen table, and remember all the sights, sounds and smells of delicious food while I was telling the story.
Which Chapter was the most difficult to write? There is a thread about a missing person, which I found hard to write as that too was inspired by someone I know. A friend who had a mental health breakdown and went missing for a few days. Her outcome was happy in the end—and I don’t want to give any spoilers for the book about what happens to the character in The Postcard—but I wanted to be sensitive and respectful to a situation that was very difficult at the time, and write it thoughtfully.
You tackled some real-life situations that most friendships go through (i.e Nena had a baby and her best friend Maya was not available). How have you managed to juggle your friendship with your new life with ‘Train Man’—and what advice would you give to my readers about friendship and balance? Ooh that’s a good question—I think friendship and balance is something we always have to negotiate, in every stage of life, whether we’re in a relationship or not, because friends hold each other together while some relationships fall. And friendships can fall by the wayside if they’re not nurtured too. So my advice is to treat friendship like a plant that needs love and care. Attention and watering. We all evolve and grow, and I think that if you put effort into friendships then you will strengthen each other.