Victoria Fox on why an island setting for her new novel was too tempting to resist…

TEMPTATION ISLAND, the brand new novel by Victoria Fox, is out next month.  In the run up to publication, Victoria shares the real reasons for her island setting…

‘An island is its own world. Bound by water, it is fixed, delineated, a perfect whole, set like a jewel on the cushion of the ocean. Standing on its shores, looking out to a blank horizon, it might be that this is the only place on Earth. It is a private kingdom, a secret fortress: a place where anything can happen.

Is this why islands seduce us? Containment is a primal instinct, the urge to occupy a manageable, knowable state. Islands imply safety, but they also imply danger. As children we see islands as things that can be possessed, or bought, or ruled: the coveted castle. For adults this translates to ultimate exclusivity, a getaway empire all our own. Islands equal power.

Power in isolation is a perilous thing. On her own plot, the islander imposes her own systems. Nobody to issue instruction or sentence; nobody comes to judge. Water, blue and deep, as vast and anonymous as the sky, holds her in and holds others out. It keeps at bay, and it keeps from bay . . . Time passes, and soon it is impossible to tell the difference. Autocracy: the definitive island fantasy?

Islands are part of civilisation but also distinct from it. The mainland exists somewhere beyond reach, but like anything that can’t be seen or felt it fast becomes a myth. It would be easy to imagine you were the only thing. What could you get up to; how would you spend your days? What good could come from quarantine, and what evil?

Before it is written, a book is an island. The author arrives with ideas to populate and grow; the imagination colonises, building a stage set according to its rules. Novels, like islands, are an enduring fiction of government and supremacy: a means of control in an otherwise uncontrollable world.

Picture an island, far from anywhere. It is self-regulated, unrestrained and free to do as it pleases. It masquerades as something it’s not, because the truth it is guarding can never be known. Inhabit it with extreme, obscene celebrity; wealth that knows no limits; power and fame beyond even the wildest invention; sex that burns and urges uninhibited. Is it heaven on earth, or a devil’s playground?

Paradise comes at a price. In a culture of excess, where can we go next? When in possession of everything, a blank canvas becomes the only object of desire: it marks a clean slate, a fresh start and a chance to begin again. We return to the island. We write the rules; we devise the philosophy. And then we tempt others to follow us there.’

Follow this link to pre-order a copy of Victoria’s latest book, Temptation Island.

To read more about Victoria Fox and her books, visit her website.

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