‘To the End of the Day’ is Eve Bonham’s first novel, chronicling the lives of two women and their turbulent journey of friendship.
“I only write about what I know,” she says. “My material comes from things that I have done and that I have heard about other people doing. I read very widely and I tap into the huge databank in my head – which is crammed full of the many strange and marvellous things I have seen, experienced, listened to or read about. There’s no shortage of material to draw on.
From the age of about four Eve always knew she wanted to write a book.
“I spent much of my childhood writing plays for my marionette string puppets,” she recalls. “I moved on to school diaries (now hugely embarrassing and very funny) and then short stories during my teens. Everyone tells me that I’m a storyteller and I’m notorious for my tall stories and my lively imagination. I never believe in spoiling a good story for the sake of the truth! – I start with the actual and then illuminate with imagination and invention.”
Born in Guildford, Surrey Eve made a spectacular entrance from day one.
“My parents had gone to see a film and my arrival happened suddenly. My mother was rushed to the nursing home on the top of a hill where some nuns delivered me.
“My family lived in Bracknell, Berkshire where I was raised and I went to school locally, followed by a boarding school in Worcester. I loved Latin and went to study Classics at Trinity College Dublin but soon changed to English. Here I spent four wonderful and zany years and came out with a good BA and an MA.
“My mother ran her own carpet business. She was wild and wonderful fun – always taking us to climb mountains, build rafts, or sail to a local beach for a midnight barbeque. My father was a fine art auctioneer in the family business, Bonhams, in London and commuted there every day for years and years. He was a rather stern Victorian figure who spent most of the weekends playing golf. So I never knew him quite as well -which was sad.”
Having spent four years as a student in Ireland, Eve was keen to see the world. She did a course in teaching English as a foreign language and was offered a job in Bangkok. While there she explored Laos and Vietnam (during the war), Indonesia, Malaysia and Burma and then spent many months backpacking alone in Nepal, India, Afghanistan, Iran and Turkey, finally making her way home to Britain.
It was then her father persuaded Eve to join the family business. She started as a junior and worked her way up, developing a passion for paintings – old masters, Victorian and modern paintings.
Eve’s aunt Helen had been the first-ever female auctioneer, conducting auction sales in the war during air raids when everybody else was sheltering under the tables. Quite a lady! Eve was the next female auctioneer.
Eve also loved making waves quite literally. “I started out in dinghies and then went on to racing in Dragons and Swallows at Cowes. Sailing makes me feel alive and in touch with the elements. The first Round Britain Race, which I did with Clare Francis, was a huge challenge – we were the only all-girl team in the two-handed 2000 mile race around Britain and Ireland and we came third on handicap.
“I then sailed on the Whitbread Round the World race with Clare as a skipper along with ten others as crew. Other ocean races followed including a two-handed Transatlantic. I sail less now since returning to England from France where we lived for fourteen years and raised a family. I have become passionately interested in growing trees and have planted over 200 in and around our garden and surrounding fields. I also love growing neat rows of vegetables!
“I adore the tittle-tattle and little battles of village life and have become involved in a number of local projects and events here in our Dorset village.”
But despite all her many other pursuits, having her first novel published is a huge joy.
‘To the End of Day’ is published by Guild publishing www.bookguild.co.uk and is available from bookshops and online retailers.