Interview by Nancy Todd
A few olive and almond trees cluster around the house Fiona Watson lives in ten minutes outside of Seville. Two kids, a Spanish husband, one cat and dog, interrupt her work on her blog The Scoopettes love: http://scribblerinseville.com/ In addition to her work with http://www.andalucia.com/ Fiona, a writer for 20 years, has published in Spain, the UK, and the States. She has a lot of sass on her blog, loves Spain and doesn’t miss the weather in London, her ex-home.
Please describe your role with your blog.
On my blog, www.scribblerinseville.com I write about my experiences of living in Seville as an expat, a mother and a writer. It’s neither a travel blog, nor an expat blog, nor a mummy blog, but somewhere in between. Local customs, travel, politics, religion, family matters, and the challengers of living abroad in a foreign culture, are all topics that I’ve covered.
l. What is the most satisfying part of your work?
Seeing the final version of a blog post, whether it’s a travel article somewhere I’ve been, illustrated with my photos, or an opinion piece. I spend a long time putting each one together – probably too long! Also, getting comments from readers is always very satisfying – and it’s so much quicker and more direct with a blog than with conventional print media, where it was about sending in letters – you can have an instant dialogue with your readers. I love that.
2. Why did you decide to start your blog?
I’ve been a journalist for 20 years, and I had been aware of the need to have a blog for some time, as my “shop window” – I hadn’t been organized enough to have my own website. I was aware of the amount and variety of material (photos, words, ideas) I had accumulated from my years of travelling around Andalucia which would be ideal for a blog – local fiestas, family outings, expat musings. Also, I was already writing a blog for the website I work for (Andalucia.com), and while they are very flexible about topics, they don’t like me being political. And I do like to be political! So this was the ideal opportunity to say exactly what I wanted.
3. What overlooked gems in your region would you recommend to visitors?
Cadiz is a wonderful city, with its own character and great seafood. The beach at Mazagon is very quiet and family-friendly, with some excellent restaurants. And for easy walks with kids in an unspoiled natural environment, I love the Doñana Park visitor centres, which have wooden boardwalks (good for buggies), information about local wildlife, and bird-hides – heaven for children to run about safely, not so great if you’re there to see the fowl, as they tend to flee the screams of excitement!
4. How do you see the internet in the future affecting your blog?
Hopefully, as more people get into social media (I’m a big tweeter), and I write more posts on different topics, I will get more visitors, and maybe even some advertising, though I will never allow that to affect my editorial independence. I know I need to be more SEO-savvy to get more readers.
5. What are your favorite foods?
Coquinas (baby clams), barbequed dorada (gilthead bream), arroz con mariscos (rice with seafood), gambas al ajillo (prawns in garlic) – can you see a theme emerging here? - salmorejo, and anything with dark chocolate. Not keen on Spanish puddings – they seem to be all sugar, eggs and cream.