Katie and Tom’s marriage is in trouble. As is their bank account. So when Tom tells Katie that they need to talk, she knows it must be about one of two things. Either he has found out about her kiss with her best friend’s husband, or they are in even worse debt than she thought. What she was not expecting was for him to tell her that his boss is sending him to Australia. Permanently. But the home-loving mother of two from London realises it might just be what they need to save their marriage. Trouble is, she doesn’t much like heat, can’t swim and hates spiders. Does Australia provide the spark they need? And which side of the globe will she decide to call home?
How did my writing start?
I think I can honestly say that writing has been in my blood for years. As I stapled my fingers together instead of the school magazine, aged 14, I knew I wanted to write. I’d just found out that the glossy school magazine was closing. So I took it upon my 14 year old self to do it alone. I’d write, edit and draw – yes, draw, no iphones to take pictures in those days – my way into ‘publishing’; a pupils’ version of the magazine.
It worked. I gave birth to a magazine in the secretaries’ office amidst the photocopier jamming and plasters (see stapled fingers, above) and my writing career began. After that it was the university newspaper, followed hot on the heels by various magazines, from trade titles to, finally, women’s magazines, where I found my niche writing features and editing copy. It was where my heart lay. Or did it?
There was one night (breastfeeding, circa 2am) that I was reading Allison Pearson’s fantastic novel I Don’t Know How She Does It – that I remember thinking, through a sleep-deprived blue haze that maybe, could I do this book thing too? I might even have woken my husband to tell him my wonderful idea.
The whole kit and caboodle, however, didn’t turn into reality for many years as I had tiny infants who insisted that Mummy play Lego, or vomit over the keyboard as I tried to wind them, so I gave up for a bit. But not for too long. After child number three was born, and by which time we were in Australia, I wondered if I could distil these thoughts, ideas, frustrations and, to be honest, the sheer volume of traffic in my head into something of a book. And I did. As the baby slept, I typed. After all, there’s only so much creativity in cutting ham sandwiches into wonderful, exciting and you-will-damn-well-eat-this shapes, isn’t there?
What resulted – after quite a steep learning curve of editing, manuscript reviews and re-writing, was my first novel, Jacaranda Wife.
# # #
About the Author
Kendra Smith's writing career had its roots in magazine journalism: she has worked for Cosmopolitan in Sydney and OK! Magazine and the BBC's Eve in London. She has written for Woman & Home, Delicious and New Woman and had a regular humorous parenting column in Prima Baby and Junior. She has also remained very calm whilst editing multi-stage customer magazines in contract publishing. In the brief moments of boredom between emigrating to Australia and back again and moving house five times with three children, she wrote her first book. Kendra was born in sunny Singapore and educated at boarding school in sub-zero Scotland, culminating in a degree from Aberdeen University. She has lived in Australia three times: the last time with her family of three boys under eight. With dual Australian-British nationality she currently lives in Surrey with her husband and children. Jacaranda Wife is her first published novel and she is watching the word count grow in book #2. Find our more at her website www.kendrasmith.co.uk and find Kendra on Facebook and Twitter @KendraAuthor.