This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
This is a no-brainer for me. It has to be Allison Pearson’s I Don’t Know How She Does It. (I even have three copies of it: the original hardback with a silver cover, then two paperbacks in pink.) I remember a night after I’d breastfed baby No 2 (circa 2am) and I was sneaking in a quick read of Allison Pearson’s fantastic novel instead of catching up on beauty sleep so I didn’t resemble the Loch Ness Monster the next day. Her book seemed to ‘speak’ to me. I swear she’d written bits of it by using a CCTV camera in my house; it was uncanny. There was a little voice saying to me, through a sleep-deprived blue haze that maybe, just possibly: could you do this book thing, too? But I shoo’ed the voice away. Don’t be ridiculous, I told that voice. I am A Mum now. I separate whites from coloureds and I just love to whizz down the supermarket aisle looking for healthy food!
Really? The truth was that as a journalist I was missing my usual workout with words. I might even have woken my husband to tell him my wonderful idea. I have read articles about other women who would apparently leap onto the keyboard the minute the baby had unlatched from the breast, but in my experience all that usually happened is I’d wander around the house with my maternity bra undone and scare the postman when he came to the door – there wasn’t much of my brain left to form characters and cliff-hangers.
So the whole kit and caboodle of actually writing a book didn’t turn into reality for a few years. I did take some notes, but, usually, Mummy played Lego, or Mummy was busy clearing up vomit from the keyboard after a winding session. Not only that, we moved to Australia and this, coupled with baby No 3, took a bit of time to sort out.However, a year or so later, sitting in a hot and humid room in Sydney, typing away on a keyboard, slowly, very slowly, Jacaranda Wife took its first tiny breath of air. I still had Allison Pearson’s book on my shelf, and I’d marvel at all those words. Suddenly, as my word count grew, I started to believe that the tiny voice I’d listened to all those years ago might have been right after all.
Jacaranda Wife by Kendra Smith is out now.