Jun 21, 2015

Australia Week: An Interview With Kendra Smith

1. Could you tell a bit more about yourself?

Hi there, Suze, thank you for having me! I’ve got dual Australian-British nationality, live in Surrey with my husband and three boys who never hang up wet towels. I was born in Singapore but then somehow found myself in boarding school in Scotland. I’ve lived on and off in Australia for 10 years, but currently live in the UK. I’ve been lucky enough to work on some fun magazines like Cosmopolitan, and OK! plus freelance on many more. Jacaranda Wife is my first novel and I’m well underway with my second.

2. Katie and her family emigrate to Australia, you've done that as well from what I can see from your website. You described the whole process so realistically, is the book besides a beautiful fictional story also a story to support women who are in the same situation?

Well, I hope so. Yes, it’s as realistic as I could make it as I understand the wrench that leaving ‘home’ creates. However, I’m hoping that the novel also helps people to ask: ‘Where is home?’ And, in the end, it’s friendships and relationships which will pull you together.

3. What do you miss most about Australia? And how was it when you first arrived?

I’ll answer the second part first if that’s OK. I actually first went to Australia straight after university with the idea I’d make a few cappuccinos as a waitress then head home. In fact, I ended up staying for a few years and working in magazines. I loved it. It was a great time, and Sydney is an incredibly beautiful, vibrant city with a lot to offer.

What I miss most is probably the sunshine. I say ‘sunshine’ because I don’t miss the sweltering heat! There’s nothing quite like that feeling when the back of your legs stick to the car seat in sweat! I do miss the oceans and running by the beach. I did a 1km charity ocean swim while living there – something I’d probably never do in the freezing UK sea! (And of course, we’ve build up some wonderful old friends there whom I miss too.)

4. You've lived in many different countries, what do you call home?

Ah, tricky one! (see above!). ‘Home’ for me is where my husband and family are in many ways. However after moving around so much I feel that it might be wrong to seek ‘home’ in one place. I feel very ‘at home’ in Asia as it’s all so familiar to me & love the sights and the smells – especially Singapore and Hong Kong. The UK is home to me at the moment (but because I’m Scottish there are some lively sporting debates when there are international games on like rugby…) but my other home is definitely Australia – where we plan – at some point - to spend some time again.

5. Katie goes through a difficult time, but the book is also hopeful. What would you have advised her and Tom before they decided to leave the UK and go to Australia?

To take a course in spider-elimination & identification! And seek a therapist about cockroach phobia!

6. Any Australian books you’ve enjoyed?

I love Nikki Gemmel’s style - I also read Fat, Forty and Fired by Nigel Marsh which I found very funny. I found Jessica Adams’ story related to me in Vintage Alice, too.

7. I loved Katie's survival instinct. How did you get the idea to let her be like this? And did it take you long to shape her character?

Well, although you want your heroine/protagonist to have a journey to take, you also want them to come out winning in the end. You’d hope the reader wants to cheer them on, so I tried to create someone vulnerable, but ultimately strong. And yes, it takes a while to hone your characters, some bits are there from the start, but you also develop them as you write them.

8. Can we expect more books from you in the future?

Yes! Am half way through my second book, and have a deadline looming, so the house is a mess and there are Eiffel-tower piles of folded laundry around…

Thank you so much for letting me part of Australia week! 



Kendra Smith has been a journalist, wife, mother, aerobics teacher, qualified diver and very bad cake baker. She started her career in Sydney selling advertising space in the late 80s. She has lived and worked in London and Sydney. With dual Australian-British nationality, she currently lives in Surrey with her husband and three children. Jacaranda Wife is her first novel and she is well underway with her second when she’s not burning food. Find her on www.aforauthors.com and kendrasmith.co.uk or follow her on Twitter @KendraAuthor.

1 comment:

  1. I'm liking the sound of this, Kendra. I have relatives in Australia and always fancied the idea of living there. Unfortunately, my massive spider phobia had me thinking maybe not. However, I've now tackled this (cognitive therapy is a wonderful thing!) soooo ... will you need a lodger?? ;) Thanks for sharing, Suze. Really interesting. :) xx


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