the next big thing!

Friday, 12 October 2012

I was tagged to respond to this meme by the gorgeous, multi-talented Ingrid Jonach, whose first YA novel, When the World was Flat (and we were in love), has already secured an international book deal!

What is the title of your book?
Beijing Tai Tai: Life, laughter and motherhood in China's Capital. You can see a rather kooky video of me talking about the book at No, I'm not drunk {just uncomfortable in front of a camera}.

Where did the idea come from for the book?
Life. We were living in Beijing with two small kids and things were consistently amazing, challenging, hilarious and heart-stopping. How could I not catalogue this and whack it in a book?

The idea was also work-related. I was an editor and freelancer for several expat magazines during out stay in the capital, and the articles, columns and blog posts I wrote were perfect fodder for a collection of stories on our four years in China. After adding some of my own, unpublished journal entries and some new material written for specifically for the book - Tai Tai (it means 'wife') was born.

What genre does your book fall under?

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
Oh golly, any supermodel would do. Or a supermodel/brain surgeon.

My son said he would need to be played by Drew Breez {NFL quarterback for the New Orleans Saints} and my daughter said she would have to be played by Edwina Tops-Alexander {Olympian and Australian Equestrian Team rider}. Between the supermodel, Drew and Edwina, I'm not banking on this film becoming a box office hit.

But seriously, I'm kind of in love with Sophia Vergara, so maybe she could play me in the Latino version of the {non-box-office-smashing} film.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Throw a suburban housewife, a work-obsessed husband, a two- and a four-year-old into urban Beijing three years before the Olympic Games, press START and stand back.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
It was written over around three years, and the final components took me about four weeks to organise. It was heavenly filling in the 'gaps' and reliving all the glorious memories. We had NOT expected to fall in love with China but from the moment we arrived, we tripped and fell head-over-heels in love.

No, it wasn't always easy! and neither was putting this book together. Formatting it into a contextual sequence was tough but very rewarding - and I love how the book sits now - in bite-sized pieces that still tell a story but are delicious and small enough to nibble over coffee or whilst breastfeeding at 4am {not that I'm breastfeeding at 4am any more}.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Almost French by Sarah Turnbull — Sarah is also an Australian who found herself falling headlong into the culture of another place.

Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert — my dear friend and author Dee White actually likened Tai Tai to this stunning book - she called it 'the Eat Pray Love for mothers'. Yes, I had a 'moment'.

Any travel book by Bill Bryson — forgive me — I figure this may be the only time my work is likened to one of my greatest literary heroes, but, like Bill, I love to focus on the daily minutiae of foreign places, and I like to think we share this trait in our work.

Who or What inspired you to write this book?
The totally unexpected realisation that I had fallen in love with China.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
You will laugh and you might even cry.
Right - tagging time! I now tag the following lovelies to be part of this meme...

Dee White — friend and author of several books including Letters to Leonardo, word expert on Deescribe, mentor and all-round inspiration.

Kate Forsyth — bestselling author and the brains behind one of my favourite reads this year, Bitter Greens.

Anita Heiss — author, poet, satirist, social commentator, and author of the bestselling Am I Black Enough For You + all-round glamour puss.

And local Canberran authors and friends:

Tracey Hawkins — children's book author and historical fiction writer, whose Max Meets a Monster and Nancy Bentley are faves in our house.

Stephanie Owen Reeder — children's book author, editor, reviewer, historical writer, artiste extraordinaire and fellow NLA-author; her most recent book Saving Grace.

Authors - feel free to join in this meme!

1 comment:

Cathy said...

Dear Tania,
Your book sounds very interesting. I imagine your experiences in China, must have been rather fascinating. I'm an Australian woman who spent 6 years in Italy with my two children (a few months ago we moved to the UK).

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