Finding the time…

portraitJust recently, we had a family portrait done. It was so hard to get all our kids looking at the camera at the same time and then also smiling. In fact, to be honest, that particular scenario never happened. The picture I’ve included with this post is the best we could muster out of the thirty shots we took.  Still, I look at this photo and I feel lucky. Life wouldn’t be nearly as interesting without my four little wonders and my tired but ever charming husband.


People often ask me. How do you do it?  With four kids under six years old where do you get the time to write? You must be superwoman.


Yep that’s me.

(laughs hysterically)


Seriously, I claw my way through life by the tips of my fingernails which are definitely chipped rather than varnished.  It certainly feels that way this week with my eldest son under the weather with a stomach bug.  I’ve washed enough clothes and bed sheets in the last few days for a small country town. And you can bet your last cup cake they still won’t be dry tomorrow. Damn, winter is the pits.


Due to all my day time duties, I write mostly at night when the kids usually go to bed. I say “usually” because it’s not always a guaranteed thing though we’re working on that.


But most of all, I look forward to Fridays because that’s when I have help. I have a nanny who looks after the children while I lock myself away. It brings a whole new meaning to the phrase, “Thank God it’s Friday!”  I think many women make the mistake of trying to do it all with out asking for any help at all.  I know because I tried that last year and made myself incredibly sick because of it. It’s simply not possible to be everything to everyone all the time.


So when people ask me what’s your secret, I always say it’s not me, it’s them! As in, all the people who help me, whether it be sympathy or babysitting… every little bit counts.


If My Muse was a Real Person

If my muse we’re a real person, everyone would hate her.


She wouldn’t respond to phone calls, emails or voice messages. If you walked by her in the street, she’d pretend she didn’t see you. And if you tried to wave her down, she’d just walk faster.  Unless of course, she wanted something from you. Then she’d be in your face every five minutes. Constantly and incessantly nagging like child that will just not shut up!


She’d have zero tact.

She’d turn up when you’re naked.

In the shower.

In the middle of dinner.

Whenever she liked really, because apparently, the world revolves around her!


She wouldn’t be a team player. When everyone else is contributing, she’d hang back in silence and then come in at the eleventh hour with her two cents. And when everyone says, “Well, you could have saved us a lot of time and energy if you’d helped out a month ago!”  Her response would be, “Eh.”


She’d go on long trips out of town without notice doing God knows what. Probably selling drugs to teenagers or some other nefarious activity because she’d never tell you about it.  And if you inquired, you’d get told to mind your own business.


And MAN! WOULD SHE BE ANNOYING! If she got invited to a wedding, she’d turn up early and re-arrange the place settings at the tables so that she got to sit next the person she thought was the star of show.


If I had to give her one of my famous construction site nicknames, it would be “Lurch,” because that’s exactly where she’d leave you every time she nicked off.


I know this because that’s where she left me last fortnight.


jeans moneyThen out of the blue, she comes strolling back into my life with a smile on her face and wad of cash in her back pocket.  She’s finally going to pay me back all that money she owes me. But do you think she’ll tell me where she’s been?


Not a chance.




German Cover for “The Girl in Steel-Capped Boots”

Last week, I got an email from my agent saying, “This will put a smile on your face.” And it did. Attached was my first ever foreign cover! Last year, two German publishers bid for the privilege to publish The Girl in Steel-Capped Boots in Germany. We sold to Ullstein who will release my book in March 2014. The Girl in the Hard Hat will follow in 2015.


When I first saw the cover, I was initially quite shocked. It’s very different to my Aussie one.  I’m told it’s all about marketing and catching the eye of their target audience rather than strict accuracy. There is another interesting twist. The title has been changed to,  “Don’t Forget How to Kiss.”


If you said, “Huh?” when you read that, than you’re with me.  Again, I think it’s all about marketing and also the fact that there probably isn’t a direct or short translation of “Steel-Capped Boots” so it easier to change the title altogether. After such a drastic modification, I had to wonder whether the content of the story had been changed as well but my agent said, no. Contractually and ethically, the main story translation must be as direct as possible. So how’s that for a bit of trivia.


Personally, I love this cover. It’s so bright and cheerful. And it’s nice to see a dark haired Lena on the front. I actually originally wrote her as a brunette but changed her hair colour in final drafts to match the Aussie cover.  So it’s great to see her portrayed liked this.


I’d love to go to Germany and see my book on the shelf. Perhaps I’ll just be cheeky and put my hand up for a German tour. How much fun would that be!


Guten Tag


A Letter from Kim Lock

Loretta’s Pen Pals : Letter 6

Becoming a mother, whether for the first time or the fourth time is a life changing experience. There are not many occasions where you can feel both joy and terror at the same time.  The birth of every one of my children has been a monumental event for me.  And I’m sure many women would say the same of their own kids. I’m not surprised that my good friend, Kim Lock decided to write a book about it or that this particular story resonates with so many people. Just got a letter in my mailbox today letting me know it’s on the shelves and ready to buy. Looking forward to this one!



Dear Loretta,


How are you? Congratulations on The Girl in The Hard Hat — it’s fabulous! If it weren’t for children needing nappies changed, Vegemite sandwiches made, or train tracks wrestled into place, I would have devoured it in one sitting…


As I sit down to write to you, autumn is breathing a chill into the air. I’m surrounded by slabs of bench-top off-cuts, half-unpacked boxes and a litter of carpentry tools. We’ve recently moved to our run-down ‘renovators delight’ in the gorgeous Barossa Valley, and it seems we can’t decide what to do first—rebuild the kitchen, or unpack. So we’re doing both at once.  As a result, neither is being done with any real haste!


As much as I love Adelaide, the born and bred country girl in me is delighted to be back in the fresh eucalypt scented air, free of the city buzz. Despite the fact that the backyard I can see through the window (whose frames blister with peeling, decades-old paint) is a serious OH&S hazard as it doubles as a renovator’s dumping ground, I feel so lucky to be nestled our very own delicious slice of South Australia.


Speaking of delicious slices of Australia, I’m off to Darwin next weekend to promote my brand new novel, Peace, Love and Khaki Socks. Can you believe the publication date was yesterday? Where did all that time go?


With my debut novel now hitting bookshelves, I am finding the need to pinch myself. After all that writing and rewriting, searching, waiting and hoping for a publisher, then more rewriting … it hasn’t really sunk in that the book is actually out—it’s a real book! It’s taken about three years from beginning the first draft to now—but I think in reality this book has been more like 30 years in the making. Now, every day there is something new to do, reviews to read, questions to answer. Reaching readers in a fast-paced and crowded industry means I’ve been thrown into the world of PR overnight. It’s nerve-wracking and exhilarating all at once, isn’t it?


PLKS_coverPeace, Love and Khaki Socks is the story of one woman’s journey through an unexpected pregnancy. As Darwin’s monsoon season gathers in the tropical atmosphere, twenty-four year old ‘Army wife,’ Amy Silva, struggles to reconcile her pregnancy with a haughty obstetrician and a whole lot of peeing. As a tropical cyclone threatens, Amy shocks everyone with a decision to homebirth. It’s a funny, shocking and heart-warming tale of one woman’s search for peace.


It was my own journey through an unexpected pregnancy that inspired this story. Through my pregnancies I read many other women’s stories, and I discovered a whole world of pregnancy and childbirth that we don’t often hear about, or read about. It was this often unheard tale I was drawn to tell.


Well, the kids are exclaiming that their TV show has finished, thusly ending my time at the keyboard.


Take care, and keep writing!
Kim xo







How I got to Half Way

HalfwayWell, it’s official. I am halfway through, “The Girl in the Yellow Vest” and very excited to be. Just sent off the first half to my publisher yesterday. There’s a lot of comedy in this one and I’m just loving writing it.  Getting to the middle was definitely a milestone for me and I’m breathing a lot easier now that I’m over the hump. And what a hump it was!


The first half is always the hardest. It was the same with Boots and Hard Hat.  As I don’t plot my books, it’s really hard to know if the story is going to be any good until I get to fifty per cent.  Actually, I usually have a crisis around the 40 000 word mark because I know it has to be better!


In my last book, I had a lot of problems with Gavin. This time, it was my heroine Charlotte, who was giving me grief. I wanted her to be strong, gutsy and a fighter but I’d given her such a crippling internal conflict that I couldn’t make her stand up for herself without all her baggage standing in the way. So just before I hit halfway I had to go back and change it all. Not completely but a good solid tweak. The problem with the way I write is that I don’t know what road to take until I’ve taken the wrong one first which is a rather frustrating methodology.  With the first couple of books I wasn’t sure whether I had a process, now I’m pretty sure I do.

This is my process.


Step 1: Do a crap version

Step 2: Panic

Step 3: Eat chocolate

Step 4: Eat more chocolate

Step 5: Realize a re-write is needed

Step 6: Procrastinate and try to talk self out of re-write as it’s a lot of work and do you really, really, want to be doing that when the kids are on school holidays, your husband is sick as a dog and the cleaner has taken a month off to go visit her mum in Thailand. Hello!

Step 8: Do the re-write

Step 9: Marvel at shiny new MS and wonder why I didn’t do it this way in the first place.


So I guess next year, I’ll just pre-buy the chocolate.

Onto the next half!

Happy Reading.