By Melissa Patafio
**Giveaway is now closed**
Robyn Harding grew up in a logging town in northern British Columbia. She started writing at a young age and eventually went on to study English Lit, journalism, and marketing after moving to Vancouver. She worked in advertising for several years and eventually left to raise her two children and work as a freelance copywriter. Robyn’s latest book “Chronicles of a Midlife Crisis” gives us both sides of a marriage that has broken up after sixteen years. I had the good fortune to interview Robyn and find out a little bit more about her and I hope you all enjoy learning more about her too. Additionally, Robyn has two copies of "Chronicles..." to give away to some lucky readers in the US and Canada.
What inspired you to write about a marriage breaking up after 16 years?
A lot of people around me were getting divorced. It struck me that marriages go through phases and my peers and I were entering a new one. Our kids were getting older and more independent. When parenting is less consuming, it allows you to look at your relationship and question if it’s really working. Luckily, my marriage still is – but I thought it would be interesting to write about a couple who realizes it’s not.
Usually Chick Lit stories are strictly from the female point of view, why did you choose to write both sides?
I wanted to challenge myself and try writing in a different voice. I’d just written a screenplay with a male lead, so I was already in that headspace. I also think it’s interesting (and hilarious) how differently men and women can view the same situation. It’s the He Said/She Said scenario. It creates so much drama and comedy.
Did you face any challenges while writing “Chronicles”?
The male voice took some work. To write those chapters, I really had to put myself into a guy’s head. I’d get my husband to reread the chapters to make sure they sounded authentic. He’d give me helpful advice like: “Guys don’t say pee. They say piss.” I was also writing about a sullen, angry teenage girl, while my own kids were much younger. I had to channel my sullen, angry teenage self for that one.
Do you ever come to the United States for book tours?
I wish! I haven’t done a US book tour, but I often visit friends in New York and LA. I also live near the Washington border, so I love going to Seattle and Portland. When I’m there, I visit bookstores and move my book to the front shelves. It’s not quite a tour, but…
Where is your favorite place to vacation with your family?
My husband is from Perth, on the West Coast of Australia. It just might be the furthest geographic point from our home in Vancouver, but it’s such an amazing city. It’s on the Indian Ocean and has beautiful beaches, amazing architecture, fragrant gum trees and interesting wildlife. I also really enjoy visiting my in laws. (Maybe you appreciate your in laws more when they live on the other side of the world?)
How did you celebrate when your first book was published?
I had the best book launch party ever! When I got married, I had a tiny wedding (15 guests), so the book launch party was like the wedding I never had. I invited everyone – relatives, high school friends, new friends, work colleagues… Even my grandma was there. We drank champagne and danced till three in the morning (not my grandma). My brother in law made a huge cake that looked like the cover of “The Journal of Mortifying Moments”. I ate about half of it for breakfast the next day.
How do you like to spend your time when you aren’t writing or taking care of your children?
I jog… but that’s not really what I like to do. That’s more, what I have to do so I can eat a lot of chocolate. I enjoy going out for lunch with friends, reading and watching movies and TV (Mad Men, Breaking Bad, and True Blood are favorites). I also live in one of the most beautiful cities in the world, so it’s nice to walk along the beach, hike, or ski in the winter. And I volunteer once a week with special needs kids. It is incredibly rewarding.
Any plans for another book? If so, can you tell us a bit about it?
I’ve been very busy developing “Chronicles of a Midlife Crisis” into a television pitch. I’m also working on a romantic comedy screenplay. I will write another novel though. I just have to come up with a fabulous idea…
Did you personally identify with any one specific character in “Chronicles”?
In some ways, I can relate to my main character, Lucy. Like her, I’m a working mom – and I can only imagine how tough it would be if my husband suddenly decided to leave me. But Lucy’s also very driven and concerned with appearances, and that’s not me at all. In a strange way, I can also relate to Annika, the “other woman”. Annika’s a complete whacko, but I can empathize with how difficult it must be to date a man with so much baggage.
How did you meet your husband?
In my early-twenties, I went backpacking through Europe with a friend. We were on a Greek island when I met this very nice Australian guy. We fell for each other right away, and I thought, “This is fun. I’m having a holiday fling!” That was fifteen years and two kids ago. We always say that our relationship is ‘a holiday fling that got out of hand’.
Special thanks to Robyn for this interview and for providing the books to give away.
How to win "Chronicles of a Midlife Crisis":
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US/Canada residents only. Giveaway ends Monday, September 27th, at 6 pm EST.