Today I am delighted to welcome Janice Horton to the blog. In 2014, as empty-nesters, Janice and her husband set off to explore the Caribbean. In 2015, they returned to the UK only to sell their material possessions in favour of travelling around the world. To date they have explored over 50 countries and are still travelling. Today she releases her 13thtitle and her first novel with Harper Impulse, The Backpacking Housewife, I imagine extensively researched
Lisa – thanks for having me on the blog today to talk about my travels and about my new book The Backpacking Housewife. This is a romantic adventure story and a work of fiction but it does feature many fabulous real-life locations I’ve seen for myself and is loosely based on my own travel experiences. As you can imagine, it was a big decision for my husband and I to sell our home and almost everything we owned to travel the world long-term, but five years on and we are still travelling and we have absolutely no regrets. It’s a perfect way of life for us. We’ve always loved to travel. Even during the years when we were bringing up our three boys and renovating our old house in Scotland, we would prioritise saving up for holidays to far-flung destinations, rather than buy new furniture and fittings.
That’s probably why it took us so long to build and complete our ‘dream home’!
Then with the kids grown up, finding ourselves with a fully renovated but empty nest, we decided that slipping into middle-age wearing our slippers by the fireside was a bad idea. We decided we should fly away too to somewhere tropical and live our life in flip-flops instead. So, we sold the house and headed West to explore the islands of the Caribbean, the USA, Canada, parts of Central America, Mexico, the Cayman Islands and the Bahamas. We had the most amazing time and met so many wonderful new friends. Travelling so freely, with just what we had in our backpacks, was exhilarating and more fun than we’d ever dared to hope.
We were soon truly hooked on a nomadic lifestyle of travel and adventure.
So much so that we decided to go back to the UK to visit family and friends and to sell everything we had left: furniture, books, clothes, cars, my husband’s business, van and tools – before taking off again to travel around Asia on a one-way ticket. We flew into Bangkok and then spent the next two years exploring Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, Philippines, Indonesia, Hong Kong and Macao, including many trips to South Korea – where our middle son lives with our daughter-in-law and our grandson.
You can see why I’m never short of travel stories or inspiration for my books.
People have contacted me through social media to tell me I’ve inspired them to travel and to grab life and run with it. That makes me feel really good. A life of continuous travel might not suit everyone but I do believe it is for everyone to try to live the life of their dreams.
Right now, my backpacking husband and I are back in the Caribbean for the summer. We are on an island called Utila. It’s the smallest of the Bay Islands and just off the coast of Honduras. We love it here. It’s our secret find. We are renting a little wooden Caribbean house shaded by a big old mango tree that’s not far away from a perfect white-sand beach. It’s our special place in the world. If you are interested, you can always find out more about the island and about my life here by paying a visit to my website at: www.thebackpackinghousewife.com.
Thanks, Janice, what an exciting adventure!
And onto your forthcoming release, The Backpacking Housewife. Obviously, your travels have taken you all over the world but what made you decide to take your heroine to Thailand?
Having travelled extensively throughout Thailand, and finding it to be a colourful and diverse country, I knew it was ideally suited for my heroine’s adventures in The Backpacking Housewife. It was after spending time in the northern ancient city of Chiang Mai, exploring temples, that I had an epiphany for the theme of the story. And, the month I spent island hopping from Krabi Province in Thailand all the way down to Langkawi in Malaysia, on the Anderman Sea, gave me all the inspiration I needed for the storyline and for Lori’s journey.
Is Lori destined to find a HEA on her journey, or is this novel more about self-discovery?
Essentially this is a novel of self-discovery but it’s also a romance story with the potential for a happy-ever-after. That’s not a spoiler – but a promise – and after getting to know Lori through the pages of The Backpacking Housewife,I know you’ll really want that happy ending for her. We first meet Lori as she arrives in Bangkok. You’ll see she’s an ordinary middle-aged woman, a suburban housewife, exhausted after a long flight, and a woman who just twelve hours before had discovered her husband’s affair with her best friend. What follows is the story of her determined search for a brand-new life and her pursuit of happiness and new purpose. A quest that will take her through Thailand and Malaysia and lead her into the adventure of a lifetime and to that promised happy-ever-after.
This is your 13th novel and you are now published by Harper Impulse. Tell us a little about how your writing career has evolved and any tips you have for writers wanting to progress theirs.
Yes – lucky number 13! Although, title number 12 hasn’t yet been published. I’m planning to self-publish it later this year. I’ve been happily and quite successfully self-publishing for many years. Back in 2004, when I joined the RNA, my first contemporary romance novel was published by a small traditional publisher who folded just as I’d finished writing my second novel. I’ve been self-publishing ever since, but last year, I decided that I’d quite like the chance to work with a mainstream publisher who could help me grow and progress as a writer and expand my reader base. So, it was with book #12 that I approached Charlotte Ledger, Editorial Director of Harper Impulse. I’d met Charlotte several years before at The Festival of Romance and was delighted that she remembered me. Charlotte requested and read my manuscript and said she really loved my writing and the multi-generation story but she didn’t feel it fitted with the Harper Impulse list. It was following this rejection that she approached me directly with a contract to write The Backpacking Housewife. From this experience I can offer a tip to other writers to embrace: a rejection doesn’t mean your story is rubbish or that you are a terrible writer – it could simply mean that it doesn’t suit the publisher’s current list or even that it’s too similar in storyline to another book they have already commissioned? Keep writing. Keep networking. Keep trying!
Thank you again, Janice, for an insight on how real life can inspire fiction and many best wishes with The Backpacking Housewife.
Lorraine Anderson was meant to be making a Sunday roast, not swanning off to Thailand, backpack in hand! But when she finds her husband and her best friend in bed together there’s only one thing to do – grab her passport and never look back! Now, with each mile travelled Lori sheds the woman she once was and finds the woman she was always meant to be. A woman of passion and spirit who deserves to explore the great unknown…and to indulge in the temptation she encounters along the way!
Author Bio:Janice Horton writes contemporary romantic fiction with a dash of humour and a sense of adventure. In 2014, after her children had left home, Janice and her husband set off to explore the Caribbean. In 2015, they returned to the UK only to sell their material possessions in favour of travelling around the world. To date they have explored over 50 countries and are still travelling. Janice is both traditionally and self-published. She now writes for Harper Impulse, the romantic imprint of Harper Collins UK.