February 2011


Kim Wright’s debut novel Love in Mid Air was released in 2010 (this month in the UK) and she is currently working on a sequel based around one of the characters. She has been writing about travel, food and wine for more than 25 years and lives in North Carolina. You can find out more at her website

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  1. 1. How did your own divorce inspire you to write Love in Mid Air?

    After I got separated I started looking around for books about divorce and I didn’t find many that struck me as realistic. Most of them implied that getting divorced was just a matter of dumping the old “bad guy” and moving on immediately (or at least within 250 pages) to the new “good guy”. You know the type – the heroine goes away to a remote little town to lick her wounds, and around chapter three she runs into a character I call the “hunky handyman”, some handsome brute who shows up to fix the steps of the ramshackle beach cottage she’s borrowed from a friend. She fights her attraction to this seemingly inappropriate man throughout the whole book and realizes at the end he’s her destiny. Then it’s revealed he’s not merely the hunky handyman, he’s also a PhD in French Literature on sabbatical. These books struck me as ridiculously reductive, almost insulting when you’re considering a major life step like dissolving a marriage. Divorce is a little more complex than that!

  2. 2. How did the book deal come about?

    I searched over two years for an agent because I was stupidly determined to do it on my own. After all, if a book has merit it will naturally sell, right? Right. I finally broke down and asked a friend to introduce me to her agent and we hit it off immediately. He sent it out to editors and three of them bid on it within six weeks. After two years of absolutely nothing happening, it was, to put it mildly, a bit of a whirlwind. I spoke to all three by phone and ultimately chose the one who I felt would do the best job of launching the book.

  3. 3. What is the biggest lesson you have learnt from your publishing experiences?

    Accept help when it’s offered. This is a business of relationships and networking is not the same thing as using people – especially if you’re willing to help others over the fence when their time comes.

  4. 4. What is your favourite scene in the novel?

    Probably the second to the last chapter, where Elyse and Phil confront each other on the church steps. It’s the first scene I wrote, ironically, although it’s the climax of the book. One of my quirks is that I write out of sequence.

  5. 5. Which of the women do you most identify with?

    Everyone thinks it’s Elyse, since her story most closely mirrors the events of my own life, but, as my son astutely pointed out, I share the same initials with Elyse’s best friend Kelly. Actually … I identify with everyone in the book, male and female. You have to, to some degree, because every thought they have and every piece of dialogue they speak comes from your own head. They say every character in a dream is a symbol for some part of the dreamer and I think that’s true for novels too. Each character is a part of me.

  6. 6. How is the story different from the classic married-woman-considers-affair plot?

    I didn’t want to make Elyse blameless and her husband a total lout. So I tried for a bit of moral ambiguity. Sometimes she’s easy to identify with and at other times she can be so self-obsessed even I want to shake her. And Phil, while certainly not a prince of a husband, certainly has his sympathetic moments.

  7. 7. Tell us about the sequel.

    Originally in Love in Mid Air, Elyse’s best friend Kelly is a point of view character. That got dropped as I revised the novel and decided it was better to have Elyse describe all the action, but I loved Kelly’s voice and always felt she was a little cheated. So now she gets her own book. Kelly is the heroine and point of view character in the sequel, which is set ten years in the future, when the women are on the verge of turning fifty. So it’s a loose sequel ... there’s a different main character and a significant jump in time. But her older husband has just died, leaving Kelly a young widow and she’s faced with the task of reinventing herself, a quest that leads her into a ballroom dance studio. I’m a competitive ballroom dancer myself and always thought the studio would be a great setting for a story – such drama! – but essentially the second book is, like the first, about a middle-aged woman taking a chance on a very different sort of life. I think my theme as a writer is second chances.

  8. 8. Has being an author taught you anything about yourself?

    When your book comes out, you feel so exposed. One of my writer friends lives in a small town in Vermont and she said “You write it and you sell it and you know that people are going to read it, but on the release date you wake up that morning and it suddenly hits you that it’s not just going to come out all over the world, it’s also going to come out in your home town.” And it’s true. Writers want readers but we also tend to be an introverted lot. Most of us feel a bit “outed” when the book is finally in the stores. But I learned I can survive that. There are stories I want to tell so badly that I’m willing to deal with the discomfort of having people come up to me in the grocery and say “Did you really do all that stuff in bed?”

  9. 9. What is the best/worst thing about being a travel writer?

    The best thing is the wonderful places you get to go and the things you see – I’ve had some transcendent moments in places like South Africa, and Korea, and Iceland. The worst thing – and I realize this makes me sound pathetic – is leaving my dog, Otis. When he sees an open suitcase on the floor he goes and sits in it and looks at me with big accusatory eyes.

  10. 10. What advice would you give your 12-year-old-self?

    First of all that ninety-nine percent of the things you’re worried about will never happen, so relax. Secondly that ninety-nine percent of these people whose opinions you care about will not be a part of your adult life, so don’t try so hard to be liked. Lastly, a shag haircut is rarely a good idea.

  11. 11. Which books/authors have had the biggest impact on you?

    In the modern era, I admire Tom Perrotta, Nicole Krauss, Lorrie Moore. In terms of the classics, I love Jane Austen, Joseph Conrad, and F. Scott Fitzgerald.

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