I went along to the launch of When My Husband Does the Dishes recently in Sydney and was in awe of the number of people there who knew KerriÂ SackvilleÂ B.P. (Before Print) – i.e. her Twitter followers and blog readers, who came to the launch in person, as well as the more traditional launch crowd of friends, family and publishing types.
It really says something for today’s connected society that someone can have such a wide network and, at least in Kerri’s case, that the online world and the offline world can meet in one place at one time to talk about one book. I had the opportunity to ask Kerri a few questions about that connection between her worlds and here’s how she sees it.
Diane: Although I love reading print books, I also love reading blogs – though the styles are very different. What did you find was different, or the same, when writing for print compared to online?
Kerri: When an idea for a blog postÂ comes to me (which is very often as I’m climbing into bed, much to the disappointment of my husband) I have to go and write it down immediately. I write it quickly and in one go, do a quick check for typos, and hit ‘post’ or ‘save’. I don’t agonise over my blog posts; after all,Â people read them, have a giggle or a think, and then move on. But my book had to be perfect, or at least as perfect as I could get it. So I wrote and edited and tweaked and adjusted until I felt it was absolutely right. Books are forever.
Diane: What was your main inspiration for getting your writing into print? Is it for the sense of permanence?
Kerri: MyÂ main motivation was that I had something to offer that just wasn’t possible in a blog post – an honest, funny, tell-all memoir ofÂ marriage and motherhood. But yes, the permanence was important too. You can’t sign a blog post.
Diane: Have you thought of going into other avenues? Like podcasting, or radio?
Kerri: Sure. I love getting in front of a microphone or camera. About the only thing I’ve completely ruled out is Masterchef.Â And Dancing With The Stars. No-one wants to see me in that.
Diane: Being a married mum of young kids myself I could see so much of my reality in your book but the overwhelming question that occurred to me over and over again was “but if we all know it’s like this why would we want to read about someone else just doing the same stuff as me?” … so now I put that to you. What do you think will make those busy modern mums buy, let alone read, your book?
Kerri: But we don’t all know it’s like this. We read so much about falling in love (or, alternatively, breaking up), but almost nothing about what it’s like actually living with the same person day after day, year after year – seeing them on the toilet, managing finances with them, having sex with them, dealing with their crazy habits, let alone making other, smaller people with them. We’re not prepared for how mundane and irritating and frustrating and marriage and motherhood can be, because a lot of this stuff just isn’t talked about. The book has barely hit the shelves and I’ve been inundated with emails and tweets from people saying ‘Oh my god, you’ve been spying on me!’ and telling me how much better they feel to know that they’re not the only one who wants to smother their husband when he clears his throat in the middle of the night.
Diane: I know my hubby picked up the book and read it cover to cover after I fell asleep. He even said it helped him understand me and “the shopping thing”. Do you expect this book to have the same effect in other marriages?
Kerri: It already is! It’s one thing I really didn’t anticipate, that so many men would grab the book from their partners and read it (often on the toilet, which is kind of odd to think about). I’d actually written the book for women to know that they’re normal, and to be able to feel better about their own challenges by laughing at mine. But for a man to learn that we all need to engage in endless personal grooming and we all need to shop and we all fantasiseÂ about other men…. well that can make a huge difference to a relationship.
Diane: What would you say to a bride-to-be or mother-to-be who asked you for advice? Or a husband / father / -to-be?
Kerri: For any person getting married I would say this: the honeymoon wears off, and then you’re just left with someone you love, but who is going to annoy the hell out of you for much of the time. And that’s OKAY. It’s how it’s meant to be. Life isn’t moonlight and roses. For that, we have our fantasies of Simon Baker.
For a parent-to-be I’d say: There is no right way of doing things! Until every unique baby comes with its own manual as to how to raise this particular human being, we’re all flying blind. Do your best. And remember – happy hour starts at five.
Diane: And does that mean there could be more books to come – a series from betrothal to bedridden perhaps?
Kerri: There are definitely more books, but I’m laying off marriage and motherhood for a while. (The topics. Not the real things.)
Diane: Is signing lots and lots of books still as much fun as you thought it would be?
Kerri: It. Is. HEAVEN.
Available Now: Random House RRP $32.95