Americashire: A Field Guide to a Marriage

Americashire: A Field Guide to a MarriagSometimes you pick a book and you find yourself immediately drawn to a character. You know you would be instant girlfriends in real life.  That is how I felt when I began reading Americashire: A Field Guide to a Marriage.  It was like sitting down with author Jennifer Richardson at a cafe or wine bar and catching up with someone I had not seen in awhile.

Americashire is the story of Jennifer’s journey from the US to London and then to rural Cotswold with her British husband where she spent three years living in a village full of characters and customs. Cotswold served as the backdrop for the marital soul-searching that took place as Jennifer and her husband faced decisions about having children and dealing with health issues.

Cotswold Village

Cotswold Village (Photo credit: The Cotswold Guide)

There are great stories about village life that brought me back to my time in France, I wouldn’t call a town behind Geneva “rural” but where I lived definitely felt far away from Paris in more ways than one, and I enjoyed experiencing the quirks of  small town life as I navigated my own expat life.

My French Cotwold

My French Cotwold (Photo credit: Ibaca)

That is one of the reasons why this story resonated with. There were many similarities with Jennifer’s life as an expat as well as her child-free life choices.  I loved her wit and humor and empathized with her experiences.  The book was such a quick read (I loved it!), it left me wondering about the next phases of her life.  Jennifer is back living in the US, and having come “back home” myself, experiencing a whole new set of adjustments, I am sure there could be a book two!

Jennifer RichardsonJennifer was gracious enough to take time out during her WOW-WomenOnWriting blog tour to answer a few questions.

Favorite thing about being an American expat while living in the Cotswolds?

Unlike London, there aren’t many expats living in the Cotswolds, so my nationality was an easy conversation starter. This is a demure way of saying it was fun to get attention for nothing more than the luck of being born in America.

Worst thing about being an American expat while living in the Cotswolds?

Having to answer for every stupid thing any American politician did.

Michelle Hugs the Queen, Sparks Brit-Fit

Michelle Hugs the Queen, Sparks Brit-Fit (Photo credit: Zimbio)

Favorite thing about being a former expat in LA?

Cracking up at the local weathercasters. On the BBC, the reassuring Carole Kirkwood, a slightly round, slightly asthmatic-sounding Scottish woman, delivers the weather. This is generally a sore subject in Britain, so my theory is you need someone motherly breaking the news. In L.A., the cheerier task of delivering the perma-sunshine forecast is left to the perma-tanned Dallas Raines.

Worse thing about being a former expat in LA?

The dearth of pubs, by which I really mean a place where you can strike up a conversation with a stranger without getting a funny look.

British Pub

Photo credit: British Beer Company

Favorite food memory from your time in the UK?

That would be Sunday lunch—which is a British national pastime and gets a whole chapter in my book, Americashire: A Field Guide to a Marriage—at our friend Lucy’s house in the village of Ablington. She makes a mean pheasant pie, and her lunches typically last well into the evening.

Pheasant Pie

How has travel impacted your life?

I like to consider myself a natural-born traveler, but this may have something to do with the fact that I grew up with a Pan Am pilot for a father. At my request, I flew from Miami to L.A. on my own at the age of five to visit my grandparents. I think the fact that my parents were willing to go along with this without acting neurotic in the slightest – this was a different era of air travel – instilled a spirit of independence in me that stuck.

Little girl flying

Growing up with a pilot dad also taught me how to go with the flow. Each summer, my mother would instruct my sister and me to pack for a variety of climatic outcomes—I trace my enduring love of the cardigan to this—then cart us off to Miami airport to see how far we could get on standby. Most the time we ended up in London, but we never landed knowing where we were going to stay. I remember spending a lot of anxious time by the payphone in Heathrow while my mother called hotels. While I am an adaptable traveler, I do now insist on booking accommodation ahead of time.

pan-am-pilot-1966

Photo credit: The Society Diaries

And finally, there’s a Steve Jobs quote I like that goes like this:

“Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things. And the reason they were able to do that was that they’ve had more experiences or they have thought more about their experiences than other people.”

Travel Quote

Obviously travel is only one way to collect experiences, but, since I like it so much, I like to think it’s helped make me a more creative person.

Your book was born from your blog, I do a traveler interview series called Traveler Tuesday and I always ask and like to ask you: What is one blogging tip or lesson that you have learned along the way that you can share with my readers?

One thing that I learned in the process of turning my blog into a book is, quite simply, that a blog is not a book. Although the source material was in the blog, the real work was in crafting the narrative arc. So, to bring this back to a tip for blogging, I would say not to fuss too much. It’s more important to capture your reflections in as they happen. The shaping can come later.

Thanks Jennifer!

Americashire was a fantastic read and is available now from She Writes Press. You can find it in all the usual places including Amazon. And you can find more of Jennifer online, on Facebook and Twitter as well as Pinterest.

How about you?  Read any good books lately?

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About Andi Fisher

I'm a lifestyle blogger focused on travel and food. A marketing gal who gave up my job to travel around the United States in an RV with my hubby. I'm now settling into the Portland area where I'm looking for my next career adventure! I love to travel via my stomach. Eating, seeking out local artisans and features to share. I've got more than 26 years of experience in marketing focused on content, social media, and direct marketing and I've mentored many bloggers, old and new.

Comments

  1. Oh wow the book sounds absolutely fabulous!

  2. Saundra Bowers says:

    The picture of Cotswold Village makes me want to escape in a good book that would bring me to the village. Also the picture of the pheasant pie looks like wonderful comfort food!

  3. chrissy c says:

    The book sounds great and I love that you got to ask the Author some questions! I’m always looking for good books to check out so I’ll have to read this one next!

  4. ellen beck says:

    I liive vicariously through people who are fortunate to have been out off the country. I have never even been on an airplane at all. I need to read her book it sounds greeat!

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