Thursday, August 1, 2013

Interview with Jill Dobbe, Author of Here We Are and There We Go: Teaching and Traveling with Kids in Tow

TZ:  Just from the title I know your book is a fun read.  Describe it for us.

JD:  My husband and I are overseas educators and have lived and worked in seven different countries. My book is a travel memoir based on my family's first 10 years of living and working overseas in four countries (Singapore, Mexico, Ghana, Guam) and the crazy, hilarious, and sometimes scary adventures we found ourselves in.
TZ:  What inspired you to write the book?
JD:  My husband actually came up with the idea to write about our adventures and turn them into a book. Around that time I became more interested in reading travel memoirs, which led me to believe that I had one to write myself.
TZ:  Was it hard to remember your adventures or had you kept a journal?

JD:. While we lived in Ghana, Singapore, and Guam, my two kids were very little. I wrote journals so that when they were older they could read them and have an idea of what it was like when we lived together in those places. I also wrote from memory. During the writing of my book, I often emailed my college age kids to ask them if they remembered the name of a certain place or about something specific that happened. While I was writing my book the four of us enjoyed reminiscing together and I was often amazed at the different things my kids remembered that I didn't.
TZ:  Of all the places you lived, which was your favorite?
JD:  I think for each of us our favorite place to live was Ghana. Ghanaians were extremely friendly and we enjoyed the school that we worked at. We were there for five years and our kids completed all of their elementary years there while making friends from all over the world. With Facebook and Twitter now, they have also been able to reconnect with a lot of those same school friends.
TZ:  You must have many mementos from your travels:
JD: Yes, I am a shopper. I loved shopped in West Africa. There was just so much to buy and it was all handmade. I bought carved wood furniture that was built alongside the roads, Kente cloth that was hand woven by Ghanaian men, hand carved masks, and beautiful hand dyed clothing. Ghana was a shopper's paradise for me. When we left we had our things shipped to our home in Wisconsin. On the day they were delivered a huge semi pulled up in front of our lake cottage filled with all my Ghanaian treasures.
TZ:  What sets your book apart from other travel memoirs?
JD. There seem to be a lot of travel memoirs out there about single male and female travelers and their adventures. I haven’t seen very many books written by other overseas educators, but I do look for and read other travel memoirs. The one that comes to mind right now as somewhat similar to my book is Diplomatic Baggage by Brigid Keenan, which is actually a memoir about a trailing diplomatic spouse. I could relate to the different hardships that she experienced in her travels.
TZ:  What is your writing background?
JD. I always enjoyed writing, but as I taught fulltime most of my writing entailed writing letters to parents. Even more than writing, I believe that all the reading that I have done in my lifetime has been even more helpful. I also began reading more books from the genre that I wanted to write in and they gave me ideas to draw upon.
TZ:  Any advice for writers?
JD. My advice to writers is to just keep at it. Write about what you know and what interests you. Read other books in the same genre. Talk about what you're writing with others and ask friends to read what you wrote. I have a young friend who is writing her first memoir and she sends me her writings and I give her tips along with my honest opinion. She tells me that she finds it very helpful and motivating.
TZ:  What are you working on now?
JD. I am working on my second travel memoir now, which is about living and working in overseas schools in Gurgaon, India, Cairo, Egypt, Tegucigalpa, Honduras, and wherever we end up next. In my second memoir, I am trying to include more writings about the schools that we worked in along with our adventures within the countries we were located in. This book is taking longer to write and I am listening to and incorporating advice from other authors.
TZ:  Where is your book available?
JD  Amazon and Barnes & Noble. I am also on Goodreads. My author page is



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