Clarissa Gosling moved from the UK to The Netherlands in 2014 with her husband and two children.
1. Why did you move abroad?
We moved abroad because my husband was offered a job in The Netherlands. At the time we had a two-year old son and a six month old daughter. We were keen for them to experience a different culture and to learn a second language from a young age. As his job was a permanent position we chose to live in a smaller town, and to send the children to the local Dutch school, so that we could become part of the local community rather than socialising solely with expats.
2. How do you make a living? Are you a full time writer?
We had already decided I would stay at home after the birth of our second child, which made the decision to move easier as I didn’t need to find a job here too. Since she has started school I’ve decided not to return to work as an academic librarian, the career I had before, and instead am building my author business. I write during school hours and in the evenings, while also managing the household, which doesn’t quite add up to full time.
3. How did you decide to start a book? Did you go through a publisher? Or self-published?
I’ve talked about wanting to write for years, so this is evidence that I’m now actually working on that not just talking about it anymore. In these books I have used my experience to produce something that I hope will help others. I self-published them so that I could have control of the process.
4. Did you blog before writing a book?
I have blogged for many years at clarissagosling.com originally on topics relating to my work as a librarian, then transitioning into life abroad as a family and writing. My books are based on some of what I’d written in my blog, though expanded and generalised.
5. What is your perception of the expatriate book market?
There are a number of books which are very specialised for a specific country, and I wanted to make mine more general. I’m not trying to offer any answers, just give questions and things for the reader to think about in their own situation. There is no one size fits all solution, so I hope that my books will allow the readers to do their own research and come to a considered decision applicable to their family.
6. Which part do you prefer in your book(s)?
I love the covers - Jonas from Fantasy & Coffee Designs has done a fabulous job with them for me.
7. What was the hardest part to write?
Writing about when we first moved here was hard, because I had forgotten many of the details. It was a few years ago now, and I had a baby at the time, so I needed to really think back to what I did when my husband first started work and how I felt then.
8. In addition to your book(s), what other tips would you like to give?
I would really recommend finding a local group, through whatever method you prefer, so that you can meet people and stay in touch. Personally I use facebook, but Meetup, Yahoo groups, and community centres are some of the other options.
9. What advice can you give to other expats who are embarking on a book project?
Go for it! Find a group of others who will act as your cheerleaders and see what you can achieve. I have found many writing friends through the 10 minute novelists group on Facebook, especially their 365 writing challenge, so I would recommend checking them out.
10. What projects are you currently working on? Have you planned to publish another book?
I have a collection of short stories on preorder now which is due to publish on November the 28th. A mixed bag: a multi-genre collection of short stories will be available across retailers. I’m also working on a YA fantasy series which I plan to publish in 2020.
Clarissa Gosling is the author of Moving abroad with children and Raising bilingual children: when school speaks a different language. She blogs at clarissagosling.com about living abroad and writing.