JQM Literary Chat Welcomes Nicole Webb
Tell us about yourself:
With a Media Background of 30 years, I have been a reporter, news producer, programs producer and a television news reader on Prime News NZ and Sky News Australia.
More recently I spent seven years living as an expat in Hong Kong, where my hotelier husband and I had our daughter Ava. After four years surviving and then thriving in the glittering harbour city, we moved to Xi’an, a second-tier city in central China with 9 million people.
I have been working as a freelance journalist, MC-ing and moderating at events around Asia Pacific, as well as media training and writing articles on everything from travel to parenting, lifestyle and current affairs. I’ve also been writing my critically acclaimed blog, Mint Mocha Musings: The hotelier’s Wife, an Expat Affair Aroundthe Globe – since 2012.
I published my story in the expat anthology Once Upon an Expat in 2016 and my first memoir China Blonde will be published in September 2020.
Tell us about your book:
China Blonde is the story of one family’s journey to the Middle Kingdom where they discover the power of love, friendship and acceptance.
“Having found true love late in life, Nicole would rather be anywhere with her hotelier husband, James, than without him, so two weeks after he flew out to Xi’an in North West China, Nicole and their three-year-old blondie, Ava cautiously followed suit.
It’s only a two-and-a-half-hour plane ride from Hong Kong to Xi’an, but the great divide between the Communist-led nation of China and its independent little sister is very real.
Culture shock hits them head on as they’re jostled off the plane into the alien-like airport. They’re the only blondes in a sea of locals and it feels like all eyes are on them, with everyone wondering why these fair-haired foreigners are so far from home.
But now this is their new home and they are about to begin life in a five-star hotel in China, the middle of a bustling tourist strip housing a 1300-year-old Pagoda and so much more. But somehow this pair of blondes become far more photographed than the famed Pagoda itself!”
After four years in Hong Kong, we thought we were ready for life in the Motherland, and jumped at the opportunity to move to Xi’an, in the very centre of China. How wrong we were! Nothing could have prepared us for the culture shock, not just of living in a city so different from our own, but not knowing anyone and having to somehow find our tribe where few people spoke our language.
CHINA BLONDE isn’t just another expat story about landing on foreign shores knowing not a single soul, it’s also about China, a country that is currently making news headlines around the globe on a daily basis.
This memoir is extremely timely as we watch many countries questioning their future relationship with this superpower.
Yet, still, most people only know China as a burgeoning economic power with a Communist party led government.
Isn’t it time we found out more about this nation set to become one of the world’s most formidable countries? Don’t we want to know more about these people who are currently the world’s major inbound tourists (and only 8 per cent hold a passport)? Just who are they, how do they think and what do they want?
China Blonde offers a very rare, personal and educated insight into the Middle Kingdom, a nation of kind and generous people who until recently have only lived to survive in a country of 1.4 billion.
What influenced you to write your current genre?
Originally, I wasn’t planning on making this a memoir. I had every intention of keeping myself out of the story, but the more I spoke with writing experts and the more writing courses I did, it became clear, I was part of the story. Thus, China Blonde was brought to life.
Who are your favorite authors?
Gosh, so many. I love Australian authors like Liane Moriarty for her chick lit and easy escapism, and Jane Harper for her thrilling outback murder mysteries.
What are your favorite books?
As a child I was obsessed with Enid Blyton’s books, followed by Trixie Belden mysteries…. As an adult I still love books that take me on a journey into another world.
Some of myfavouritefiction booksof late includeWhat Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty, Suspense & romantic elements novel, Charlotte Pass by Lee Christine, and Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens.
Memoirs I’ve loved are Michelle Obama’sBecoming,Tara Westover’s Edcuated and Trent Dalton’s Boy Swallows Universe.
Who are your favorite literary characters?
I’d say Jay Gatsby from The Great Gatsby and who can go past Fitzwilliam Darcy from Pride and Prejudice. Katniss Everdeen from the Hunger Games and Offred from The Handmaid’s Tale are both extraordinary heroines.
Is there anything you want to share with potential readers?
I would love you to come with me on my journey in China Blonde in the hopesome part of it stays with you long after you’ve finished reading.
Where can we go to learn more about you and your literary works?
Please visit my website http://www.nicolewebbonline.com