Jessica Kate’s second novel delivers the
love/hate romance, snappy banter, and deeply-crafted characters readers expect
from her, plus a bonus. This one’s largely set in Australia. Since it’s new
territory for the American heroine, Kimberley, readers enjoy a virtual tour
This is a novel where the setting is key
to the story. Kimberley’s time on the remote ranch belonging to her nemesis, Samuel
Payton, and other settings like the Gold Coast, aren’t just backdrops.
A Girl’s Guide to the Outback follows after Love and Other Mistakes, so readers who remember the first book will recognize some familiar people. Readers starting with this book will have no trouble, because the love interests in this book were secondary characters in the first one.
As well as romance, A Girl’s Guide to
the Outback is a story of misunderstood motives and the way past pain can
keep even Christians back from their full potential.
She’d just blasted the good-looking HR manager of a company looking to recruit her. While wearing a potato costume. [Kindle location 53]
Jules’s brow cinched together like an invisible hand had pulled a loose thread. [Kindle location 2333]
“Sweetheart, when God closes a door, He closes it. Best not to hold on too long and get your fingers jammed in the process.” [Kindle location 3104]
I wanted to read this book because of the
snappy quotes I’d seen on social media. I thought it was a romantic comedy. Instead
of a fun-but-shallow read, I was delighted to discover characters I could care
about, depth of plot, and spiritual insights.
Yes, the basic setup looks like it’ll be
simple romantic comedy: Natalie ends up working as a nanny for her single-dad
ex-fiancé who’s suddenly back in town, and the way they reconnect is definitely
comedic. But then there are layers of family and relationship turmoil, both
current and long-standing. There are health concerns. And forgiveness issues.
Australian author Jessica Kate’s debut
novel delivers realistic, imperfect characters and situations, some fun
cultural references, and some thoughts for readers to chew on after they’ve
finished. The ending is satisfying without tying up all the messy threads into
a pretty-but-fake bow.
Preparing for the release of her debut novel, Love and
Other Mistakes, on July 30, author Jessica Kate somehow squeezed in time
for one more interview—provided we kept it to three questions. You’ll find her
author bio and the details of her book below, but first, let’s hear from
Janet: On the internet, we’re citizens of the world and
often don’t know which country people call home. So for those who don’t know, I
want to celebrate that you’re an Australian author. What’s something you love
about where you live?
Jessica: Oh, great question! I love Australia’s weather
(visiting the USA I’m often surprised at how much more extreme the temperatures
are), beaches and relaxed vibe. The more I visit beaches overseas the more I
realize how ours really are among the best in the world.
Janet: How did an international author catch the attention of an American publisher?
Jessica: I guess the story starts with first getting an
agent. I met Chip MacGregor at a writing conference in 2015. While I didn’t
have an appointment with him, I went to his class on book proposals and used
the question time at the end to show him mine and ask what he’d improve. He
looked at it and liked it, and long story short he wound up my agent.
Once we’d worked on the book for a while (quite a bit of
re-writing and polishing which really strengthened the book) Chip sent it out
to multiple publishers. I met many of them, either in formal meetings or again
stalking at writing conferences, and then they got the book proposal.
I think it helped that I have an Aussie accent and was wearing a bright red dress at the time. It meant they could remember me more easily. 😊
After a long wait, Thomas Nelson made an offer! I was so
Janet: Love and
Other Mistakes looks like a light-hearted read, perfect for summer. What do
you hope readers take away from the story?
Jessica: Hope! The book combines humor with a lot of
family and romantic drama, and some messy situations. But at the end of the
day, God is bigger than our messes.
Janet: “God is bigger than our messes” – that gives hope,
all right. Jessica, thanks for taking time to chat today, and all the best with
Jessica: Thanks Janet!
More about the books:
There’s a fine line between love and hate…. And for the last seven years, Natalie Groves has hated Jeremy Walters.
Natalie Groves was meant for great things. But soon after her fiancé left, Natalie’s father was diagnosed with cancer. Suddenly her grand plans evaporated…and God felt very far away.
Fast-forward seven years, and an internship presents Natalie a chance at her destiny – but she needs a job to work around it. And the only offer available is worse than a life sentence. Her ex Jeremy, now back in town, is desperate for help with his infant son and troubled teenage niece, Lili. And Natalie may be just the one to help Jeremy…provided they don’t kill each other in the process.
When Jeremy and Natalie join forces, sparks fly. But will either of them get burned along the way?
Kimberly Foster needs help from the last man in the world who would give it.
She and Samuel Payton fought so much during their three-year stint as colleagues that they now reside in different halves of the globe. She’s still the business director of the Virginia-based youth ministry that Sam founded, while he’s back at his family’s farm in rural Australia.
But Kimberly can’t find a suitable replacement for Sam, and the ministry is in trouble. She needs him back. What she doesn’t know is that the Payton farm’s finances are scarier than statistics on Australian spider bites.
She and Sam strike a deal: if she can use her business savvy to save the farm, he’ll return to Virginia and recruit and train his replacement.
Soon Kimberly’s on the edge of the Outback, working more closely with Sam than ever before. Can she protect his family’s legacy, the ministry, and her heart?
About Jessica Kate
Australian author Jessica
Kate is obsessed with sassy romances.
She packs her novels with
love, hate, and everything in between—and then nerds out over her favorite
books, movies and TV in the StoryNerds podcast. When she’s not writing or
discussing fiction, she’s hunting the world for the greatest pasta in
Her debut novel Love and
Other Mistakes releases July 2019, while A Girl’s Guide to the Outback
hits shelves in January 2020.