Melbourne journalist Louisa Deasey and I have been in contact for a couple of years now, linked over state borders via an internet connection and the oft-solitary freelance writer's life. In fact, before writing a book got the better part of her time, Louisa had penned a business plan for a website for freelancers – titled "Media Satchel!"
But that's not where the uncanny similarities stop – reading her book, I recognised some of my own life's story: high-heel-loving journo meets and falls in love with a rough-and-tumble guy named Jim who takes her out of her comfort zone, into the countryside and challenges her to reconceptualise life (while trying to find an internet connection for her laptop!).
Though her Jim is a comedian who lets loose with the f-word, their choice of vehicle a beat-up Mazda (ours a Toyota Cruiser) and her happy ending is entirely different, we agree that being out of the media metropolis (i.e. Sydney and Melbourne) certainly gives a girl a different perspective, despite the challenges of staying on top of the news of the day.
Louisa's book, published this week, is part memoir, part love story, part travel diary, part look into the life of a freelance writer working in the Australian media landscape. Think Bill Bryson meets Elizabeth Gilbert! A prolific health and lifestyle journalist by trade, she has written for The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Australian, Madison, Cleo, Cosmopolitan, Girlfriend and Good Medicine, amongst other titles.
In the six-minute Skype chat below, which sounds like it was recorded on the road (sorry about that!), Louisa talks about leaving her job at The Herald-Sun to go freelance, writing on the road (and getting her big freelance break while working from a pub!) and the inspiration behind her book. I hope you enjoy it (the scratchy-scratchy audio may give you an appreciation for roughing it!).
Girl With a Satchel