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Laurie Gough is a Canadian travel-writer, and the author of “Kite Strings of The Southern Cross” (published in Canada as “Island of the Human Heart”) and “Kiss the Sunset Pig”. In this exclusive interview, she talks to Steve Rudd about her life and work…

Hey Laurie, how are you doing?

Pretty good, thanks!

Do you prefer being ‘home’ or ‘away’?

When I’m home I often fantasise about hitting the road and setting off into the unknown, and when I’m away I remember how much easier and relaxing it usually is in your own home.

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How long did it take to write your epic “Kiss the Sunset Pig” masterpiece? 

I spent about four years writing it, but not full-time, since I also gave birth to and raised a baby somewhere in there, which tends to be the most time-consuming activity on the planet.

Did you entertain footloose tendencies as a young kid?

Yes, from a young age I loved going on camping trips with my family all over North America. When I was thirteen we even flew to London and rented a caravan for the summer and travelled all through the UK and the continent. It was fantastic. I prepared myself by memorising all the kings and queens of England from 1066 onward. I think that helped.

What’s the most hair-raising travel experience you’ve ever had?

Perhaps getting drugged and hypnotised into buying carpets in Morocco. Either that or getting taken up into the Italian Alps and being held hostage in a tiny cabin by an insane Italian man.

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Do you prefer to travel independently or with family and friends?

When you travel alone you’re more dependent on others and people tend to approach you much more, so you have more adventures. As for travelling with a friend, provided you like the person, it’s usually more relaxing than going alone. A difficult and stressful situation you encounter by yourself could be a hilarious situation if you have a friend to share it with.

What’s the greatest piece of advice you can give to wannabe globetrotters?

On my website at I list my Top Ten travel tips, and the first one is to trust your instincts.

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Which other travel-writers do you admire?

There are so many of them. One of my favorite travel-writers is Moritz Thomsen, an American ex-pat who lived as a farmer in Ecuador. Non-travel authors I love are Lorrie Moore, an American author who mostly writes quirky short stories, Ian McEwan, David Mitchell, Barbara Kingsolver, and Margaret Atwood.

I also read a lot of history and biography. I recently read a biography of Aldous Huxley and was fascinated to learn how he could never stay long in one place and was broke for much of his life trying to make a living as a writer. Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose. 

Did you always sense that your writing was destined to be published in book form?

I don’t think any writer can anticipate anything in terms of what will be published where and when.

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If you weren’t writing for a living, what would be your ideal occupation?

When I was a kid I always wanted to be a gymnastics judge because I was passionate about gymnastics and thought I’d be able to travel all over the globe judging gymnastics meets. My hero was Nadia Comaneci. Now I think I’d like to be something less hectic and demanding, like a gardener for rich, friendly people.

(Questions by Steve Rudd; Answers by Laurie Gough)

Steve’s bestselling debut book entitled “Pulse” is now available from Waterstones, WHSmith, Valley Press, and here

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