Today, I'm welcoming a special guest, author Kathy Servian, writing as KA Servian, who has her own “very big house in the country”.
Just like the lyrics to the Blur song, Country House, we lived in the city and about ten years ago, after watching too many episodes of Escape to the Country, decided that a rural idyll was for us.
I don’t want to sound as cynical as the song, we love our five acres half-an-hour north of Auckland. The place is everything we hoped it would be; lush, green, private, quiet and with a wonderful community spirit that you just don’t get in the suburbs.
We like to think that we’ve found the perfect balance, close enough to the shops to be convenient (a ten-minute drive to the largest mall in NZ), but far enough away to avoid the hustle and bustle of town.
But rural living (even semi-rural like us) is not for everyone. No one told us about the rampant weeds, endless hours of mowing, looking at the sky and wanting it to rain before we run out of water, the power cuts, the ducks bathing in the water-filled potholes on our driveway that we can’t afford to concrete and the fact that we can’t get take-out food delivered.
But these minor issues all fade to insignificance when I step outside my door and am surrounded by the beauty of nature. Pukekos strut across the lawn (well, the scrubby, weed-infested piece of ground I like to call a lawn), bunnies bounce past, their white tails catching the sunlight (I know they’re a pest, but they’re just so cute), sheep bleat from our paddocks just below the house, and one of our chickens wanders up and give me that look that says ‘are you going to feed me?’ just before she does an enormous poo right in the middle of the driveway.
We like to pretend that we’re genuine ‘country folk’ , the type who have a real four-wheel drive vehicle (not one of those pretend SUV types like ours), wear our gumboots to the shops and keep actual, proper animals – you know for eating. But it’s all a ruse. The only animals we have are two chickens who are more pets than stock and rarely produce eggs. The sheep grazing our paddocks belong to our neighbour, who is much more ‘country’ than us – he can actually do stuff like put up his own fences. We hire someone to mow the steep parts of our land and, I admit it, I’m terrified of large animals like cows and horses. We live surrounded by various livestock and as long as they stay behind their fences, I’m happy to admire them from a distance.
So, yes, I admit it, I’m a country fraud. I love the peace and the community, but I confess that I do sometimes secretly dream of being able to walk to the shops or of having a tiny garden that requires hardly any maintenance or never having to herd an escaped sheep back into a paddock or wash chicken poo off the outdoor furniture again. Perhaps, one day, we’ll move back to the burbs, but for now, I’m prepared to live with the minor inconveniences of country living because, on balance, it’s totally worth it.
KA's latest release, The Moral Compass,
(which is not about living in the country),
is now available!
Florence lives like a Princess attending dinner parties and balls away from the gritty reality, filth and poverty of Victorian London.
However, her world comes crashing around her when her father suffers a spectacular fall from grace. She must abandon her life of luxury, leave behind the man she loves and sail to the far side of the world where compromise and suffering beyond anything she can imagine await her.
When she is offered the opportunity to regain some of what she has lost, she takes it, but soon discovers that everything is not as it seems. The choice she has made has a high price attached and she must live with the heart-breaking consequences of her decision.
This novel is part one in the ‘Shaking the Tree' series.
As a life-long creative, Kathy gained qualifications in fashion design, applied design to fabric and jewellery making and enjoyed a twenty-year-plus career in the fashion and applied arts industries as a pattern maker, designer and owner of her own clothing and jewellery labels.
Creative writing started as a self-dare to see if she had the chops to write a manuscript. Writing quickly became an obsession and Kathy’s first novel, Peak Hill, which was developed from the original manuscript, was a finalist in the Romance Writers of New Zealand Pacific Hearts Full Manuscript contest in 2016.
Never one to do things by half, Kathy designed and made the costume for the cover of her third novel and her first historical, The Moral Compass and has made several other costumes from various periods in preparation for the novels that will follow in her Shaking the Tree series.
Kathy has recently completed a diploma in advanced applied writing. She squeezes writing novels in around teaching sewing part-time and being a wife and mother.
You can follow Kathy on her website https://kaservian.com/ or Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/KAServian/. Photography is also one of her hobbies. You can view her images on her Instagram feed https://www.instagram.com/kathygiannoulis/