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The article below was first published in the West Australian, by Andrew Murdoch.

An internationally acclaimed writer, former journalist and television presenter is taking an unorthodox approach to ensuring her new book is a popular stocking filler this Christmas.

Sheridan Jobbins said while “real famous people” were hitting the big cities with their books, she was taking a leisurely tour of outback Australia, visiting regional bookshops and spruiking her work whether invited or not.

Jobbins is in Kalgoorlie – Boulder today and will be at Collins Booksellers from 10am to 11am.

She said her novel was a true story written in the style of a fiction and was “basically a rom-com memoir” about how she met her husband.

“After leaving my first marriage, I decided to buy a big red car and drive around America, I would spend six weeks driving one way, and six weeks driving back,” she said. “Halfway through I did a stopover in London to visit a friend whose husband had been sick. My friend was studying with this boy and we started to have a fling. It ended up in a bit of a misunderstanding, I thought I was saying ‘I like you’ and he thought I was saying ‘join the trip’. So our third date was four weeks in a Chevy Camaro and a tent arguing across America and that is the bulk of the story.”

Wish You Were Here is Sheridan Jobbins’s first book.
Wish You Were Here is Sheridan Jobbins’s first book.Picture: Kalgoorlie Miner / Louise White

Having held the Guinness world record as the youngest person to host a television show, written a feature film starring Colin Firth and helping produce the award-winning Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, Jobbins has enjoyed a fruitful career in entertainment. But she said writing the novel was an important coming-of-age moment.

“What I always wanted to do is write books and publish them. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do,” she said.

“I wrote it the first time on the road as a diary, then as a love letter to my husband, then we got married, he got a job and now it is a book. It was published in September with the view to lasting in stores till Christmas. It is a reliable holiday read, light but filling, not too fluffy or not too angst-y and it’s mostly funny, hopefully.”

Jobbins said her personal tour of regional bookshops, which has seen her travel mostly by car from NSW to WA, had been a remarkable experience.

“I’m shameless about accosting readers in the bookshop. I go up and say ‘I wrote that, it has got a happy ending, you might like it for Christmas’ and that usually prompts a nice conversation,” she said.

Pictures: Kalgoorlie Miner / Louise White

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