My third full length novel, Nest or Invest, was published on January 31, 2021. I want to share a little story of how this book was born, and how it ended up being prescient in a borderline spooky way.
Nest or Invest is set against the hotter than ever property market. Sure, there’s a strange mix of theatre, hot air ballooning and other cool stuff that I’m drawn to, but the main story is that of two people at the opposite ends of the so-called property ladder – the tenant and the developer/investor. It seems, in New Zealand property market, there is an ever-widening gap between these two groups, a chasm that is hard to cross. I went into writing this story to see if I could write a developer swoony enough to fall in love with, and close that gap, even if only in my dreams. The story features a tenant being kicked out of their rental, a dream of a small-scale cohousing community and a wealthy friend/investor helping to make it all happen. The reason I mention these will become clear below…
When art imitates life
Myself and my husband are late bloomers, property-wise. We spent years on the road, organising a film festival and flying between Finland and New Zealand (I know!) and it took us a long time to settle down and start saving for a house deposit. To this day, we are renters, sitting on a deposit that may or may not one day be enough for a healthy, liveable home.
Last year, I opened the door to property managers coming in for a rental inspection. I’d forgotten to mark it in my calendar, so I watched the ladies cast judgmental looks at the holy mess and take photos of my laundry pile, which pretty much reached the ceiling. I was so tired of renting, so humiliated, so pissed off by the audible shutter sound on that phone, that I burst out in tears, blubbering something about the unfairness of it all. Understandably, the managers retreated out the door, away from the crazy lady.
There was nothing sexy or fun about that experience, but it sparked my imagination, and got me writing.
…and when life imitates art
When the book was already with my wonderful editor, an older friend approached us about building something together. He wanted to invest into an intentional community of some kind, even if he wasn’t necessarily able to move in himself. We met and discussed our options, then met with an architect he knows and got more advice. I saw spooky similarities to the story I’d just written, but brushed them off and decided to explore the option of small-scale cohousing. After all, it all kind of worked out in the book, so why not in real life? We set up a meeting for anyone interested. One person turned up. Now, we have a Facebook group for hashing out the plan in more detail. Last week, just before my book launched, I found out our rental is going on the market, so we will have to move. We can’t build anything in 90 days, so we’ll have to look for another rental. Still, the idea of building together suddenly seems possible. Maybe, by writing a novel, I stretched my imagination to be able to go beyond the comfortable or conventional. God knows we have a housing crisis and need some creative ideas.
In real life, I haven’t met any sexy property developers, but that’s okay. I do have a pretty cool husband, who plays in the crypto market and may have possibly inspired the risk-taking side of Mac’s character.
This book is my sexy, honest, fun exploration of the mess we’ve made in New Zealand. Hope you enjoy it!
Want to read? You can find the book HERE