An Australian author living in Norway

What a difference two months makes

My last post was about staving off depression by posting exclusively positive content on social media throughout November. Shortly after November ended, I hopped a plane to Australia for Christmas and had one of the best visits “home” in my almost-13 years of living abroad.

After three amazing weeks of sun, family, laughter (oh, the laughter!) all my favourite nostalgia foods and finishing it all with a new year’s eve karaoke pool party, coming back to cold, dark Norway hit me pretty hard. My daughter went straight back to her dad, and thanks to jet lag, I worked from home those first few days back, which meant being alone at home with only my kitties for company. I started to sink again, hating my adoptive country for taking me away from the warmth of the Australian sun and my Australian people, who took such good care of me while I was away.

I went to the gym and almost burst into tears when my running playlist brought back memories of running through the Adelaide streets with the sun on my back and the sounds of parrots and magpies in my ears. I scuttled home and cried in the shower instead, using every ounce of willpower not to eat all the precious snacks I brought back and undo all the running.


I was desperate to get out of the dark, but at the same time, I just wanted to burrow into my couch and sulk. But, life (aka my job) had other plans. I was asked to go to my team’s HQ in Barcelona for 24 hours. After so much travel in 2018, I was more than a bit grouchy about it, but I also knew I needed time with my team—with people in general, really. And even though I was travel-weary, it seemed in those 24 hours, something shifted. It might have been the sunshine and relative warmth of Barcelona. It might have been some face time with my team, fresh with two new recruits who brought new energy with them. Maybe it was just getting out of my apartment. Whatever it was, I came back to Oslo having shaken off the misery of leaving.

Then, suddenly, things really changed. One morning, when my alarm went off, I groggily checked my phone and saw I had an email from an agent—one I had queried around the time of my October slump on the advice of a fellow Djerassi alumna. I thought, “Oh great, let’s start the day with a rejection.” Boo.

Except, it wasn’t a rejection at all. It was a request for a phonecall to talk about the manuscript.


So, this kind of email is (very usually) secret literary agent language for “I’m about to offer you representation”. Not aaaaaaalways, but I squealed anyway and woke up my daughter, who had climbed into my bed at some point during the night. She didn’t really understand what all the fuss was about, but she congratulated me anyway, because she’s a sweetheart.

A few days later, after an excruciating wait, I took the call and the agent, Laurel Symonds of The Bent Agency, did indeed offer representation!


After a bit of this ^^ (okay, a lot), I did the customary contacting of the other agents who still had the manuscript and within the week I had a second offer on the table—which felt like the sort of thing that only happens to other people. Amazing. So, so flattering. Absolutely unreal. I weighed up my options and decided to accept Laurel’s offer, so I’m now signed on with TBA and raring to get into revisions.

As if that wasn’t enough, within that same week, a job offer came in for a position with an HR cloud software company that I had applied for at the end of 2018. I hadn’t thought much about it at the time; I mostly applied because jobs of this kind in English don’t come up that often in Norway. But after a string of interviews (some over Skype from Australia) and a presentation of my content strategy, they were enthusiastic to have me on their team, and I was enthusiastic to accept. So, as of April, I will join CatalystOne Solutions as a Content Marketing Specialist.

I don’t like to think of myself as superstitious, but when a bunch of good things happens, I feel reluctant to crow about it just in case it all comes to nothing. Maybe it’s the whole pride goeth before a fall thing. But after a few exceptionally tough years, I’m trying to think of these good things as a) cosmic balance and b) hard work paying off. The latter is particularly important to acknowledge, I think. Sure, there is a certain amount of luck involved in landing an agent contract or a job, but at the same time, I poured my heart into this book for a year to get it query-ready, and my years of experience and my presentation of my skills got me this new job. That’s not luck, that’s hard work and perseverance.

So, if I had anything to say to people going through depression, or SAD, or just a rough patch in general, it would be the same thing everybody says, but with all of the above as evidence: it doesn’t last forever, so hang in there. As long as you make use of your up periods to work hard and make sure there’s something to reward, the rewards do come. And sometimes they come all at once, which feels like opening a box of rainbows.


photo credit: MGI Construction Corp. Stronger Together | MGI Construction Corp. via photopin (license)


  1. Amy

    So so excited and proud. You are an inspiration dear sister. Hope the hugs reach you as im giving you a hug from afar right…. now!

    • Zoë

      Thank you, Amy! I’ll take all the Aussie hugs I can get, virtual or otherwise!

  2. Megan

    More hugs from Aussie land 🤗🤗🤗🤗

    • Zoë

      Thank you!! Right back atcha!

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