It is a pleasure to welcome Rebekah Campbell to my blog, Mrs B’s Book Reviews for A Tea Break with Mrs B, a author interview series. To help celebrate the release of 138 Dates we sat down for a chat. Thanks Rebekah!
What is your drink of choice as we sit down for a chat about your new book?
Coffee was always my drink of choice but these days you’ll find me sipping on a nice green tea instead.
Can you give us an overview of your writing career to date?
It all began when I won a story writing competition in high school, this was the first time I thought to myself that I could seriously do this as a career. While I loved writing, I chose to go into business instead and started my first company soon after. Learning so much about the industry, I began writing a blog where I could share my personal experience in business. My blog was eventually picked up as a column in The New York Times and later in the AFR. After a while, I began working with a publisher to write a book about women in technology. I had successfully reignited my passion for creative writing, but the story just wasn’t flowing. I scrapped the idea and decided to write about the one thing that brought me the most joy, my relationship.
What kick started to creation of your book, 138 Dates?
Once I realised that my women in tech book wasn’t going anywhere, I spent some time thinking about what I could share that would bring the most value to other people. At this point I’d managed to find a wonderful relationship (after a very long process) and we’d just had our first child. My life had totally changed and I thought that if I was going to take the time to share anything, then it would be that story, not a story about business!
What is the significance of the title to the book?
This one is fairly obvious given I go on 138 dates with different men, but originally I didn’t like the title because it sounds like it’s just a dating guide book – which it’s not . I wanted to call the book ‘Everything’ but my publisher thought it sounded too vague like it could be about the planets or something! About a week before the book went to print, and after countless title suggestions, we went back to the original idea of ‘138 Dates’. I wasn’t thrilled with it but now it’s out there I think it works really well.
What themes and issues dominate 138 Dates?
I’d say the most prevalent themes and issues surround self-discovery, learning to be your authentic self and recognising the negative voices in your head, when to listen to these and when to tell them to shut up. Love is also a very important theme, what does it mean to fall in love? How do you form deep relationships as an introvert? Overarching the entire book is the issue that I think so many women can relate to, this idea that a woman needs to choose only one defining path in life, to start a family or focus on her career. I hope that in reading my book, women can feel more confident in going after whatever it is that’s important to them.
How long did it take you to write 138 Dates?
It took almost exactly two years from planning to publication, with about 18 months of this spent writing and editing full time.
What is the most surprising thing you discovered while writing 138 Dates?
That I could actually do it! When I first began writing ‘138 Dates’, I had no idea if I was the type of person who could actually finish writing a book. I was surprised and when I got to the end and realised that I’d done it.
What do you hope readers will take away from the experience of reading 138 Dates?
If anything, I hope that the reader is emotionally moved by the story. If I can make someone smile, laugh, or cry, and have them learn something that they find useful, then that would make me very happy.
What writers have inspired you to become a published author?
The books that influenced me most when I wrote this book were:
- Eleanor Oliphant & The Rosie Project. I used a similar ‘unreliable narrator’ voice. And although my book is non-fiction, I’d say the style is most similar to these books.
- Three Women – I loved how intimate her characters were, like I was inhabiting their brains. I tried to write my voice and thoughts with similar depth.
- Where the Crawdads Sing – I know it’s not original! But I love the writing in this book and in particular the vulnerability of the lead character. It is unputdownable and I studied this book carefully when I wrote my own.
What does your writing space look like?
I enjoy writing in cafes or libraries, anywhere that I can find green tea and a little white noise is perfect to get the creativity flowing. I do tend to feel quite lonely if I try to work by myself in a quiet space, a little chatter in the background keeps me sane.
When you are not writing, what do you enjoy doing?
I have two young children so come clock-off time you’ll find me playing with them, changing nappies, making dinner, all that fun parenting stuff. We’re currently staying in NZ and our whole family is into hiking and getting outside as much as we can.
What book is next on your reading pile?
I recently read Olive Kitteridge and I’m going to read Olive Again next I think. I loved the first book.
What are you working on writing wise at present?
I have two ideas that I’m working on for my next book, you will have to wait and see which one works out!
Thank you for the lovely tea break and chat Rebekah. Congratulations on the release of your new book, 138 Dates.
Gripping, authentic and inspiring, Rebekah Campbell’s quest to find love and happiness is packed with hilarious mistakes and insights that can help us all become better at relationships.’This book will change lives. I couldn’t put it down.’ Fleur Brown, Founding Team TEDxSydney.
‘I laughed, learned a lot and cried my eyes out.’ Jaquie Brown
What will it take to follow your dream?
On the outside, Rebekah Campbell has an enviable life. She is founder of hot Sydney startup Posse.com, writes a popular blog and gives inspirational talks at conferences for female entrepreneurs.
But when she turns off the light each night, she is alone and terrified of the future. She knows that what’s important to her isn’t money or startup glory or social media followers. She wants love. She wants a family.
And she is stuck. She hasn’t been on a date in ten years. She’s too embarrassed to list herself on the internet and can’t bear the risk of getting rejected.
She decides to act. She’ll take the tactics she’s learnt building companies and apply them to finding a man. Her epic journey will take her on dates with 138 different men in Sydney, New York and San Francisco, while at the same time confronting the immense challenges of launching a business.
She’ll face exhaustion, humiliation and heartbreak; she’ll meet some strange and dangerous characters. And she will strip herself of the ego and expectations that have been holding her back. She will not stop.
138 Dates proves that the end is always worth the effort.
138 Dates by Rebekah Campbell was published on 2nd July 2021 by Allen and Unwin. Details on how to purchase the book can be found here.
Connect with Rebekah here: