Jackie Parry – author


Unhealthy Writing!

Writing and Middle-Aged Spread!

I sit a lot. I have to, I’m a writer.

Coupled with middle age, this is not a good recipe for a healthy life.

So in order to combat midde-aged-spread (how lovely) I have a game plan.

  1. I’ve taken up baking again. Not pastries and cakes, well not all the time. But vegetarian and healthy foods. I have a huge appetite, and eating less is just not going to happen. Here’s one of my favourite recipes.

    Red Bean Moussaka

    Red Bean Moussaka

  2. Painting! Owning a boat keeps you fit, when we move, furling ropes, climbing ladders (for locks) and handling lines keeps me fit. Plus painting is a regular task. We’re thankfully at the point where we just need to touch up our paintwork. Here’s my latest project. I love this anchor winch, it’s functional and beautiful!

    Anchor Windlass- before

    Anchor Windlass- before

    Anchor Windlass - after

    Anchor Windlass – after

If you are a writer/author or sit in an office, what are your tactics to stay fit and healthy?



Interview on WriterStory!

Addicted to travel, adventure, and writing, Jackie doesn’t sit still for long. Originally from the UK she is now an adopted Australian. She’s sailed around the world one-and-a-half times and trekked in the bush with five rescued horses for months. She has trained as a professional maritime captain and teacher. Currently she is exploring the European canals on a 1920s Dutch barge with her Australian husband, Noel. She’s written about her sailing and horse trekking escapades, and is an encourager, ‘there are far too many critics in the world already!’

  1. What inspired you to start writing?

I was first inspired when I was about nine years old – I just loved writing stories. Also, not long after that I remember starting to read adult books and feeling the rush of adrenaline, the prick of tears, the clutch of stomach laughter – all from a book!

That amazed me.

At school I loved English lessons (my friends ribbing me endlessly about being the teacher’s pet!). Then, at work, I joined the team that wrote the bi-monthly company magazine. I progressed to writing destination and technical articles for sailing magazines all over the world as I sailed around the world – to help fund the trip. It felt a natural progression to write books about what I knew – inspirational travel and living life to the full!

  1. What did you like to read when you were a girl?

Ironically, it was mostly the school books that I read. I grew up with horses and being outdoors was more important than anything.

But I enjoyed most of the books I had to read for English lessons. At junior school I could hardly wait for our weekly session of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl. Later, in senior school Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck really stuck with me. I can’t say I enjoyed Shakespeare’s Macbeth, however, the story and the pictures I conjured in my head by the words (once I had worked out what they meant) were vivid and really got me thinking about how black words on white paper are so powerful.

  1. What is the greatest challenge in writing a book?

Every part is a challenge, but what struck me most was, that on completing my first book, the next challenge commences – getting it seen!

As for ‘writing’ the book – for me it is the sequential part. I tend to jump in here and there within the story when I am drafting. So, to jiggle the contents into a meaningful and true timeline is a task I don’t really enjoy. My brain jumps from subject to subject (often driving my husband nuts!) and that’s how my initial draft of the book is written!

Funnily enough, I enjoy the editing process. Working the bulk of the book into order, initially, is a lot of work – once that is done I feel great pleasure from manipulating and massaging the paragraphs.

  1. How much research do you do before writing the book?

So far my books have been about subjects I am fully acquainted with – non-fiction books (1) “A Cruisers’ AA (accumulated acumen)” a book with over 1,800 tips, tricks, and, advice on living on board a boat. (2) “Of Foreign Build – From Corporate Girl to Sea Gypsy Woman” a nine-year odyssey sailing around the world (3) “A Standard Journey – 5 horses, 2 people, and 1 tent” we adopted five horses and trained them (they trained us) as one team. We all set out into the Australian bush together for several months – an extraordinary story of 5 horses and 2 people becoming family and relying on each other. (4) “This Is It – 2 hemispheres, 2 people, and 1 boat” Our two-year escapade, buying a boat in San Francisco and sailing back across the Pacific, via Easter Island, Pitcairn, etc, to Australia.

So, I knew my subjects inside out. I am, however, planning a fiction book. The research so far has been immense. For me, the actual writing will not start until I have most of the research completed – several more weeks, maybe months to go! And then I am sure there will be more.

  1. What motivated you to write the book “This Is It: 2 hemispheres, 2 people, and 1 boat”?

It was an extraordinary adventure. We’d previously sailed around the world for almost nine years. So, one would think that a two-year voyage across the Pacific Ocean again (albeit a more southerly route), would be an easier trip.

It wasn’t.

The journey was tough but dappled with extraordinary events. I wanted to show that our life of travel (Noel and I have been travelling most of our 18 years of marriage), is not always fun! It’s okay to have difficult days. I wanted to show my theory on why some ordinary days are so difficult but extremely important.

I worked especially hard on the ending, which is a culmination of the theme throughout the book, which summarises why people do what they do – why we did what we did. What makes a good/happy/successful journey (and it isn’t about good weather and nice people!). How you have to be happy with yourself – that’s the first step in the adventure, no matter what you are doing.

I’ve received many personal letters from all over the world thanking me for highlighting the positive and negatives of a travelling life. My words are ringing true for a lot of people, who couldn’t figure out where they were going wrong, or what was tarring their experiences! I’ve helped them in a little way – so it’s been a complete success!

  1. Can you tell us more about your latest book “This Is It: 2 hemispheres, 2
    people, and 1 boat”? 

This Is It is a story to show that although journeys can be hard, they should still be appreciated – This Is It – right now, we all have to appreciate, more, what we have and make the most of it. That’s the underlying premise and from the letters I regularly receive the story is inspiring people to do what they’ve always dreamed of.

I reveal the marvellous and rarely visited destinations we sailed into (Suwarrow for instance) and how the mind plays tricks at sea, how we dealt with filling with water 2,000 miles away from the nearest land – and a couple of terrifying incidents of wild weather that tested our resolve and fortitude to the limit.

We are two ordinary people living an extraordinary life. Our story shows that anything is possible if you want it badly enough. Living on your terms is within reach and you can ‘survive’ when you make every aspect of your life an adventure – and fun – even the bad bits are important! For we all need those struggles in life because that’s what makes the good bits even better!

It’s about life and the reason we do things. What scares us silly, what makes us feel alive. Deep fears, dynamics of a close relationship – how we turned our lifestyle into our work, so we make a living doing what we love.

It features a bit about sailing, but it’s not a technical book for only those who enjoy the water. It’s a book for adventure seekers, or those who are just happy to live vicariously via others’ adventures. It’s also inspirational, an eye-opener and quite often funny! It’s a real look at life.

  1. How did you come up with the idea of writing adventure fiction genre book?

My books appear (and have been noted for) reading like fiction. But they are non-fiction. Every event in those stories happened, getting run over in Paris, sinking, pirates, whale collisions, man-eating crocodiles, working in a Barbados brothel, muggers….

Initially, I wanted to have a record of our adventures, just for Noel and I. Then my stories started taking shape and my dream of publishing a book became reality with a lot of hard work. Initially, a publisher was interested in my first two books – however, I chose independent publishing to maintain control of my life’s story. Since publishing four books, three have now been picked up by a publisher who is producing audio books for my stories. (Of Foreign Build is already available in audio).

Actually, I am still amazed at the things I’ve witnessed, the places I’ve been and how much my life changed when someone very close to me died. I wanted to show everyone that there are alternatives to the 9-5 trudge – there really is, if you really want it.

  1. Who are your favourite authors?

I read a lot of fiction. My favourite genres are thrillers and historical fiction. Favourite authors are Albert Facey who wrote A Fortunate Life, Dick Francis, Steinbeck.

Also, I have joined a wonderful FB group called We Love Memoirs (WLM). It is a group of both readers and writers – and many of the authors there are becoming firm favourites too. Anyone can join – it is one of the friendliest groups on FB.

  1. How much time do you dedicate for writing on a daily basis?

I am not that organised! I travel, almost constantly and most days are unplanned.

Noel and I currently live on a 1920s Dutch barge in France. If we are moving I maybe busy working the lines, or on the helm, in and out of locks, or just watching the world putter by at five knots. If we are in port, we maybe bike riding to the shops, keeping on top of boat maintenance or taking shelter from the rain.

Rainy days can give me time to write, but there is a compromise. Take right now for example, as I write. We thought we’d be moving today, but the rain over-night has added to the flood rains (of two days ago) to cause the canal to rise again. So we are stuck on a floating jetty in the beautiful green countryside near Ypres. It is all very nice, we have everything we need, but little power. Boats are a mini village, with their own power, water, heating etc, but our solar panels do not work very well when it is so overcast. (Actually, they work surprisingly well, but struggle with TV and two laptops and a fridge running!) We can tap away on our laptops but then, at some point, we’ll have to run the engine.

It’s a wonderful life, but with few certainties, (except adventure), which is just the way I like it.

I snatch time to write: Early in the morning, late at night – or when stuck in a port due to weather. It really is as and when for me.

If I have moments of planned days, I will try 1-2 hours per day. But that never works out! I’ve been known to write all day long.

  1. What words of wisdom would you like to give to aspiring writers?

Don’t give up. Keep going. That sounds over simplistic, but let me explain a bit more.

It’s not until you’ve tried to write a book that you have any inclination how hard it is – it is tough. Most writers start okay, then reach the stage where it becomes tricky and you need to find real resolve and fortitude to continue – most writers stop there.

Those that get over that ‘hump’, acknowledge it – work through it – go on to finish their book. Each day (if possible) work on what you can. Some days you will feel able to tackle the tough parts, other days you won’t. On those days that you can’t face the tough bits, work on something easier – a different chapter, the contents, spelling, front cover, back cover blurb, research, marketing plan – anything – as long as you are moving it forward, somehow, each day.

If you keep going, one way or another, you will get there – I promise. It is tremendously tough, even once you’ve completed your book too, but all so worth it.

Best of luck!

Author blog: www.jackieparry.com

Travel blog: www.noelandjackiesjourneys.com

Horse blog: http://helpinghandforhorses.weebly.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jackie.parry.7543

Travels: https://www.facebook.com/NoelAndJackiesJourneys

Horses: https://www.facebook.com/pages/For-the-love-of-horses/1048526295173146

Amazon Author page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00OT9CWV8

Amazon book links

A Standard Journey: viewBook.at/astandardjourney

Of Foreign Build:  viewBook.at/OfForeignBuild

Cruisers’ AA (accumulated acumen): viewBook.at/cruisersaa

This Is It: viewBook.at/thisisit

Audio Excerpt Of Foreign Build: http://goo.gl/AnsKRr





Where Is The Best Office In The World?

Here of course….. sailing along the NSW coast in Australia, on our way to our next adventure.

Sailing (and writing) in my slippers along the NSW coast

Sailing in my slippers! And Writing – this was the beginning of Of Foreign Build… Note the bikes (bike wheels upside down outside the stanchions), the outboard is under the blue canvas by my head. We were on our way!


Perhaps in a TSR (Travelling Stock Route) on the BNT (Bicentennial National Trail) with 5 horses and a tent…


Somewhere nearby there are five very happy horses, gallavanting, galloping, and rolling in the creek! Meanwhile, notes on the horse trekking book A Standard Journey started here….


What about on a 1920s Dutch barge in France? Not bad, but we were (and still are) renovating – it’s a noisy, dusty, and messy place to live and work.



Magdalena Bay, Mexico – the cafe was closed but wifi was on!

In beautiful locations the work doesn't stop!

We’d recently purchased Pyewacket in San Francisco and were on our way to La Paz… but plans changed rapidly. We spent two years sailing back to Australia via Pitcairn and Easter Island, etc…. a tough journey – detail of which in my next book This Is It, out January 2016.


On a barrel in the boat yard in Panama?

The dinghy dock payment each day was good fun too!

Well at least I got to stay relatively clean!


Puttering along the Intracoastal Waterway of America. Near South Carolina on our 10 metre sailing boat Mariah II.

I make time to write anywhere/anytime!

Flat water sailing – yippee!

I’m a travel writer – literally. If you want to travel and work you can – you just have to make it happen.

Where’s your favourite office? Where’s the most exotic, fun, extreme place you’ve worked?



WIP Reveal

I’ve been tagged by writing buddy Rachel Amphlett to reveal the first lines of the first 3 chapters of my WIP (Of Foreign Build), and then tag 3 more writers to do the same.

Here goes:-

Chapter 1
The grey, cool room held so much sadness that the old mismatched furniture had absorbed the heavy look of grief.

Chapter 2
The first major decision Noel and I made as a couple was, how were we going to live?

Chapter 3
Losing control and almost smashing up a fifty-five thousand dollar, ten tonne boat is quite exhausting.

Batons go to my boating buddies and writers/authors Sandra Crook, Alison Alderton & Julie Gorges.

Writing any time, any place

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CRUISING CLINIC – What’s so great about cruising?

Jackie Parry - author

This was my second question to Noel when we were searching for our first boat – (see the first question here).

At this point I hardly knew the front end of a boat from the back end. I also found the cruising world completely mind-boggling.

Noel’s response to this question, ‘getting to port’, holds a lot of truth (for us). I love being out there but with only two of us on board, after several days of a tag-team match (one is always on watch) it does become tiring. The constant demand on your body to move three-dimensionally, twenty-four hours a day, causes fatigue (the reason most accidents occur). Plus we are always looking forward to exploring our next destination.


What’s it like?

Sailing oceans is not like a plane or car ride. Nothing is certain except a vast puddle of water and a great stretch of sky…

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Cruising Clinic Snippets – Don’t sweat the small stuff

This was advice from a long-term cruiser and a friend.

I had to stop and think about this for a bit. I knew, with just five small words, she’d said something remarkable.

Don’t sweat the small stuff.

Months of hard growth on the lines - days of cleaning . . . is it worth worrying about?

Months of hard growth on the lines – days of cleaning . . . is it worth worrying about?

What is the small stuff on board?

  •       The laundry (in cold water, by hand)
  •       The blocked loo (marine toilets are renowned for this delightful occurrence)
  •       The entire boat turning into a workshop
  •       Running out of gas in the middle of cooking
  •       Salt saturated cushions that just won’t dry
  •       A lumpy sea
  •       Too much wind
  •       Big waves
Split stuff behind the cooker - is it worth getting worked up about it?

Cleaning behind the cooker – is it worth getting worked up about it?

So when do you ‘sweat’? Well usually you don’t, usually there’s no time.

Maybe you’d sweat during a storm, which can last for days. But, generally ‘sticky’ moments on board are in bursts:

  •       fingers of lightning
  •       winds shifting to create an untenable anchorage
  •       dragging anchor
  •       broken rudder . . .

. . .  these are moments when you may sweat . . . IF YOU HAVE TIME.

Instead of sweating you’ll be too busy doing what’s necessary.

The great thing is, those moments where you don’t have time to sweat are great training for when it really matters.

Rough seas - do what's necessary to make the boat safe, then relax

Rough seas – do what’s necessary to make the boat safe, then relax

Yes, cruising can have its shitty moments, it can be scary, but each challenging moment will build your confidence and faith in your boat and yourself – creating comfort and a more relaxed life that just keeps on improving.

Tomorrow is the next instalment on our CRUISING CLINIC – What’s so great about cruising?

Stop by and let us know what you think.

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Cruising Clinic – How much does cruising cost?

When Noel and I decided to go cruising, as a complete beginner I had two very pertinent questions on my mind. I asked these questions as we hopped on the back of Noel’s motorbike, searching for a boat.

‘So, what’s it going to cost, running a boat?’

He replied, ‘Everything we’ve got.’

A little perplexed, but not yet deterred, I then asked, ‘What’s so great about sailing anyway?’

Noel, with his brutal honesty and years of experience with boats replied, ‘Getting in to port.’

‘Good grief’, I muttered. After about two hours of silence while I digested these little gems, I said, ‘Why do it then?’

Without hesitation Noel responded, ‘It’s the closest thing to freedom I know.’

That did it for me. It was right then that I was sold on the idea. Sixteen years later I still see the wisdom in his answers.

What's so great about sailing . . .?

What’s so great about sailing . . .?

I’ll write about the ‘what’s so good about sailing?’ question down the line. Right now, I guess you’re thinking, ‘well so what?, that doesn’t help me very much.’ However, think about this: cruising WILL cost you everything you have, if you let it.

So, let’s look at the right questions to ask to see if we can make sense of all this:

1) What budget do I have to purchase a boat?

2) What will it cost to run?

3) How will I earn money along the way?

4) How can I save money along the way?

Boats can be as expensive or as cheap as you make them. We find that living on board is a cheaper way to live, but we know how to save money, I am extremely prudent with our dollars and we employ smart tactics. AND you have to start with a good boat, then maintain it – constantly (a job a day, however big or small).

We were still trying to figure out where to stow everything!

We were still trying to figure out where to stow everything!

Now, let’s try and find some answers.

1) What budget do I have to purchase a boat? Whatever budget you have it is extremely likely that you will find a boat you love for a ‘bit’ more and go over your budget. This amount does NOT include:

a) all the unexpected problems found during survey that need to be fixed

b) all the things the vendor neglected to tell you that needed to be fixed

c) all those things that just pop up at inopportune times that need to be fixed

d) on-going maintenance and repairs

e) additional equipment (your own ideas/wants)

Summary: Keep at least 10% of your budget for those unexpected issues.

A job a day kept Mariah ship-shape.

A job a day kept Mariah ship-shape.

2) What will it cost to run? It depends on where you started from. If you are really lucky and have a good, well maintained boat, then it will also depend upon:

a) the size of your boat*

b) amount of use (little use is not always a good thing)

c) your skills (can you maintain it and carry out repairs? Or do you need help?)

d) your time

*(great examples on actual living costs on various sized boats, on Sail Far Live Free: http://www.sailfarlivefree.com/2012/12/what-does-it-cost-to-go-cruising.html)

3) How will I earn money along the way? Be creative. Use the skills you have. Other cruisers need expertise in all areas. We’ll tackle this subject later on too. However, running your own business is not easy on land, don’t expect it to be easy while cruising. You have the added challenge of communications.

4) How can I save money along the way? This is the easy bit – if you are prepared to change your lifestyle.

Stop spending it! Really. Don’t eat out all the time, figure out how to fix stuff yourself. Learn how to get the best bargains on boat equipment, learn how to keep food for weeks and weeks (without a fridge if necessary, we did for nine years), anchor out and avoid mariner fees. I could go on and on, and I did in our book Cruisers’ AA (accumulated acumen). I’ll supply more tips down the line, on each of these subjects.

If this all sounds off putting, well you’ve given up too soon. Cruising life is fantastic, but it is not for everyone. If you like a challenge, can adapt to new situations and want to enjoy your life in a way you never dreamed of – then maybe it is for you.

A good boat to start with & on-going maintenance will ensure you get to all those places you dreamed of.

A good boat to start with & on-going maintenance will ensure you get to all those places you dreamed of.

I’ll write more on all these subjects (1-4) in the coming weeks. Cruisers’ AA (accumulated acumen) covers all this and much more in far greater detail, see www.jackieparry.com for more information – available in paperback & ebook). (Or look at the top of this page and follow the links!)

You can sail to the most wonderful places & experience new escapades!

You can sail to the most wonderful places & experience new escapades!