Tuesday 27 January 2015

Guest Post: Katie Stephens

Pub date 23 January 2015

When most people come back from a holiday of a lifetime, they are left with amazing memories and wonderful photos. As much as these memories and photos stay with you, it is inevitable that over time the memories fade and other things in life take their place. This happened to me following a trip to Kenya in 2001. It was an amazing holiday with a group of 30 people, of whom I knew four when I arrived at the airport – this was my then boyfriend, his best friend and his wife, and a guy I used to babysit for about 15 years earlier. We were actually heading off on a cricket tour with my boyfriend’s old school and, though I was initially apprehensive about going away with so many strangers, I returned to England with 30 friends, oh and a fianc√©!

Every aspect of the trip was amazing and where I am really lucky is that I have been able to relive some of the trip in my latest book, Catching Lightning. 

Catching Lightning tells the story of Mel who has spent the past 14 years resenting her parents for abandoning her at a boarding school in England while they went back to Kenya, a country that even though she was born there, she hates, to run an orphanage and school for their charity. A tragic accident forces her to return to Kenya for her parents’ funeral but meeting the gorgeous, English educated Sam was not part of the plan. Finding her mother’s diaries reveals a lot of unanswered questions and the discovery of a detailed itinerary of a trip round Kenya that her parents dreamed of making with her makes Mel realise that maybe she had things wrong.

The trip that Mel and Sam go on follows a similar route to the one we did on our holiday and meant I could relive those special moments, such as the Giraffe Manor, the David Sheldrick Wildlife Centre and Karen Blixen’s House. They also do the overnight train from Nairobi to Mombasa. This was one of those experiences that, as much as I am glad that I did it, it is not one that I would choose to repeat!

After spending time in Mombasa and in the Masai Mara we returned to Nairobi and on the last day of our trip a small group of us went to an orphanage on the outskirts of the city. This was truly moving experience and it was this trip that provided me with the inspiration for the book and the setting of the Centre that Mel’s parents ran. The children had so little and yet were so grateful for the little that they did have.  

In Catching Lightning I hope I give readers a glimpse of the beautiful country that Kenya is and for those, like me, who are lucky enough to have been there, I hope this book brings back some great memories.


Katie Stephens works in PR and lives in Surrey with her husband Will and two young daughters.

In 2008 Katie signed herself up for a creative writing course and absolutely loved it. She then found herself spending all her spare time (not much with 2 young children) at the computer. Her first novel Candles on the Sand, set on the Amalfi Coast, was published in 2011 went on to become an Amazon bestseller.   

If you would like to appear here on the blog via a guest post, email me at jenniferjoycewrites@gmail.com
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