All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Q&A With…. Torre DeRoche

on March 27, 2013

Love With ARecently I read Love With A Chance Of Drowning a memoir by Aussie girl Torre DeRoche on how she threw caution and fear of water to the wind and set sail with her boyfriend from Mexico to the French Polynesian islands. I absolutely loved the book (you can read my review here) and jumped at the chance to have Torre, who is currently back in Australia, on the blog to answer a few questions.

Torre1. Hi Torre and welcome to my blog. Thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions for me! Congratulations on the publication of Love With A Chance Of Drowning. Did you always intend to write a book or is it something that just evolved naturally from your blog work and the recording of your adventure?

Thanks for having me on your blog!

I never thought I’d write a book. I used to pinch the hefty bulk of 300 pages between my thumb and index finger, and wonder how on earth anyone could ever find the patience to write 100,000 words. But after I lived the adventure, I itched to tell the story and words began to spill out on the page. The book wanted to be written, I guess

2. How long did it take you to write the book? How did you decide what to leave in and what to take out?

It took me about two and a half years to write. The first draft was a journal-like dump of everything I could remember from the three years, and from there I began sorting, cutting back and refining the direction of the story. Once I knew what I wanted the book to focus on (the love story), I was able to eliminate anything that wasn’t developing that angle. While writing subsequent drafts, I asked test readers to flag anything in the book that was lagging, and I ironed those parts out or cut them completely. After butchering and rewriting too many drafts to count, I had a flowing story. I think of it like cutting a sculptured, polished form from of a hunk of ugly wood.

3. Whilst you were on the Amazing Grace, what things did you miss the most?

The internet. Do you know how hard it is to not be able to Google “Are lemon sharks dangerous?” when you need to? It was like the 80’s all over again. I missed email and being able to send long letters home every day. I missed people. I missed flushing toilets. I missed being able to enjoy a raging storm outside without feeling like I was going to die.

4. And what was it about the adventure that made up for what you missed?

Arriving in picturesque islands by the power of wind and sail. For every ounce of pain and suffering endured, there would be an equal amount of exhilaration after we got through to the other side. There was a huge sense of accomplishment at getting from A to B. When we’d arrive to beautiful locations, it felt like we’d earned the right to be there—like we belonged—which is something that doesn’t happen when you catch a plane or a bus. The hardships made the luxuries unimaginably sweet, and it gave me a deep sense of appreciation for the small things. Like being alive, for example.

5. What books do you think are crucial for a journey like that where you are so removed from technology? 

The most invaluable book we had was The Voyager’s Handbook: The Essential Guide to Blue Water Cruising, by Beth Leonard. This covers almost everything there is to know about life at sea. A good medical book is helpful for self-diagnosing and treatment, and it’s also wise to bring a guide to wilderness medicine (alongside a comprehensive medical kit). Guidebooks like Charlie’s Charts are essential for finding interesting locations and navigating safely around the islands. Most importantly, you must bring a ton of great novels to fend off death by boredom!

6. As much as it is about a wonderful adventure, Love With A Chance of Drowning is also about you conquering the fear you had of the ocean – about biting the bullet and just doing it. Would you say that the journey did cure you of your fear of the ocean and all things that reside in it? Do you have any fears left that you’d like to conquer as well?

I used to be unreasonably afraid of the ocean, but now I’d say that my fear is at normal and healthy levels. The ocean is an inherently scary place, and being fearless around an unpredictable liquid landscape that can randomly swallow you whole is not advisable. A bit of fear and respect will keep you alive.

As for facing other fears, I don’t really set out to conquer fears for the sake of it. I’m not an adrenalin junkie. But if there’s something I want to do and fear is in the way, then I will probably face up to that fear rather than turn down the experience. I want to see the world and live a rich life, and I don’t want fear to stop me.

7. What has life been like for you and Ivan since you met up in Bundaberg?

We used to live in Melbourne, and we worked nine months of the year and travelled for three to try and balance wanderlust with life. But over the last year, we’ve been living in Thailand in a bungalow that overlooks the sea. Ivan learned to teach scuba diving, and I’ve been writing and designing. Also, we just finished a 2000km motorbike ride from Bangkok to Chiang Mai.

8. What adventure is left that you’d most like to do? Trek through Nepal? Africa? Is there any country out there you’d like to conquer, having already mastered the ocean?

We’ve already trekked Nepal. Africa is being discussed. I’d love to see South America, and I’ve never been to Europe. I will conquer anything and anyone in order to get some really good cheese.

Thank you so much Torre – I hope you and Ivan keep enjoying your amazing adventures and that I get to read about them in the future.

Here’s a trailer for Love With A Chance Of Drowning:

You can read Torre’s blog here, follow her on twitter here and see her page at Penguin Books Australia here.

Many thanks to Rhian from Penguin for arranging the Q&A.

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3 responses to “Q&A With…. Torre DeRoche

  1. What a wonderful interview, I really enjoyed reading this (and it made me laugh!). I’d love to read the book too (I’ve pre-ordered it as it’s not out here yet).

  2. shelleyrae @ Book'd Out says:

    I really enjoyed the book – thanks for sharing this interview!

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