The Devil Wears Clogs - Jennifer Burge
Having only traveled overseas, I can only daydream about what it must be like to make that jump and decide to live abroad. In The Devil Wears Clogs, Burge takes us through her experiences, the good, the bad, and the ugly, giving women across the states an idea of how that move might go down.
While reading this book invoked some frustration, some sad eyes, and more than a few "Oh no! Don't do that!" from me, there was plenty of humor to ease the moment. Her fun sense of humor really drives the moral of the book home for me. And that is that no matter what you go through in life, you have to keep your heart light and a smile on your face.
A very fun read that I highly recommend. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.
Some Bio Information
Jennifer Burge grew up on the Lake Erie shore near Cleveland, Ohio. Graduating from the Ohio
State University in 1994, she long dreamed of living and working in Europe. Her wish came
true as her career in IT project management moved her to Germany in 2001 and then to the
Netherlands in 2002.
In 2007, Jennifer relocated to Singapore where she worked as an IT contractor. She traveled
extensively throughout Asia and began writing destination pieces for The Guide magazine
(Vietnam). Realizing that others who sought to work overseas could benefit from her first-hand experience and perhaps avoid painful lessons, Jennifer began writing her memoir, The Devil Wears Clogs, in 2009.
Her next move took her to Australia in 2011 where she returned to consulting before taking the
leap to full-time writing in 2012. In 2013 and she became a full member of the Australian
Authors’ Society and her first memoir was published in late 2014. Singapore Salvation, the Asian sequel will be released in December 2015.
Jennifer lives in north Brisbane and works full-time writing and speaking in the importance of
cultural understanding in a global society. She is a columnist for www.ExpatFocus.com and
provides insight on world destinations and cultures on: www.WorldwisePublications.com.
1. What inspired you to write this book?
When I was preparing to move to Germany from the US in 2001, I was desperate for information about what my life would look like once I got there. In those days, we still had dial-up internet and Google was only a glimmer in cyberspace. If I wanted to read books by women, they were about regional cooking and markets. Books by men offered factual “how-to” information about securing apartments and visas. I didn’t find one book written by a female author about transitioning life and career to another continent. In my early years abroad, I made many mistakes−so many that I call The Devil Wears Clogs a “How NOT to Live Abroad Guide.” I wanted to share those mistakes with others aspiring to live abroad or help someone already living there not to feel so alone in what can be a very isolating experience.
2. Was there a deciding point in your life that made you want to become an author?
I’ve escaped into books to learn about the world for as long as I can remember. Once I was eight years into the experience of global living, I wanted to share what I’d gleaned in roughly twenty countries. The Global Financial Crisis in 2008-9 also played a role. I was living in Singapore at the time and foreigners were at the bottom of the barrel for corporate hiring. I had to choose another avenue. My first job was writing for an English language tourism magazine in Vietnam. Those cringeworthy articles were my stepping stone.
3. Are there any authors who influence your writing?
Mary Karr, Joan Didion, Jeanette Walls, Claire Bidwell Smith, Caitlin Moran
4. Can you tell me a little bit about your writing process?
I’ve experimented with many ways of producing my best work. For the actual writing, I find that an early morning walk around the lake near my house is an incredible idea generator. I follow that with 2-3 hours of writing. After that, I edit the work from the days or weeks before. I can edit all day long, but the initial creating is something I find I cannot push myself to do for 8 hours. If I do, I’m not pleased with the results.
5. Who is your favorite character in your work?
C’est moi! Okay, I know that is an annoying answer but I am a travel-memoirist and my work centers on my experiences in forty-four countries. Aside from my own realizations and observation, it’s usually the antagonist. In The Devil Wears Clogs, it is the man I refer to as the antichrist. In the sequel, Singapore Salvation, it is the woman who attempted to wreck my marriage. I suppose I have revenge fantasies.
6. How would you describe your writing style?
I try to portray life abroad as honestly as possible. Many of the books I’ve mentioned earlier describe life abroad as glamorous. It is my intention to show that there is a decidedly unglamorous side to it as well. Don’t get me wrong, I would not change the past fifteen years of my life for anything, but truth is often stranger than fiction and that has played out well for me.
7. What’s your ultimate writing goal?
If I zero in on the word “ultimate”, it is to give life to real-life characters who are female adventurers. I wish I’d had role-models like that when I was younger. Without them, I’ve learned everything the hard way! I’m not complaining for one instant. Life has provided me with enough stories to fill two books and a third, about my present home in Australia, is forthcoming. Once I finish this series, I’m on the fence as to whether or not to try fiction. People who do it well impress me enormously and I’m not sure I’m up to the task.