Seffy wants to get married, get a promotion, and start a family. Her entire feed on social media is basically engagement and new baby pictures, but none of them are hers – and she’s tired of trying. In a bold move, she booked a one-way plane ticket and it’s finally time to put herself first. With a new to-do list, she plans to do some fun and wild things – all before she’s thirty. We are honoured to have India Rigg here to chat Where Do I Go From Here with us today.
How did you come up with Seffy’s list? Did you already have an idea of what you want on the list before you started writing Where Do I Go From Here?
Yes, I had a few ideas for creating the thirty-bucket list – some of which are my own personal ones! A few of my friends were doing thirty under thirty bucket lists and I really liked the idea of changing it from simply the standard bucket list such as skydiving, to adding in achievements that help us grow as individuals.
There are some really fun ones, such as reading books that one should read at school. Confession time: Which “famous” book has been on your TBR list forever?
Randomly, the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy! I love science fiction (I studied Cell Biology at University) but having watched the movie, I’ve never read the book and I’ve always wanted to. Maybe that can be on my 2023 bucket list…
And Seffy gets to travel to many countries during her seven-month sabbatical. The Hong Kong portrayal is on point! Where do you want to travel to next time you have a break?
My husband was born in Hong Kong, and we’ve been a few times – I loved it and enjoyed going back through photos to envisage my time there! We moved to Dubai as a family two months ago and I’ve never travelled the Middle East. Although every day feels like a holiday so far…Oman looks beautiful, so I think maybe there. It’s very mountainous and different to Dubai.
Why do you think we always associate 30 as a big milestone, as our “prime”? It’s not like the average life expectancy is 60 years old?!
When we’re younger we think of thirty as an ‘old age’, it seems so much further away than our twenties. I remember looking at people who were thirty and thinking they must be so grown-up and now, at age 32, I realise we are only ever as old as we feel. My dad is 71 and he says he still feels 25, which I love! The reality is age is just a number and everyone runs at their own speed. There’s so much pressure to always be doing that next thing, whether it’s planning your next holiday or settling down and we forget to enjoy the moment we’re in.
I think for women, we always put a timeline on our lives because the world has told us that if we desire to have children it must be done by a certain age. The reality is we live in a modern world and almost anything is achievable.
As I’ve grown older, I’ve realised how important it is to try and enjoy the moment. Every day on earth is precious and we should do ourselves the justice of living it to the full.
Half of Where Do I Go from Here is Seffy’s private journal to Aphrodite, which is so creative and perfect. Did the idea come naturally to you?
Yes, I wanted to show Seffy’s raw feelings, and I thought a diary would be the perfect medium. I really enjoy books where they switch timelines – a common theme in my own novels! I thought speaking to some ‘ulterior being’ might help to show the level of hope and despair and how everything to do with having children is so out of control for everyone.
And given that those diary entries are more emotionally charged, what was the writing process like? Did you write those in a different setting compared to the rest of the book to get the mood right?
I always plan every chapter and stage of the book. I did a lot of research and spoke to many women to ensure that I did every emotion the full justice. I really tried to think about how Seffy would be feeling and would often watch movies or TV series that would make me feel sad or emotionally charged. I also wrote all the diary entries separately, so it was one mini-novel. I really try and get myself absorbed in the moment, I like to write at the table and listen to the radio. I always write quickly and a lot and then go back and delete, rewrite until that chapter is perfect.
Seffy and her friends lead different lives and have different struggles. Do you think we need to be more mindful of our friends’ potential struggles when sharing our own triumphs?
Yes, I think we could all do with stepping back a bit and think how people might feel. Everyone is at different stages of their lives at all points in their life. We’re always happy for our friend’s achievements but it doesn’t stop us all feeling a bit jealous or sad about where we are in our own lives. Everyone has their own struggles and their own battles and what might be unimportant to you, might mean the world to someone else. Thinking about who you tell and how you tell your achievements is crucial. Maybe there’s one friend who is really struggling at work but you got a promotion or you just got engaged but your other friend just broke-up with her boyfriend. Blasting your engagement over Instagram may not be the place for the news, or speaking to your friend in person first might show that you’re always there for them.
You don’t need to lie or hide your achievements; it’s about taking that one extra second to think about how you deliver that news.
And do you have any advice for those who may at times struggle to feel happy for their friends’ achievements?
Take a step back and think about your own achievements. You should never compare yourself to someone else. At the end of the day you need to be happy, that is the number one achievement in life. Everyone is different, it is your life and no one else’s.