Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Author Interview, Excerpt & Giveaway - The Replacement Wife by Rowena Wiseman


Replacement Wife

by Rowena Wiseman  



Luisa has fallen madly in love with sculptor Jarvis, so she comes up with a plan to find a new wife for her husband Luke so she can exit stage left. She wants to screen potential stepmothers for her 8-year-old son Max and has strict criteria: the woman must be a single mother; have no more than two children; she can't be authoritarian; she must be creative, nurturing and not much prettier than Luisa.   

After a few carefully orchestrated meetings with different women that fail to raise a spark, Luke finally connects with a potential replacement wife. However, Luisa isn't prepared for the fact that Luke's interest in the other woman makes him a better man and a more attractive husband. After suffering for years in a half-dead marriage, Luisa starts to remember what it was about Luke that she originally fell in love with. But is it too late?


 It was my brother Chris’s fortieth birthday party, and I was in the kitchen helping my sister-in-law prepare salads. I was chopping spring onions when I saw Jarvis walk through the back gate. He’d grown a beard, so at first I wasn’t sure it was him. I asked Melissa, ‘Is that Jarvis?’ 

‘Yeah. He’s finally coming along to something,’ she responded. I watched through the window as Jarvis greeted my brother with a hefty handshake and a six-pack of ciders. It must have been at least a dozen years since I’d seen him, but it appeared now that my long-ago crush had left a tiny cavity in my heart. Distracted, I turned my attention to grating carrots for the Ottolenghi sweetcorn slaw, but ended up grazing my knuckle. 

An hour later, after we’d eaten, I was sitting on the back deck. My best friend, Hattie, had just left when Jarvis walked up and sat beside me. 

‘Hey there,’ he said, cautiously. 


Greetings dealt with, an awkward silence fell. 

‘I always wondered what had happened to you,’ I said at last. ‘I haven’t seen you for years.’ My voice felt trapped in my throat. 

‘I’ve been around. It seems I prefer my own company to most people. I was curious about you, though. Your brother said you’re married now.’ 

I pointed out my husband, Luke, and my son, Max, who were over by the shed. Luke was standing with his arms crossed, watching Max hurl water balloons at his cousin Thomas. 

‘I always took you as a free spirit,’ Jarvis said, smoothing a crease in his pants. ‘I thought it would’ve been hard for you to settle down.’ 

Gathering words seemed to be like catching fairy dust in the air. ‘What’s that Coelho quote? “If you think adventure is dangerous, try routine. It is lethal.”’ I had a strange urge to show him that I wasn’t living in domestic bliss, that my window was open to the fragrance of adventure. 

He smiled, his mouth betraying his serious, thoughtful eyes. His plain blue shirt was buttoned all the way up to his neck, his beard was obsessively neat, and his chunky black-framed glasses reminded me that he read more than the sports section of the newspaper. With my nerves expanding in my chest, making breathing difficult, I cursed myself for being a mouth-breather. My words came out as though they were colliding with a road train. ‘What are you doing now?’ I finally managed. 

‘I’m a sculptor. Well, working at an abattoir pays the bills. But sculpting’s my thing. I’m working on a major piece to enter in the McClelland Sculpture Award. Fourth time lucky, perhaps. I’m thinking maybe it’s my artist’s statement that’s letting me down: I can get carried away with my writing sometimes.’ 

‘I could help you, if you like,’ I said, skidding over my own enthusiasm. ‘I’m an editor. Words are my thing.’ 

‘Really? That would be great.’ 

‘You can email it to me.’ I reached into my handbag to get out my purse, but pulled out Max’s cricket box instead. ‘Oh, this is Max’s . . . He played cricket this morning; I don’t always carry dick-protectors in my bag. Joys of being a mother — you end up with all sorts of crap in your handbag. It used to be sultanas or Matchbox cars—Ah, now I’m rambling . . .’ Jarvis’s laugh was as confident as steel. 

Eventually, I found my purse and took out my business card. My hands were trembling just slightly as I handed Jarvis my card. 

‘Luisa, let’s go. Max is all wet,’ I looked up to see Luke’s face staring down at me impatiently. 

‘It’s only water, he’ll dry off,’ I said, my neck feeling flushed. 

‘He’s soaked,’ Luke said. Then he leaned in and said, ‘Thomas is a bully. Let’s go, he’s not being nice to Max.’ I knew the real reason Luke wanted to go was that he expired at social functions somewhere between two and three hours. He’d make any excuse to get back to the comfort of his own home; to a TV programme he liked, his feet on the coffee table, and four squares of Cadbury Dairy Milk chocolate at hand. 

‘I’ll email you,’ Jarvis said, half waiting to be introduced. But Luke was in a hurry, and didn’t care to meet whomever I was talking to. No doubt he was already imagining his feet up on the coffee table. 

‘Nice to see you,’ I said to Jarvis, gathering my handbag up off the ground before trailing after my husband pathetically. I left the party forgetting my salad bowl, but carrying a new seed of pleasure in my otherwise routine life.

Talking with author Rowena Wiseman!

What is your writing environment? 

My writing environment varies. In the mornings, I work at a vintage teak desk in our study, out the back of the house. Sometimes I write on the dining table because my husband works from home in the study during the day. And sometimes, if I want to escape the house, I’ll find a quiet spot in a café. If I’m out and about I’ll put my earphones in and listen to Sigur Rós – their music sends me to a magical place! 

Who is your perfect hero/heroine and why?

Elphaba Thropp from the musical Wicked. Despite a tough childhood, she is goodness on the inside. She’s strong-minded and she fights for what she believes in. She sings one of the best songs in musical history … Defying Gravity. And she’s green. 

What authors have caught your interest lately and why?

This last year I’ve fallen in love with French novelist Émile Zola and American author John Updike. I’ve pretty much been reading their books on rotation! At the age of 28 Zola planned a series of 20 books known as Les Rougon-Macquart. The series examines two branches of a family for five generations and includes the good, the bad and the ugly. I find it amazing that someone can map out that many novels at once and then go on to write such brilliant, important stories about the human psyche. I’m also really enjoying John Updike’s stories for his writing style and his realism about relationships, in particular Rabbit, Run. Right now I’m reading Updike’s The Witches of Eastwick. I only found out a month ago that he wrote this and I was so surprised I had to read it! I’m only half way through, but I’m loving the strong, powerful portrayal of the witches so far – and how their powers came after they’d become divorcees.  

What type of book have you always wanted to write?

Something that is timeless. 

Top 3 things on your bucket list?

Float in the Dead Sea

Poker in Vegas

Find a four leaf clover 

How did you get the idea for this particular novel?

I knew a woman who had a new partner who had an 8-year old daughter and she wasn’t getting along with the daughter. She would say some rather ordinary things about the girl. And it kind of made me worry about this girl and her own mother … and all this led to me thinking what if a woman wanted to break up with her husband but wanted a say in who would play a part in her child’s life? 

What is your favorite scene in your new release?

My favourite scene is when Luisa and her husband Luke go to a book launch for a crime writer who has written a book about dancers who have been killed. One of Luisa’s great disappointments is that Luke hasn’t danced with her since the night they first met. She’s been trying hard to set him up with another woman, but when she sees him dancing and enjoying himself at the book launch with one of the potential replacement wives, it hurts her deeply. Her understudy is performing much better than her, already. 

What are you working on now and when can we expect it to be available?

I’ve started working on a novel about suburban swingers. It’s very early days, so I don’t know if it has legs as yet, but fingers crossed! Where I live is rumoured to have been the swinging capital of the state in the 70s and everyone around here seems to know someone who has an interesting story to tell …

What do you like to do when you are not writing?

I love spending time with my children, it’s so great seeing the world through children’s eyes again – re-seeing things like shadows or a moon on a sunny day (as adults we forget to marvel at these things). I love walks on the beach, visits to galleries or day trips into town. 

What is one interesting fact about you that readers don’t know?

I’ve never been able to do cartwheels, handstands or the splits.

AUTHOR Bio and Links: 

Rowena Wiseman writes contemporary fiction, young adult and children's stories. She was recently named as one of the 30 most influential writers on Wattpad. 

Rowena's blog Out of Print Writing, about writing and publishing in the digital revolution, has been selected for the National Library of Australia's archive program PANDORA 

She works in the visual arts sector and lives on the Mornington Peninsula, Victoria.


Buy Link:   Amazon



Rowena will be awarding an eCopy of Replacement Wife to 3 randomly drawn winners via rafflecopter during the tour.  Follow the tour HERE


  1. Thanks so much for having me on your blog today! Stay in touch!
    Best wishes

  2. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

    1. Wow - great question! It's hard to even know what next week will be like sometimes ... but I hope to still be writing stories that surprise me ... ten years from now and my children will almost be grown up - it's hard to imagine ... I'm sure life will be very different from now (I'm feeling nostalgic already!)