Warrimoo stay inspires author

Leeds resident Sharon Cracknell in the Blue Mountains last year, where she penned her first travel book while on a six-month homestay in Warrimoo.
Leeds resident Sharon Cracknell in the Blue Mountains last year, where she penned her first travel book while on a six-month homestay in Warrimoo.
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A six-month homestay in Warrimoo last year by British tourist Sharon Cracknell inspired her to pen her first book, published last week and already in the running for the 2016 Stanford Dolman Travel Book of the Year Award.

Pringles, Visas and a Glow in the Dark Jesus is a travel memoir packed full of humour about the Leeds resident's many backpacking and working adventures overseas, but the writing process began after a very difficult time for her and her immediate family.

"In early 2013 when I flew to West Africa and joined an overland truck that travelled from Senegal to Ghana, I met a Warrimoo couple, Lynn Jackson and David Laughton, and we got on famously," Ms Cracknell said.

"I had been unable to contact my parents for quite some time on this particular journey but upon reaching Accra I was able to see my inbox for the first time in nearly two months and the news was shocking.

"My Mum had been diagnosed with numerous brain tumours and her mental health had deteriorated rapidly.

"The next morning I flew home and for the next six months my dad and I nursed mum, who, being such a strong woman, battled on through the most horrible things the cancer was doing to her body and mind. Sadly, she passed away in October 2013.

Soon after Ms Cracknell was invited to house and cat sit in Warrimoo from January 2014 - the answer came quickly - yes!

"I spent six months writing the book in David and Lynn's garden about my many travels over the last 16 years in between work contracts.

"I do have the Australian Writers' Centre in Sydney to thank for their two-day travel memoir course, without which I don't believe I could have written my book.

"I also reveal snippets of my childhood in the book and the typical behaviour of concerned parents, so it has universal appeal.

"It's filled with humorous observations and light-hearted recollections of my adventures overseas."

The book, published by Austin Macauley, takes readers on a police chase through Indonesia where Ms Cracknell was working as an English teacher, an eventful climb up Mt Kilimanjaro in Africa, to sights and sounds in several of the 'Stans and an experience at Mt Everest's base camp.

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