How author Mary Moody recovered after her husband's death

Two weeks out from the deadline of what was to become her scandalous bestseller Last Tango in Toulouse, Mountains author Mary Moody decided to start her book again.

Mary Moody at home in her Blackheath garden which she shares with family and pets.

Mary Moody at home in her Blackheath garden which she shares with family and pets.

"It didn't feel authentic, it didn't really add up and there's no point because readers know if it's bullshit," she told the Gazette.

She went about filling in those significant gaps in the book - the story of her love affair with a Frenchman. After a lifetime of caring for others, her Shirley Valentine-esque escapade was something many could relate to.

Mary Moody said her husband gave his blessing for the book "even though he hated it and said he always would".

Now in her fifth memoir, the Blackheath author has written about the death of that beloved husband of 42 years, David Hannay.

It took five years to write and was a book that she thought would never go to print. It opens with a prologue where she describes waking up in bed with her dead husband. Moving and devastatingly frank, it will resonate with anyone who has lost a significant other.

Ms Moody, 69, rose to fame as a popular presenter on ABC TV's Gardening Australia and has written 40 gardening books. Bus tour companies in Leura used to drive past her house in the mornings pointing her out to Chinese tourists when she was still in her nightgown. She said she has had to remake her life after David's death.

"I couldn't see why I was still alive. I didn't think there was anything out there left for me, which is ridiculous with 11 grandchildren."

As she writes: "The 'old' me needs to stand aside and allow the remade version of myself to emerge".

When a grandson came to stay, the grief-stricken widow was forced to clean herself up, stop drinking a couple of bottles of wine a day and return to the world. She said that responsibility, as well as moving in with family, reengaging with the Mountains community and counselling (even though one day she left her own counseller in tears) in effect saved her.

Ms Moody said she was "burnt out" from her previous four memoirs with a publisher "on my back" and is delighted to admit her next book is no memoir. She will return to her roots as the queen of compost with a gardening book.

She is also busily preparing her own garden for next year's edible garden festival in February and five more overseas walking treks with World Expeditions.

The Accidental Tour Guide Adventures in Life and Death by Mary Moody is published by Simon & Schuster and sells for $35.

From now until the beginning of December she will travel across Australia on a book tour.

Almost a decade from her last tour she is coming to terms with a new media landscape with social media, endless podcasts and Facebook Live to contend with.

A book signing event will be held on Saturday, November 9 at The George Boutique Hotel, Blackheath at 2pm. Tickets are $20 and available at Gleebooks Blackheath.