"If you like funny, snappy chick-lit that deals with deeper issues than finding the right pair of shoes, follow high school math teacher Alice Dahl to her Texas Hold'Em tournament Down Under--you won't be disappointed!" -Beth Orsoff, bestselling author of Romantically Challenged and Disengaged
"Let's get this out of the way - LOOOOVED IT! I think I started and finished this book in a 24-hour period." -Kindles & Wine
From the Author
Let's just get something out of the way first: I am not a spontaneous person. In fact, my days, weeks and months tend to be pre-planned down to the minute, so even small changes can trigger a control-freak panic attack. My dear friend, bestselling thriller/paranormal author Alexandra Sokoloff, however, happens to be a very spontaneous person. Here's an afterthought in an email I received from her on August 3, 2012: "Also, come to Australia with me if you feel like it--I'm at Surfer's Paradise on the Gold Coast from Aug. 14-19 (everything paid) and then just driving wherever for a week--you're always welcome!"
It's important to note that she invited me to join her on an international adventure eleven days before said adventure. It took over a week for a benzodiazepine drip beat back the massive anxiety attack that followed this email, but on August 9th--five days before she was set to depart--I had booked myself on a flight to Brisbane, Australia, where the two of us planned to meet up and set out for Surfer's Paradise by car.
Now here's why a person like me should never, ever attempt anything resembling spontaneity. Without getting into the wheres and whyfores of the International Date Line, let's just say that the concept of arriving in a country two days after I left my place of origin (in this case, Denver, Colorado), was just too much for my poor little brain to process. As a result, on the evening of August 12th I found myself at LAX, buckled into a seat on a Qantas flight. Since Alex was set to depart from the same airport a few hours after me, I shared my excitement with her via text, certain that she would match my own enthusiasm. That was the horrifying moment when I discovered: 1) Alex's flight to Australia didn't leave until the next day; 2) In 14 hours, I would be arriving in a country where I didn't know a single soul, where I had no international phone service, no contact phone numbers, no transportation, and (since I was essentially piggy-backing on Alex's trip) no idea where the hell I was even supposed to go when I got there.
While I sat on the plane, basically crapping my pants and contemplating an exit strategy that involved deplaning and running, screaming, through the terminal, Alex flew into action from her home in L.A. A few minutes later, Alex texted me: "Looks like best option is to cab to QT Hotel unless I get someone who can pick you up. I don't actually know where these people live." This rather unpromising communication was interrupted by the flight attendant's announcement that all electronic devises were to be turned off and stowed for takeoff. As the plane pulled away from the gate, my final message to Alex was the text equivalent of a death rattle: "Hopefully all will be sorted out on the other side." By "the other side," I'm not sure if I meant "Brisbane, Australia" or "the afterlife." Maybe a little of both.
Fortunately, Australians are some of the friendliest people on the planet, and Alex was able to find a total stranger in Brisbane to pick me up from the airport and drive me to the hotel in Surfer's Paradise. Alex arrived the next day, and with that rather large travel hiccup out of the way, the adventure began. After a few days in Surfer's Paradise, the two of us rented a car and drove to Sydney--stopping off in picturesque little towns along the way, such as Coffs Harbour and Nambucca Heads--where we spent a few days touring the city and hiking in the Blue Mountains. My romantic comedy Alice in Wonderland is partially based on this trip "down the rabbit hole."