American writer proud to call Australia home

AUTHOR: Sara James has just released her third book.

AUTHOR: Sara James has just released her third book.

JOURNALIST turned author Sara James can relate to the gag Modern Family used about standing on your head when you're Down Under.

For an American in Australia, it makes the world seem right for a split second.

"I did laugh at that joke," James said.

"As a newcomer you do feel a bit like (Australia is the opposite) of America. Everything about (Australia) is bewitching and intriguing."

James has just released her third book, An American in Oz, and is currently jetting about the country promoting it. She arrives in Bendigo next Wednesday to promote it.

Interest in the book has been very positive, something James is excited about.

"There has been a lot of interest in central Victoria, which is very gratifying," James said.

"This is my adopted home. My in-laws live in Castlemaine and Bendigo was one of the first old gold cities I saw when I came here."

James' book tells her story of arriving in Australia as a newlywed and adapting to her husband's home country.

In America James was an NBC correspondent in New York.

She now lives halfway between Castlemaine and Melbourne in the Macedon Ranges and raises two kids – one of whom has special needs, Jacqui – with her husband, Andrew Butcher.

As a reporter in a new country, James was excited to journal her new life.

"I wanted to write a book about what it was like to have the whole family living with a rare disorder," she said.

"Not just Jacqui's journey but the whole family's.

"My husband grew up in the country and my older daughter is a chip off his block. We love the Ranges, it's been a real joy (to live there).

"It really is a hidden jewel that isn't as hidden anymore. There is no doubt country Victoria is stunning."

Australia has thrown up a few challenges for James.

She openly admits she struggles with rhyming slang and sayings like "carrying on like a pork chop" but James has also had run-ins with Australian animals including emus and snakes.

"How does a pork chop actually carry on?" she said.

"I don't know but I can still picture that emu running alongside the car.

"I didn't believe Jacqui when she said it but she was 100 per cent correct."

Jacqui's intellectual disorder, KCNQ2, along with Sara's journey was looked at in a recent episode of Australian Story. It made an impression in America too.

"It was uploaded to YouTube and we heard from hundreds of people. It was astonishing and overwhelming," James said.

"We went to America and connected to families and met a doctor in Houston doing groundbreaking research that would be a cure for a cure for a family. What a world it is when that can happen."

Sara James will speak at the Bendigo Library at 6pm on Wednesday, May 7. For bookings phone 5442 7364 or log on to

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