Researching Organ Transplants, the Heart and Chocolate: Q&A with Josephine Moon, Author of The Gift of Life

Researching Organ Transplants, the Heart and Chocolate: Q&A with Josephine Moon, Author of The Gift of Life

About Josephine Moon:

Josephine Moon was born and raised in Brisbane, had a false start in Environmental Science before completing a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and then a postgraduate degree in education. Twelve years and ten manuscripts later, her first novel The Tea Chest was picked up for publication and then shortlisted for an ABIA award. Her bestselling contemporary fiction novels are published internationally. They include The Tea Chest, The Chocolate Promise, The Beekeeper’s Secret, Three Gold Coins and The Gift of Life. 

In 2018, Josephine organised the ‘Authors for Farmers’ appeal, raising money to assist drought-affected farming communities. She is passionate about literacy, and is a proud sponsor of Story Dogs and The Smith Family. 

She now lives on acreage in the beautiful Noosa hinterland with her husband and son, and a tribe of animals that seems to increase in size each year. She wouldn’t have it any other way.

Purchase a copy of The Gift of Life here  // Read our review of The Gift of Life here

Your latest book, The Gift of Life, is about a woman who is given a new chance at life after receiving a heart transplant. Can you tell us a bit more about the book?

The Gift of Life is about two women, connected by the one heart–the recipient of that heart (Gabby) and the woman who donated her husband’s organs (Krystal). Two years on from Krystal’s husband’s death, she still has no idea why Evan was in another city the night he died. Two years post transplant, Gabby still lives with the burden of knowing that she is alive because someone else has died. When the two women see each other for the first time, it sets off a chain of events that brings them together to work to solve the mystery of Evan’s death, and move them both towards a place of peace. The story is set in Melbourne, against a backdrop of Gabby’s boutique coffee house and coffee roasting business, named The Tin Man. It’s part mystery, part family drama and part romance.

What inspired the idea behind the book?

Twenty years ago, I saw a woman on The Phil Donahue Show. She had received a heart transplant and had a remarkably strong connection to her donor. Then in 2017, I saw the first episode of the ABC medical drama, Pulse, in which a young woman contracted a virus, which went to her heart and gave her heart failure. She also needed a transplant and my memory flew back to that time when I saw that episode of the Phil Donahue Show and I knew I wanted to write about the incredible connections between donors and recipients. The mystique of the heart is of great interest to me–we talk about living from the heart, listening to our heart and following our heart. It’s pretty clear to me that there’s a lot more to a heart than just a muscle that beats every minute of every day for our whole life… until one day it stops. I also love mysteries and really wanted to write another mystery story.

You did a lot of research around organ transplants for the book. Did you find researching the book difficult?

Research is my happy place. I love it. It’s where I start to find my characters and their voices and stories. I also love anatomy and biology, so all the medical research was actually quite fun, as was all the coffee research. The part I loved most, though, was speaking to two heart transplant recipients about their experiences. That really helped me decide how best to structure the book, giving a voice to both the recipient and the donor family.

What’s your daily writing routine like and what are you working on at the moment?

Now that my son is in school, I work pretty consistently between 8am and 1pm before finishing up to do the afternoon and evening family ‘shifts’.

I’ve just finished the first draft of my 2020 book, which is set in the Cotswolds in England and follows and Australian woman as she and her son relocate to a small village to help revive the dying town. It’s full of small town politics, complex family dynamics, friendships, romance, secrets, and cake!

You’re described as having a passion for imported fine chocolate. In your opinion, what chocolate is the best?

I have imported chocolate from Rococo in England. It’s fantastic and probably still consider it the best I’ve had. When I was in England three years ago, I got one of their hot chocolates… they are incredible! As for chocolate that you can easily buy in Australia, and one that is good for you, Lindt 70% is a great choice, but I also love Green&Blacks milk organic for a sweet treat.

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                      Publisher details

                      The Gift of Life
                      Author
                      Josephine Moon
                      Publisher
                      Penguin
                      Genre
                      Fiction
                      Released
                      02 April, 2019

                      Synopsis

                      From the bestselling author of The Chocolate Promise and Three Gold Coins comes a colourful and heartwarming story about a cafe owner who is given a new chance at life after receiving a heart transplant – but her new life comes at a price.You’ve been given the gift of life, now go live it.Gabby McPhee is the owner of The Tin Man, a chic new cafe and coffee roasting house in Melbourne. The struggles of her recent heart transplant are behind her and life is looking up – until a mysterious customer appears in the cafe, convinced that Gabby has her deceased husband’s heart beating inside her chest.Krystal Arthur is a bereaved widow, struggling to hold herself and her two young boys together since Evan’s death, and plagued by unanswered questions. Why was her husband in another city the night he died? And why won’t his spirit rest?Krystal is convinced that Gabby holds the clues she needs to move towards a brighter future. Gabby needs Krystal to help her let go of her troubled past. The two women must come together to try to unlock the secrets in Evan’s heart in order to set free their own.By the internationally bestselling author of The Chocolate Promise, this is a profound and moving novel about the deeper mysteries of love and loss – and the priceless gift of life.
                      Josephine Moon
                      About the author

                      Josephine Moon

                      Josephine Moon was born and raised in Brisbane, had a false start in Environmental Science before completing a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and then a postgraduate degree in education. Twelve years and ten manuscripts later, her first novel The Tea Chest was picked up for publication and then shortlisted for an ABIA award. Her bestselling contemporary fiction novels are published internationally. They include The Tea Chest, The Chocolate Promise, The Beekeeper’s Secret, Three Gold Coins and The Gift of Life. 

                      In 2018, Josephine organised the ‘Authors for Farmers’ appeal, raising money to assist drought-affected farming communities. She is passionate about literacy, and is a proud sponsor of Story Dogs and The Smith Family. 

                      She now lives on acreage in the beautiful Noosa hinterland with her husband and son, and a tribe of animals that seems to increase in size each year. She wouldn’t have it any other way.

                      Books by Josephine Moon

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