Kylie Jones, self-published author of The Other Woman
Kylie Jones’ self-published novel The Other Woman begins with the author’s husband telling her, after 28 years of marriage, that he had always wanted to live as a woman. This story is her journey of attempting to support her husband and hold her family together through the challenging years after that conversation.
We interviewed Kylie about why she chose to write her story, why she chose to self-publish, and how her audience has reacted to the book so far.
What inspired you to write The Other Woman, and what made you choose the title?
I had often been told by friends that my story was pretty unique and that it would make a good book. I had always wanted to write and heard that when you start off you should write about what you know. I was angry I guess; I wanted people to know that there were other people involved in this transition and none of us had chosen to be here.
At the time Caitlyn Jenner shared her story there were a few high-profile people out there talking about her bravery. While I agree that it takes a lot of courage to transition I also know that it takes enormous courage to travel a path that is not of your choosing. No-one talked about the family left behind, her wife and her daughters, who not only had to come to terms with their loss but they had to do it in a very public forum. I wanted to tell that story – the one that isn’t told so that people would know that it’s not all about that one person, that there are others who must be just as brave.
I called it ‘The Other Woman’ because when my husband and I were first married I told him that if he was ever unfaithful to me there would be nowhere he could hide. We used to joke about it. So, when this woman arrived on the scene and took my husband away from me – she might just as well have been a mistress because like any affair the result was the same. I lost my husband and my children lost their dad.
The Other Woman by Kylie Jones
MoshPit Publishing (31st May, 2016) Available in both e-book and paperback.
$16.95 pb, 198 pages, $4.19 e-book, 152 pages, ISBN: 1925447669
For sale through Amazon
What have the reactions been so far? Do you think the book will be well received within the transgender community?
I have had some lovely responses to the book. I am particularly proud that people have valued [it] as a good read, that it is well written. But they have also been very generous with their support of us. Most recently someone said to me ‘Thank you for your honesty’. They thought that because I had been prepared to share those things that we did so badly that it would help others to know that you can’t always get it right all the time.
I hope the transgender community will receive it with the intention in which it was written. I understand that my husband had no choice but to take this path, the choice was to live the life that needed to be lived or give up on life altogether. I am glad for her sake that she chose to be her true self.
I would hope too that through our story people within the transgender community can see the damage that is done when you forget you have others in your life who also have feelings and are trying to cope with a loss they cannot comprehend. The transition can become all consuming, I understand that but it doesn’t make the loss any less real for those who are left behind.
I also hope that my support for programs such as Safe Schools and for families whose children are transitioning is understood. If we can support families to enable their children to transition early then much of the hurt experienced by my family can be avoided and these children will have the chance to live happy and fulfilling lives, no longer trapped in the wrong body.
Is there anything in regards to Anne’s coming out that you wish you had done differently? You reflected on this towards the end of the book, but is there anything specific you would have changed?
There are in fact many things I would have liked to have done differently, not because I now know how I would have handled them but because I know the result of what we did was not what I would have hoped for.
Most importantly I would have liked to have taken more control, made Anne more accountable for her behaviour and fought harder for us. I regret deeply that I let what was happening with Anne overwhelm us, swallow us and leave us floundering as we tried to rebuild our lives.
Did you have any hesitations about publishing your story?
I spent many months re-writing my story, with the help of a great friend who helped me with the editing I found I was really proud of the book when it was finished. I often wondered if anyone would be interested in reading it but after I had given the manuscript to a few friends I knew how important it was that our side of the story was told.
I became impatient with publishers who told me ‘they had their transgender story for this year’ and so I chose to self-publish. I found Indie Mosh on a google search. Ally and Jenny were amazing; they were so supportive and so professional that it was one of the best parts of this whole process. It was affordable, I could pay it off in instalments and they managed everything, they even manage my royalties. I can’t believe it but I’ve sold books in the US, Canada and Australia via Amazon and other online suppliers.
What did you learn about yourself while writing The Other Woman?
I learned quite a lot about myself but importantly I learned that I needed to be more honest with myself and that I needed to cut myself some slack.
As I wrote the book I went back over journals I had written at the time and realised how angry I had been, even though I kept saying I wasn’t angry at all. I realised that no matter how many times I said things were okay, they weren’t okay at all. Writing the book gave me a chance to look back and accept that as much as I might have wanted to do things differently, in the end I could only do what I thought was right at the time. It’s all any of us can do.
I also learned that I can write and that I want to write more. I want to write the stories of people who have found the courage to ‘reclaim their ordinary’. I want to celebrate the lives of those who find themselves in the middle of trauma, often not of their own choice, and fight their way back to a life they thought they’d lost – ‘their ordinary’.
And lastly, what are your favourite books? What recommendations would you like to share?
I wish I could say your life will be changed by something like Eat, Pray, Love which I’ve read and which I quite enjoyed, but for what it’s worth my favourite book is Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express. I can read it over and over again and never get bored with the characters or the visions it produces in my head. I do enjoy a good murder mystery. As for a recommendation I think it needs to be The Fry Chronicles – Stephen Fry is one of the most fascinating people and his life is certainly worth reading about.