Kunekune spice up life on island

By Seamus Boyer, Sarah Hardie

Softly spoken author Jeanette Aplin lives the good life on d'Urville Island with a candle by the bed and her husband and kunekune pigs for company.
She invites New Zealand to walk alongside her on the rugged, isolated island as she tells her story in her latest book, The Price of Bacon.
The bestselling author of the Lighthouse series - The Lighthouse Keeper's Wife and The Lighthouse Keeper's Children's Mother - visited Hedley's Booksellers on Monday with her husband, Pip, to promote her new book about living on the island with kunekune pigs.
After writing about her experience living on Steven's Island and Dog Island where Pip worked as a lighthouse keeper, Jeanette began her latest story in 2004, and finished it last year.
"The Lighthouse series was a success, so I decided to write another one. In this book, I invite the reader to walk along with me for six years of my life."
Jeanette and Pip bought their property on d'Urville Island, on the north-western side of the Marlborough Sounds, about 40 years ago, and moved there 28 years ago and raised three children - two of their own and one fostered.
They keep a candle by the bed, as they live without electricity or roads, with solar power to run their computer to keep in touch with the outside world and for Jeanette to write.
"The first half of my first book I wrote in longhand and then on a primitive computer, so with the proceeds of the first book I bought myself a decent computer."
Jeanette's love for kunekune pigs began when she took on her daughter's pigs, which were bred as pets for people living as far away as England and the US.
"They are very trainable, good-natured, friendly and smart animals," said Jeanette, "so of course, many people have fallen in love with kunekune pigs."
In The Price of Bacon, Jeanette writes about her life in relation to the pigs, and she has had a good response to the book so far on the tour.

"Few people have read it yet because it's only been on the shelves for a week, but of those who have read it, they've said they didn't want to stop and three of them were men.
"I also try to speak up for the animals and their right to a happy life, so that's why I called it The Price of Bacon."
She has been passionate about writing since childhood, and remembers writing her first story for her mother.
"She home-schooled me for a year before I started school, and she somehow made my first story seem like magic to me - I just loved writing."
Jeanette intends to continue writing, with three more books in the pipeline, including the third instalment of the Lighthouse series.
"When I started The Price of Bacon, I was halfway through the third book in the Lighthouse series, so I think that will be the next one."


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