Reporting Lives - Kindle ebook by Debra Pickett

When Chicago Sun-Times columnist Debra Pickett followed some local do-gooders all the way to East Africa in 2004, she had no idea what she was getting herself into.  The trip, which included a climb up Mount Kilimanjaro and, most significantly, a visit to Nairobi's Mathare Valley slum, was life-changing.  In the months and years that followed, Pickett's writing -- and her world view -- evolved from "Sex and the CIty" casual to "Save The Planet" serious.  In 2007, she left the Sun-Times and focused her writing career on producing this debut novel.  REPORTING LIVES is the story of a TV reporter, Sara Simone, who, like Pickett, follows a news assignment from Chicago to Nairobi.  At home, she's a rising star, well-known for her ability to nab those tearful "How does it feel?" interviews with grieving widows and shattered families.  In Kenya, though, she finds herself unable to do her job.  She just can't seem to maintain her usual cool distance from tragedy.  She is simply overwhelmed.

With an insider's knowledge of the secrets of the news business, an experienced traveler's sense of place and a great writer's talent for description, Pickett's fictional narrative feels absolutely real.  The sights, sounds and smells of Kenya are deeply felt on every page.  Pickett's heroine, Sara Simone, is a complex figure -- fascinating and flawed.  When Sara walks away from her big story, the book takes a turn for the adventurous, as the big city reporter wanders out of Nairobi's urban slums in into the heart of rural Kenya.  She winds up at an old safari lodge in the Rift Valley, a place that feels, at first, like the ideal quiet haven to figure things out and plan her next move.  But trouble is brewing up along the Somali border and nothing is quite as it seems.  Can Sara salvage the career she abandoned in the slums?  Does she even want to?

Living a life, she soon discovers, can be far more complicated than merely reporting about one.

Debra Pickett has written extensively about her own personal transformation, on Huffington Post, Project Eve and her own website,  In this work of fiction, she further explores some of the themes that have informed her writing in the last decade: finding balance between work and life, forging meaningful relationships in a callous world and discovering ways to help others without completely losing oneself.