September 14, 2006

3 Questions with Melanie Lynne Hauser

SORRY! NO ICON THIS TIME – I am experimenting.

Now is the time on shprockets when we try out MS WORD. Remember ages and ages and OH JUST AGES ago, I had to quit writing my blog posts in Word because something about Moveable Type would then change every ‘ into a % and every “ into a & and add little LINES and SQUIGGLES so that it looked like I had brain Martians adding secret messages for my “special” readers. You know, the ones in the tinfoil hats. SO. I’ve been blogging without benefit of Spell Check, straight out of word pad, for nigh on two years now, oh beloveds, and the gods of crapulent self-editing have feasted richly on my incompetent typing.

BUT, Scott got me the NEW MT. If this posts and looks normal, then you can count on 40% less typos from here on out. Maybe 50%. Can I get a HUZZAH? Or, if you are British, AN Huzzah?

Today I am turning this blog over to the mercies of MS word, and to my friend Melanie Lynne Hauser who penned Confessions of Supermom , a book that is SO ready to spank some crime and send it to bed without supper. I’ve had Melanie as a guest before, but now she has touched knuckles with her hardback debut and the book said,
And she said, simultaneously of course,
and stayed exactly herself. Which, in my opinion, is a good thing.

Publisher’s Weekly says, “Like its title character, this debut novel has a secret identity… unexpectedly poignant and packs an emotional punch despite the cheery veneer.”

As an added bonus, CoSM is has a new cover, a sequel on the way, and is 100% Gleek free.


JJ: A lot of writers read this blog----how did you… Find an agent,

MLH: The old fashioned way. I cold-queried a lot of agents. I had no inside scoop, no contacts, no cleaning lady who worked for such-and-such in publishing. (And believe me, I've met authors - invariably based in New York - for whom this was the way they got into publishing!). So I'm living proof that you can have few writing credits, no MFA, and zero contacts, and still be published.

JJ:… sell that first book,

MLH: Well, I wrote three previous books that weren't good enough. Each one was a learning experience; each got me closer and closer to publication. I think I'm blessed with an almost childlike attention span. That is - I get bored easily, so I was never the kind of person to spend years and years obsessing with one project. I just have to move on, and I think that was a blessing for me. It helped me take the important things I learned with each project and discard the rest without wasting valuable time trying to flog a dead project. I truly think that being childishly unfocused was a help, in this case.

JJ: …and come to realize you wanted to pursue writing as a career instead of a personal passion or a hobby.

Once I was published, I realized I didn't want to be a one hit wonder. I realized that I loved doing this, that I had so many more stories to tell, and so that's when I really became most anxious about publishing as a business, and all the obstacles there are to that goal. It's still a passion, but it's also, now, a business. And I have to respect it for that, and learn as I go along.

JJ: How important is location to you as a writer, or, a better way to say that might be, could these books be set anywhere else?

MLH: Actually, I never thought location was important. In Super Mom, I made up an entire town, because I thought it was easier that way; I didn't want readers emailing me, complaining that I got the streets wrong. It was set in Kansas mainly as a tribute to Superman, but I think it could be set almost anywhere.

However, I just finished a manuscript which just HAD to be set in western Massachusetts. I have no idea why. But that's where the characters lived; the industrial northeast was a huge part of the book, and then all of a sudden New York City, too, became very important to the whole attitude of the book, and I have absolutely no idea why that happened. But it did. I could not have written the book I wrote if it hadn't taken place in the east. This is one of those mysterious, pretentious authorly things I generally hate, but I can't explain it any other way.

JJ: Tell us about where you are in your life and how it influenced this book?

MLH: While I think the protagonist in CONFESSIONS OF SUPER MOM is the least like me, of the protagonists I've written thus far, I do think she and I share one important issue. We're both at a time in our lives when we can see the light at the end of the tunnel, childrearing-wise. In other words, we can see there will be a time, and it's sooner rather than later, when the kids will be out of the house, on their own, and suddenly we're faced with a big question: Who am I, if I'm not "the Mom?"

I was definitely starting to explore this in my own life when I sat down to write Super Mom. And so my protagonist is also at a similar junction, and at the beginning of the book she's letting it overwhelm her, causing her to look backward, be overcome with memories. I think this is a very easy choice to make, for many women. However, by the end of the book she's learned to embrace all she's done as a mother, appreciate her children where they are now and for who they will be as adults, and use it all to propel her forward into a new, exciting future. That's the big point I wanted to make with this book. Now, I think I need to read it myself, from time to time, so it can sink in!

Posted by joshilyn at September 14, 2006 3:38 PM

(IOW, the post looked great to me, with no extra % or & or ^*~#_!!)

I always like reading these 3Q interviews and this one was no exception.

Posted by: DebR at September 14, 2006 11:54 PM

Josh, I totally like admire your capacity for work!! : )

Also, I find it very admirable the way you host/interview other thriving writers/authors!!

Like wow!! Truly though, I've never seen another author do this, until YOU!! Wonderful-witty YOU!

Says an awful lot about you, I think huh? Brilliance, is worth sharing, and thankyou for sharing yours with us, whom are deficient(speaking for myself of course!!)


Posted by: North at September 15, 2006 12:58 AM

This book is so much fun! Check it out~! :)

Posted by: Martha O'Connor at September 15, 2006 1:40 PM