March 8, 2007

3 Questions with Melanie Hauser (and how I know my dog is stupid)

Please ya’ll give a friendly-type wave to Melanie Lynn Hauser , author of SUPER MOM SAVES THE WORLD , the sequel to CONFESSIONS OF SUPER MOM.


The book opens six months after the Horrible Swiffer Accident that left her a superhero, and Birdie Lee is still adjusting. For starters, she's hearing voices and having lustful thoughts about Mr. Clean. Then there's the fact that her daughter is suddenly sporting a bright pink streak in her hair, courtesy of her new friend Vienna (and if recent history has taught us anything, we all know that a girl named after a foreign city is going to be trouble). Birdie's son is experiencing his first case of puppy love, her nerdy scientist love interest has just proposed marriage, and her annoying ex-husband is suddenly less annoying. Which can only mean he's up to no good.

But things get even more sinister when her hometown of Astro Park gets Little League fever in a big way. Rabid parents, performance-enhancing Gatorade and a domed stadium on shaky - potentially explosive - ground are just the beginning of Super Mom's problems; throw in a ticked off school janitor and a corrupt mayor, and Super Mom has her hands full. Can one superhero — one mother — struggle to keep her teenagers in tow with one hand while saving her hometown from disaster with the other — while trying to find time for herself as she plans her marriage to her very own Super Man? Only if she’s Super Mom!

Booklist says, “Hauser's sequel to Confessions of Super Mom (2005) is an amusing and sharp critique of the thankless job mothers perform as they juggle home and work. Every mom will want to be Super Mom.”

Now, here’s Melanie, to tell us about the weirdest dern case of book promo fever I’ve ever heard of…

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: I think growing up in the Midwest did influence me. The Super Mom books are set in Kansas - a little homage to Clark Kent and Smallville - but they could be set anywhere in the middle of the country. Not the coasts. Probably not the south. But the middle. I think that New York influences too much literature, actually - that since publishing is located there, "New York" books tend to be published more and better than other books. There's that New York-centric view of the world. But honestly, I don't know that many people in the Midwest who are that interested in reading about another high-powered mother with nanny problems. That's not our world. So being a Midwestern writer really did influence me to write about a more blue-collared character, and I'm fortunate in that a lot of the reviews for this book have picked up on that - in a good way, as touting them as an antidote to the proliferation of those urban mommy books I was talking about.

JJ: What's the weirdest thing you have ever done to try to promote your work or get the word out about a specific book?

MLH: Oh boy! I once spent a hot summer afternoon in a book mobile, dressed in costume as Super Mom. Did it result in anyone buying my book? Nope. Did it result in little children looking at me and crying? Yep. Did it result in me wondering if Hemingway had ever done such a thing? Oh, double yep!!!

JJ: Tell us about your own experience with being a "super mom"

MLH: I'm not really a super mom - but then again, I suppose I am. We all are. Every woman who stays up all night with a croupy baby,, who wants to run out and yank the schoolyard bully's ears when he teases her child - every woman who has to juggle a slew of secret identities as she tends to the house, the kids, the community, and yet tries to find her own spotlight, too. Showing this - honoring this, in a way - was the main reason I chose to write the Super Mom books. Because we're all superheroes. And we deserve to be honored this way - even though, even for Super Mom, that hardly ever happens. She's taken for granted, too - just as we all are. But she finds out that she's strong enough on her own.

Last but not least. I had to show the final proof that my stupid dog is indeed very, very stupid. The camera was RIGHT there, so he remained in this predicament only 4 seconds longer than he would have had I not paused to immortalize his genius on film.


Dude. I love my stupid dog.

Posted by joshilyn at March 8, 2007 6:18 AM

That picture is hilarious!!

I remember a few years ago, some researcher was trying to rank how smart certain dog breeds are (or aren't) and one of the tests was to throw a towel over the dog's head and see how quickly s/he got rid of it. In the interview I saw, the researcher was laughing, saying the basset hound "failed" the test because he was just so laid back that he never bothered to try to get rid of the towel at all. He just kind of seemed to go "oh, hey, that's nice" and hunkered down for a nap, towel and all. :-D

Posted by: DebR at March 8, 2007 8:53 AM

Your dog is so happenin' that ALL the pooches will be sporting that same look soon.What did Schubert think?

Posted by: Roxanne at March 8, 2007 9:34 AM

Book sounds interesting. May have to check it out.
And the dog? Oh, that's just priceless.

Posted by: dee at March 8, 2007 10:43 AM

Haha! My dog Muffy did the same thing years ago, back when McDonald's still sold Happy Meals in cardboard boxes. Unless Bagel REALLY <3's orange soda, I think Muffy made out better than he did - the smacking and snorking sounds that came from the box could only be translated to utter bliss. While it was hilarious, I, of course, was out a Happy Meal.

Posted by: Eighmee at March 8, 2007 12:18 PM

Actually, had a dumb cat that did it with a yogurt container once. No, I won't decide which critter is dumber!

Posted by: Brigitte at March 8, 2007 12:51 PM

My brother's basset once walked into a large (empty) bag of dog food and then couldn't get out. I came home to a HOWLING bag of food with just the very tip of a white tail sticking out (still wagging even in her incarcerated state). I swain that if that dog's tail ever stopped wagging she would drop dead.

Posted by: Chris at March 8, 2007 2:16 PM

My Jack Russell terrier spends days digging in my sons' beds looking for them. My boys go back to school, of course fail to make their beds, and the dog keeps diggin' under the sheets like, "I know there was a boy in here last time I looked. He spends so much darn time in this dang bed, betcha he's here."

Poor, sweet, stupid dog. He just doesn't get it until I take the sheets off the bed and march them to the laundry room. Then he sits there and watches the machine, until, I guess, boy smell disapears.Then he just has to make do with their dirty socks!

I love that dawg!

Posted by: Gin at March 8, 2007 3:07 PM

Got to go read the Super Mom books!

Particularly since I'm almost done with the first book in the Edgy Mama mystery series, and I'm sure all the lovers of Super Mom are going to want to meet Edgy, right?

I love your stupid dog too. Great shot!

Posted by: Edgy Mama at March 8, 2007 3:24 PM

Oh bless his little doggie heart! Look at his floppy ears wedged against the box. That is hilarious!

I had cat that would get the "night crazies" (run around like crazy then go in the bathroom and meow. over and over). I awoke one time to weird sounding night crazies, turned on the light, and there he was, running around with his head stuck in a kleenex box.

Posted by: Jennifer G. at March 8, 2007 4:13 PM

I think I have those boots you are wearing.

I heart Super Mom. It's on my wish-list!

Posted by: Heather Cook at March 8, 2007 4:14 PM

Your dog makes me happy, even from 1000 miles away. That's one powerful dog :)

I am an apartment dweller. [Therefore] I have two cats. They are named Stan and Oliver. Oliver is the smart one. He opens cabinets to find cat treats. Which is why I now keep those in the freezer. He's big enough to open doors with knobs, and has figured out how (fortunately, only if it's not shut all the way.) When he escapes, he never tries the same escape route twice. Though he's more circumspect since the last time, when that strategy landed him hock-deep in mud.

Stan, however, is not the smart one. Stan talks to the furnace. Stan chews on nail files. He has yet to figure out that if your prey sees you, you are no longer stalking it. And he once managed to get his head through the handle of a plastic bag. He was so distressed by this that he ran and hid under the queen sized bed. Which the Boy Fiend then had to *lift up* to get at the cat, so he could disentangle the bag from the cat's head.

Oh, and I've hijacked your Mental Illness Number concept on my journal. With lots of credit, of course.

Posted by: Alix R at March 8, 2007 4:52 PM

What a sweet Dog. They are so much like kids. I'm sure one of my kids got their head stuck in something before. My dog, BJ, is a squirrel dog. She will stand at the window until she sees one move and then burst forth a bark that would wake the dead. If she's really excited, she'll jump at the window. Last month she broke out a pane. Didn't hurt her, she just ran to the door to chase the squirrel. My cat Bandit was missing for two days. Figured out he was shut up in hubby's shop, where a fish cleaning was happening. Bandit was at the door meowing like a Banshee (what's a Banshee, anyway?) He was just a little hungry, but is fine.

Posted by: Rhonda at March 8, 2007 8:49 PM

Do you want an answer to the Banshee (or strictly speaking Bann Sidhe) question? They announce when someone's going to die by shrieking.

What a fabulous picture of a perfectly wonderful dawg! He's obviously not completely happy, no tail waggies, but absolutely trusting that you'll get him out safely.

Have you seen the flying howler monkey toys? You put your fingers into their paws, haul back on their feet and let fly, and they scream when they land. I shot one today and our older dog leaped up to pounce on it, anxious to kill it and save us from it. We were laughing while we saved the poor now-soggy toy. Gotta love the pooches!

Posted by: Fran at March 8, 2007 11:22 PM

Thank you for the explanation of a Bann Sidhe. I pretty well had it pegged, didn't I? And Bandit was howling because my husband was going to die! For locking him in the shop!

Posted by: Rhonda at March 9, 2007 3:30 PM

I have to say that I was just scanning through and saw the pic of your dog-- now THAT is funny.

Posted by: parrotzmom at March 12, 2007 11:08 AM

I'm pretty sure I own your stupid dog's stupid twin. I had to do a double take because I thought it was MY stupid dog sticking out of a box.

Posted by: Stacy at March 16, 2007 10:00 PM