I’m writing this post on Mothers’ Day, so the topic and the feelings are at the front of my brain. And, before I start, let me say one thing – I don’t mean to trivialize being a mother or raising a child. At all. I’m not a mother, but I know a lot of them. I even have one. Raising a child is difficult, demanding, and terrifying. This post is meant to be fun, and nothing more.
Hello everyone, and thanks to Delilah for having me back.
I’m late getting this post done because I’ve been celebrating the birthday of my third book. You see the posts all the time during release week. “Happy book birthday!” And in part, it is like my birthday because I’m getting all the presents and attention. But it’s also a birthday for the book. The time when it leaves my care and goes out into the world. So this post is about how books are like babies.
- Good manuscripts take time. Not always nine months – sometimes less, most of the time more. During that period, they grow and shift. They keep me awake, rattling around in my head rather than my uterus.
- I love to say that writing keeps me from snacking because my hands are busy. In part, that’s true. However, I still snack. This latest release will always be “the book where I gave up Diet Coke and craved kettle corn.” My new manuscript is “the cherry Pop-Tart one.” Seriously, the other night I had cherry Pop-Tarts and blush wine for dinner.
- It’s harder than it looks. Enough said, I think.
- Readers and friends ask me all the time which book is my favorite. I don’t have one. It’s impossible. They’re all different. Some get on my nerves, some make me laugh, some make me cry – some do it simultaneously.
- They look like me – sort of. There are pieces of me in each book. A heroine’s nervous nature, a hero’s love of chocolate.
- Showing them off. After I finish a manuscript, I hand it to my critique partners, my beta readers, and eventually an editor. I dress it as prettily as I can, and wait for feedback – which isn’t always positive, honestly. At times it’s like hearing, “Is his nose going to straighten out? What’s that rash on her face? Is that a stain on his shirt?”
- Letting them go. I’ve watched my friends and family agonize over leaving their children – at daycare, with a sitter, at school for the first day. At some point, the child is no longer solely theirs, and they worry. What if someone is mean to them and I’m not around to defend my baby? What if they get hurt and I’m not there? What if they don’t behave the way I’d hoped? As an author, there’s a point where I leave the book for the reader and I walk away, hoping that people actually like my “baby.”
- They are yours forever. A book is never not I’ll worry about it, fuss over it, and brag about it for the rest of my life.
- Doing it again. We’ve all heard new mothers say. “Nope. She’ll be an only child.” (See #3.) And then something makes them want to do it again. I’m the same way after each book. I wonder if I can do it again, if anyone will want me to. And, in the end, I can’t help it. Something pulls me back.
- My mother has kept every school project my brothers and I did, including the book I made in second grade where I misspelled “pepole” and my ribbon for finishing a race in 17th place (out of 18). I will always, always be proud of my books.
In continuing the post-Mothers’ Day theme, I’m going to wave wildly at my mother, who reads my books but worries about the language in them. And I’m going to share my latest release, which contains Wallis Quinn – the candidate for worst mother of the year.
If you’ll share a story about your mom or your children, I’ll pick one contributor to receive a copy of Hard Silence. The giveaway will close at midnight tomorrow, and I’ll post the winner in the comment thread the next day.
Thanks for stopping by!
They dug in, and Jeff rolled his eyes as he swallowed. “Jesus, that’s good. I’m glad you could get us in.”
“This is the only pull I have, other than getting a discount at the farm supply.”
He choked on his tea, and then settled in for another bite. “How long have you lived here?”
“You moved here?”
“Yes,” she said around a mouthful of tomato and feta, “from Tacoma.”
She heard the words leave her mouth, felt the air chill her skin. It’s okay. Nobody died in Washington. It’s not a secret. It’s on my records at school.
School. Buck had taken her into town and registered her for junior high. Wallis had slammed dishes and drawers for days afterward.
“So you grew up in Washington?” Jeff asked.
This was normal date chatter. She knew he’d grown up in Tennessee. He’d told her. He just wanted—
He can’t know.
She shook her head. “We. Bounced. Around. A lot.”
“After your father died?”
How did he know her father had died? She hadn’t said anything. She didn’t tell. She didn’t—
He put his hand over hers. “Sorry, professional hazard. You were so kind about my dad, I sort of guessed. I didn’t mean to freak you out.”
See. There. Not my fault. He guessed. And he still didn’t know particulars.
“When did he die?”
“I was four.”
I don’t know. I didn’t see it. All I know was the floor was all red like when I’d spilled Kool-Aid, and I was worried Mama would think I’d made a mess, but Papa was there. He was so still, and Mama was so mad. Her voice made me cry.
She looked away from him, trying to catch her thoughts and to stop the words. And there, in the corner, with her back to them. There was a lady with chestnut-brown hair, just like hers, cut into the severe style Wallis had always liked. An expensive bag sat at her feet, which were clad in designer shoes, and she reached a manicured hand for her napkin. Diamonds glittered under the lights.
Only the best, Abby. I deserve the best, and I’m going to have it. No one’s going to stop me.
Oh God, oh God, oh God. She should’ve known better than to try this. Wallis always knew. She blinked across the table. She’d told Jeff a secret. She was here with him, holding his hand, enjoying dinner with her friends. They were all in danger, because she’d been happy.
I’m sorry. I’m sorry.
“Darlin’, what’s wrong?”
She stumbled to her feet. “I have to wash my hands.”
“Ooh-kay.” He smiled up at her. “I’ll be right here. Hurry back before I eat all the mozzarella.”
I’m so sorry.
About the Author
Mia Kay spent years writing legal documents and keeping people out of trouble. Now she spends her days looking for ways to get her characters into trouble. She lives in Arkansas with her husband, who doesn’t mind discussing (and sometimes causing) mayhem over breakfast. She’s always worried her mother will stop by unannounced and find her in her pajamas until far too late on Saturday morning.