Every once in a while I will be posting a "5 Q & A" interview with the authors of the books I review. Ellen Meister, author of Secret Confessions of the Applewood PTA, was kind enough to be the first.
1.) Who are you?
Once upon a time I was an advertising and marketing person, but I gave that up when I had my first kid. Now I have three—ages 15, 12 and 9, and spend my time driving carpools, picking up stray socks, going to and from the supermarket, wasting time online and writing novels.
2.) How difficult was it to write a novel and be a mom at the same time?
As trite as this sounds, it was really only a matter of making the decision that this was what I wanted to do. Or, more accurately, needed to do. Once you get to that point, you can find a way to make it work no matter how busy you are. For me, it meant getting up at five every morning and writing for two hours before the family awoke. Now that all the kidlets are in school, I also have a bit of time during the day.
3.) One of your characters plays guitar as a hobby, and another has a beautiful voice but refuses to sing “in public”. Where did those ideas come from?
Such an interesting question, Lynn! My secret confession today is that when I create a character who's a musician or any kind of artist, it's usually a substitute for making her a writer. I think it's natural for writers to look inside themselves for characters, but it's also a problem, because it would get awfully boring, not to mention cliché and narcissistic, if the protagonist of every novel was a writer. (Unless, of course, you're John Irving, in which case you can write an entire novel where every character is a writer, and it can be wonderful and fresh and funny and original because you're, you know, John Irving. See A Widow for One Year.)
4.) How does it feel to have published a novel?
Publishing a novel feels like winning the lottery, except without the money. Seriously, it was my greatest dream in life to see my name on the cover of novel in a bookstore, and it's a pretty heady feeling to see it come true.
5.) What’s next for you?
I have a novel in the works called The Smart One. It's a story about three adult sisters who continue to define themselves by their childhood roles, until the discovery of a dead body under the house next door starts to unravel their past. It will be published by HarperCollins in 2008.
Thank you so much, Ellen!
You can get your copy of Secret Confessions of the Applewood PTA at bookstores online now, and it will also be available for purchase at Target stores beginning September 2nd.