Thursday, July 2, 2009

Interview with Debut Novelist Samantha Wilde Author of This Little Mommy Stayed Home

The novel introduces Joy McGuire who has gone from being skinny and able to speak in complete sentences to someone who hasn’t changed her sweatpants in weeks. But now with a new baby to care for, she feels like a woman on the brink and as she scrambles to recapture the person she used to be she takes another look at the woman she is: a stay-at-home mom in love with her son, if a bit addled about everything else. As a new mom herself, Wilde, a graduate of Yale Divinity School, wrote THIS LITTLE MOMMY STAYED HOME after the birth of her son when she was experiencing the ups and downs of new motherhood

Do you have show and tell with your first draft? Who do you trust for honest reaction, or is so fragile you show it to one you love who you know will be kind?

My mother, Nancy Thayer, is almost always my first reader. She’s just published her 19th novel and as a bestselling writer who’s been in the industry for thirty years I trust her opinion. She’s a good critic for me, not too soft or too hard, and I always know she has my best interests in mind.

What has brought you the greatest joy since you were published, and what has caused you the greatest angst?

Publicity has been difficult. I find self-promotion challenging on many levels. I don’t know what I’m doing, but I know I need to do something. My greatest joy? Probably realizing that my happiness has nothing to do with my book. I know that’s counterintuitive, but here’s the thing. When you long to be a published writer your whole life, you imagine when it happens, something will change—fireworks, lottery-style money, fame, etc. Getting the book published has put my dreams into perspective. I feel so blessed to have the book out there, but I am also relieved to find that my life is rich enough to sustain the possibility that it is—simply—a book. My treasure is in my children and my family. Strange kind of joy, isn’t it?

Do you have a favorite genre? If so, who are your three favorite writers? If not, who are your three favorite writers and how have they influenced your work?

I am a cross-genre reader. I don’t have three favorite writers—that’s too few! I adore Anne Lammott as well as Alice Hoffman, Cynthia Kaplan, Jen Lancaster, Caitlin Flanagan, Oscar Wilde, among many, many others, and in no particular order.

What was the one thing you learned in getting your book published that you were really surprised to find out?

You never get to the top of the mountain. Getting published is not a lighting bolt. Life does not change in any substantive way. You never arrive at the place you long to be from outward things. The inward changes are cool, though. I feel like, impossibly, I am learning to be more gracious.

What is one of your strangest / most quirky author experiences?

Telling people I’ve just published a book. It’s amazing to me how they respond. I feel like I’ve just announced that I floss. I’m surprised by how “not-a-big-deal” it is to most people, when it’s such a hard world to get in to.


Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Great interview! I love your comment on reactions about your writing from non-writers. I get such odd reactions that I frequently just say, "I'm a mom" when asked what I do.

Mystery Writing is Murder

Samantha Wilde said...

Thanks for having me on! What fun.

Elizabeth, I love your answer. I tend NOT to even tell people about my book, though that became a problem when I wanted to promote it. "I'm a mom," seems like a much more reasonable answer, and while it might bore people, it doesn't confuse them!

JLC said...

As I anticipate the paper version of my second novel, I try to find common ground with those who are succeeding with their books and without big name fanfare. It's so difficult even to maintain hope of readers outside our own acquaintance when we haven't the talent for self-exposure and self-promotion that seem to be essential just to persuade a publisher to take a chance on us again.
Thanks for your upbeat post. I needed that.

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