A Mother Writes About Motherhood
by: Carol Snow
As the author of seven books, let me say this: I’ve always thought that whole “write what you know thing” is overrated. Maybe that’s because I find myself woefully low on novel-worthy first-hand experience, having been cursed with loving parents, a comfortable upbringing, a happy marriage and two generally well-adjusted children. It makes for a nice life – but a good book? Not so much.
Over the years, I have written novels about an undercover journalist, a celebrity double, and a body switcher. I have told stories about a woman whose boyfriend disappears while scuba diving and a teenager who sees ghostly figures in her photographs. None of these plots came from my direct experience (no, not even the one about the body switcher), though of course I have drawn on real emotions, impressions, and opinions, as well as on first-hand knowledge of different locations.
My latest book, What Came First, tells the story of three women who are drawn together when one of them sets off to find her son’s sperm donor. It deals with issues of infertility and assisted reproduction. The word “sperm” appears a lot. (I never want to type that word again. Never.) So – is this the book in which I finally relied on my direct experience? Did I struggle with infertility or use a sperm donor? Um . . . no. And no and no.
I didn’t see that as a problem. It really wasn’t a problem. The Internet provided a wealth of background research, plus I’ve had so many friends struggle with fertility problems that I knew I could reach a kind of emotional truth. But here’s what surprised me: the book is not really about infertility or assisted reproduction, after all. It is a book about motherhood. And that’s something I know a lot about.
My children are sixteen and twelve, smart, beautiful, loving. Every moment with them has been a joy. Ha! Kidding! Well, not about the smart and beautiful bit, but as every parent knows, bringing up kids is hard. There are days when you want to scream and cry. There are days when you do scream and cry. But would you trade them in for anything in the whole world? No, of course not.
I didn’t slip any of my exact experiences into the book. I never do, for a couple of reasons: 1. It would limit my creativity; and 2. It could get me into trouble. But have I been to a scrapbooking party? Yup. Encountered swim instructors who set my teeth on edge? Yup. Had days when I let my kids scarf down junk food in front of the TV for hours at a time just so they’d leave me alone? Guilty as charged.
Sometimes I think that if anyone knew ahead of time – I mean really knew – what parenthood entails, we’d all opt for voluntary sterilization. Once you have children, your life is never your own again – not really. But until you have children, you have no way of understanding that that is a good thing . . . and that when you look back you don’t remember the rough patches half as much as you treasure the joy.
About the Author:
Carol Snow is an American author of humorous, heartfelt women’s fiction. Called “an author to watch” by Booklist, Snow’s titles include Been There, Done That (2006), Getting Warmer (2007), Here Today, Gone to Maui (2009), Just Like Me, Only Better (2010), and the upcoming What Came First (October 2011), about which Laura Fitzgerald, bestselling author of Veil of Roses, said, “Carol Snow mixes her trademark humor with tenderness and understanding in this good-mom/bad-mom tale of unexpected twists and turns.” Carol has also written two novels for young adults, Switch (2008), an ALA Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers, and Snap (2009). Foreign rights to her books have sold to publishers in Germany, Norway, and Romania.
Carol Snow holds a bachelor’s from Brown University and a master’s from Boston College. Originally from New Jersey, she now lives in southern California with her husband and two children.
To Learn More Visit: http://www.carolsnow.com/what-came-first