Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Author Interview: Rebecca Rode--How to Have Peace When You're Falling to Pieces
The book explores some of the challenges that are unique to mothers and gives sage advice and pithy stories for how to pull through those tough times when you just don't think you can sort it all out.
Rebecca was kind enough to answer some questions for me, so here are some of her insights into her own role as a mother and writer and a few additional thoughts for the rest of us:
1. Early in the book, you share your desire to find a book on finding peace as a mother and not being able to find one. How did you go from that moment in the bookstore to deciding to write such a book yourself?
When I couldn't find that book, I started gathering research and talking to other moms. I was surprised to hear that many of them were going through the same stresses that I was! Then I realized that if I didn't write it, no one else would. I think that unfulfilled need for sanity and peace is why so many moms relate to this book.
2. You talk a lot about the importance of finding balance as a mother. How did you find balance in raising three young children while writing this book?
My "balance" when I was writing this book was more like teetering on the edge of a cliff while juggling. I was on a really tight deadline, so I had to drop a lot of the regular housecleaning and yard duties for a couple months so I'd have time to write. Obviously I couldn't write much when the kids were awake, so that made it hard. My wonderful husband picked up a lot of the slack when he got home in the evening. Now that I'm looking back, I still don't really know how we did it.
3. You also mentioned the necessity of giving some things up. What did you have to give up in order to fulfill your dream of writing this book while still keeping your children a priority? Was it harder than you thought? Easier?
The biggest things I had to give up were sleep and perfectionism. I wrote late into the night and then woke up at 5am for a month or two. I think the funniest parts of the book were written at midnight when I was loopy with exhaustion!
The perfectionism thing, though, was the hardest sacrifice. I like everything just right--there's a chapter about that in the book, as you'll recall--so it was a real mental battle to let the house slide a bit. As for my kids, I quickly learned to give them more time, not less. When I spent a focused half hour with each of them, playing whatever they wanted, then they were much more understanding when I had to disappear for some writing time.
4. Many times women get so overwhelmed that even the steps outlined in self-help books seem like too much work. What would you say to a woman who reads your book and likes the ideas but still doesn't know where to start?
Oh boy, do I understand. Take it a day at a time, one chapter at a time. Some of the things we discuss in the book are simply different ways to look at our roles as moms, like putting on a pair of glasses. Other things are more specific and we can incorporate them easily and immediately. If there's a chapter that really hits you and you think, "Wow, I totally do this! I need to change in this area," then maybe it's a good indication that something can be tweaked. I'm often surprised at how different parts of the book hit people differently. Many moms love the Mom Guilt section, while others really relate to the divine potential and Anne Shirley chapters. I guess each of us takes what we need out of it.
5. Can you share some of the highs and lows of your journey? How did you keep going during the lows and how did you celebrate the highs?
The biggest high and low actually happened the same day. I got an email from Jennifer at Cedar Fort, saying they'd loved the first few chapters I'd written and were offering to publish it. When I read that email, I pumped my fists toward the air like I'd just made a touchdown and called my husband at work. After we were done whooping and hollering, he asked, "When do you have to have the book done?" Since the book had been accepted based on a query and the first three chapters, that was all I'd written to that point. I skimmed the contract and my jaw dropped. I had thirty days to write the rest of the book. And I was going to be on vacation in Italy for two of those four weeks!
I did eventually get a little bit of an extension, but start to finish, it probably did take thirty writing days. I can only say that I couldn't have gotten it done without help, divine and otherwise! I thought it would be amazing to see my name in print and my book on the shelf, but honestly, the biggest high of all has been the reaction of the readers. It's had overwhelmingly positive feedback, and many of them buy other copies for their sisters and friends. I think that's the very best outcome I could have hoped for, and it makes everything worth it.