Review: If you lived here, you'd be home by now

Why I picked it: Manic Mommies Book Club selection.  Click on the green arrow below to listen to the book discussion (30 minutes), you can also download the audio from the MMBC page to listen on your ipod.

Synopsis: Rickie left home a long time ago-so how is it that at the age of twenty-five, she's living with her parents again, and sleeping in the bedroom of her childhood home?

At least one thing has changed since high school: She now has a very sweet but frequently challenging son named Noah, who attends the same tony private LA school she herself attended. Rickie fit in fine when she was a student, but now her age and tattoos make her stand out from all the blond Stepford moms, who are desperate to know why someone so young-and so unmarried-has a kid in first grade.

Already on the defensive, Rickie goes into full mother-tigress mode when her small and unathletic son tells her that the gym teacher is out to get him. She storms the principal's office, only to discover that Andrew Fulton, the coach, is no dumb jock. As her friendship with Andrew develops, Rickie finds herself questioning her assumptions-about motherhood, being a grown-up, and falling in love.

Type: Fiction

Quick Take: Recommend - This is a quick read about a woman who is lost and trying to find her way.  This was a great book club discussion book.  I was so happy with the feedback I received before the call which made for a great discussion last night.

Source: Review copy

Author Q&A

Tell us a little about yourself: I'm married to a TV writer (he works on "The Simpsons" at the moment) and we have four kids. Which means life is very busy.

What was it like getting your first novel published? What is your writing schedule like? I'm a mother first and foremost, so writing has to be fit in around all the rest. It's not too bad during the school year--I usually have time to write while the kids are in school. But summers are hard! I have someone home on pretty much any given day and it gets tough to find a block of time to work. Out of necessity, I've become a master at racing over to the computer and writing a paragraph or two when everyone's distracted. I keep my laptop in the dining room most of the time--near the first floor action but just slightly apart from it, so I can dash in and write whenever I find the time.

I'm NOT complaining: I am so lucky to be able to be a full-time mom and stay home with a sick kid and go to any school performances or games and STILL have the career of my dreams. I actually think having both was the key to my success. I had a nanny for a awhile and it wasn't until I found her another job and started taking care of the kids completely by myself that I felt emotionally freed up to write--it was like I had given myself permission to do something just for me because I had no guilt about not being with the kids enough.

Selling my first novel was literally a dream come true. I was a huge reader as a kid and all I ever wanted to be when I grew up was a writer. Seriously: I had no other ambitions (or abilities). But it wasn't easy. I had two novels with two agents that never sold and it wasn't until this third agent and third novel that I actually sold one.

When you start writing, how much of the story do you have mapped out and how much is organic? I write a very loose outline that's probably about two pages. Very loose. Did I mention it's very loose? I have characters, a situation, a sense of where it's going . . . but scene by scene is pure invention. There's an amazing "ah-ha!" feeling when you're struggling with what should happen next and suddenly you have an epiphany and it feels almost obvious. But (probably because my process is so unstructured) I rewrite a LOT. There's often very little left of the original draft in the final version. Things clarify with time (and with my husband's and editors' notes).

If you could interview anyone, who would if be and why? What would you like to ask them? I just read for the second time this unbelievable graphic novel called ASTERIOS POLYP which is one of the greatest things I've ever read. The author is a guy named David Mazzucchelli and I'd love to sit him down and ask him all my questions about the book--because there are so many layers in both the writing and drawing that I could spend hours studying each page and still want to know MORE. So it would be fun to talk to him.

Of course, I just reread it, so it's on my mind. Ask me on another day, and I'll probably have another answer!