Love You More, and MOMumental book giveaway, plus an interview with author Jennifer Grant
Here it is! The kick-off of my long Mother’s Day book giveaway and author interview week here at www.gillianmarchenko.com. Thanks for stopping by, spread the social media love, and don’t forget to leave a comment each day for a chance to win signed copies of the books.
And now … on to Jennifer .
Jennifer Grant, author of Love You More: The Divine Surprise of Adopting My Daughter, a memoir about adoption and MOMumental: Adventures in the Messy Art of Raising a Family, an honest, fun, and introspective look at motherhood, joins me today to talk about motherhood and writing.
I have to tell you, reading Love You More validated a lot of deep parts in me as an adoptive mom.
Read Jennifer’s interview below, and be sure to leave a comment for a chance to win a signed copy of one of her books! Thanks Jennifer!
1. What is the hardest thing about being a writer and a mom?
When my kids were much younger (they are now 17, 15, 13, and 11), I probably would have said that the hardest thing about being a mom who writes – or a writer with kids – was finding blocks of time to be quiet, think deeply, and work. I remember feeling guilty when I was at home interacting with the kids, but distracted by my work. I hated the feeling that I was not listening
well to them or that I was rushing through my life. I felt pulled in more than one direction much much more than I do now.
Now that they are older, the issue I struggle with most as a mom who writes/writer with kids is keeping myself from writing about things that would truly embarrass my kids or make them feel silenced or ashamed.
After I finished writing MOMumental, I asked my kids permission to share certain stories. After reading it aloud to them, I did take out some anecdotes that made them feel embarrassed. (But they were so good!)
As they navigate the tricky bits of growing up and moving through adolescence, I’ve had to refrain from writing about many, many issues that have come up at home. Truth is, I figure out how I feel about something by writing about it. I wish I could write in great detail about what it’s like to parent adolescents but…I don’t want to compromise my children’s trust in me. Were I to write about some of the things we talk about, I would certainly do so. Somehow Anne Lamott and her son worked this out when she wrote about teenaged Sam. Maybe the reason I haven’t is that I’m outnumbered!
2. What led you to write your books?
My first book, Love You More, grew out of a series of newspaper columns I wrote in the first few years after adopting my youngest child, Mia, from Guatemala. Parents who have welcomed children by adoption are hungry to read about the experiences of other adoptive families and I’d often receive mail from people whose family or friends had clipped my columns and sent them across the country. When they wrote me, these readers would say, “When are you going to write a book!?!” It was a privilege to write Love You More and I consider it my gift to my daughter primarily, but also to other parents who have chosen to adopt a child.
I wrote MOMumental the next year. It’s a sort of sequel to LYM as it is about parenting my four kids, but it’s not specifically about raising a child whom you’ve adopted. It’s about connecting in an authentic way with our kids which I think is the most important thing we can do. Readers have said they enjoy it because it’s funny (and I tell wince-worthy stories of my own parenting fails), but also because I make very clear that there is not one good or perfect way to raise kids. We all seem to seek that elusive “best way to be a mom” guidebook, but truly, we are all different, have our own combinations of strengths and weaknesses. There are many many ways to be a good mom.
MOMumental is about our unique family’s culture, but encourages parents to relax a bit, find ways to connect with and to enjoy their kids.
3. What has changed since you’ve been published?
Many things have changed since those first two books were published. My kids are in different stages than they were when I wrote them. As I noted before, we are now deep into the world of teenagers – driving, college searches, romantic relationships, and so on.
Also, because I wrote two books about family life, I’ve found myself asked to speak – primarily at MOPS or other parenting meetings. That’s a new vocation for me.
I’m now at work on two new projects that will be released next year.
4. What is your favorite thing right now about motherhood?
As much as I know I’ll miss him, preparing my oldest, Theo, for college has been a rich time for me. He’s a junior in high school and I feel like I see the adult he will someday become. I took him on some college visits over the past several months and that one-on-one time was so much fun. He’s great company and I see such maturity and grace in him. I enjoy my kids as tweens and teens – they are all so surprising, complicated and interesting to me.
A writer and mother of four, Grant has particular interests in “good enough” parenting, the whims of popular culture, and exceptional Vietnamese food. She has written a column and many health and parenting feature stories for the Chicago Tribune and is a regular contributor to Fullfill, Sojourners‘ God’s Politics blog, and Christianity Today’s her.meneutics blog for women.Grant is a promiscuous reader who (usually) finishes what she starts, but is just as likely to be found reading Dinosaur Bob as Kate Chopin. She serves as a judge for the Christy awards. In 2012, she was a presenter (on the “tricky bits” of writing memoir) at Calvin College’s Festival of Faith and Writing.Grant contributed to Always There: Reflections on God’s Presence for Moms (Revell, 2012) and Everyday Matters Bible for Women (Hendrickson, 2012).
Her work has also been published on britannica.com, adoption.com, momitforward.com, eatdinner.org, and in magazines including Chicago Parent,Christianity Today, Draft, MomSense, and Conscious Choice. For more than a decade, she wrote features, restaurant profiles, and general interest and family life columns for Sun-Times Media newspapers. Grant was a founding member of Redbud Writers Guild and is a member of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists (NSNC).
Grant is currently at work on Disquiet Time with her friend and collaborator Cathleen Falsani and on 12: A Daybook which will be published by Loyola Press in 2014 or early 2015.
Released in May 2012 from Worthy Publishing, her second book, MOMumental: Adventures in the Messy Art of Raising a Family, was featured in Publishers Weekly and The Christian Science Monitor.Jennifer’s memoir, Love You More: The Divine Surprise of Adopting My Daughter was published in August 2011 by Thomas Nelson publishers. Jennifer is a graduate of Wheaton College (IL) and received her Masters degree in English literature with concentrations in fiction writing and critical theory (Go Derrida!) from Southern Methodist University. She lives with her husband, four children, and a wise and affectionate mutt named Shiloh outside of Chicago, Illinois.Find her on Facebook, on Amazon, on Twitter @jennifercgrant, @momumentalbook, and @loveyoumorebook, and elsewhere online atwww.jennifergrant.com and grantjennifer on Linked in.
For a chance to win a signed copy of Love You More or MOMumental:
1. Leave a comment ON THIS POST.
2. Tweet, share on Facebook, Pin about Jennifer and/or my Mother’s Day daily book giveaway for ONE MORE CHANCE to win and leave another comment letting me know what you did (note, it’s just one more chance regardless of how much you share .
So that’s TWO CHANCES per person if you are so inclined!
Winners will be announced for each day (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday) on Mother’s Day and chosen randomly from randomnumber.org.
Please come back tomorrow to hear from Shauna Niequist, author of Cold Tangerines, Bittersweet, and the newly released Bread & Wine.
“Parenting and writing are my non-negotiables…but almost everything else is negotiable.”