interview with my mom!

I try to write a blog post a week and I typically write my weekly post on the weekend. When I’m out of town, as I was this weekend visiting my mom so we could both do our taxes with the family accountant, it makes finding time to write a post very challenging without neglecting my maternal figure. The way I saw it, I had two choices: I could either skip the blog post this week or I could somehow combine my time with my mom with completing the task.  Since I’m rarely one to refuse a challenge, I made it work. For my blog post this week, I bring you my interview with Susan—my mom.

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Besides being the woman who gave birth to me, my mom is also one of my most productive writing muses and among the strongest and funniest women I know. (I take after her, of course.) Even though she’s been my mother for *cough* years, there are things even I don’t know about her. So, I decided to conduct this interview. As you’ll see, the questions become increasingly personal as we both warm up:

Meredith: Who are your favorite authors?

Susan: Eileen Goudge (my mom is so impressed and a little envious that Eileen is actually a dear friend of mine), Julie Buxbaum, Belva Plain, Meredith Schorr (fourth. She mentioned me fourth), Jennifer Weiner, Cynthia Freeman, and Maisie Mosco.

Meredith: What is your favorite genre?

Susan: women’s fiction and family sagas (immigration experience, rise to riches)

Meredith: Where do you get your books?

Susan: The library, Jewish Community Center, my daughter. I very rarely buy books.

Meredith: How influenced are you by covers?

Susan: Not very. I’m more drawn to the title and reading the blurb. I also get recommendations from the Hadassah Best-Seller list. (You think my mom is Jewish?)

Meredith: Do you care about reviews or if you’ve heard of an author before you read a book?

Susan: Not at all.

Meredith: How do you feel about sex in books?

Susan: I used to be more interested in it, but after I’ve experienced practically everything, it doesn’t titillate me anymore (TMI, Mom. TMI!) It doesn’t turn me off, but I skip a lot of it.

Meredith: Why don’t you buy books?

Susan: Too expensive.

Meredith: Would you ever consider getting an ereader?

Susan: Yes

Meredith: What is holding you back from getting one?

Susan: Not having someone to set it up for me and show me what to do. I  don’t think I can handle doing it myself. (Like mother, like daughter) I’m a technophobe.

Meredith: Do too many typos in books bother you?

Susan: Very rarely have I come across books with a lot of typos, at least that I’ve noticed. (Yeah, but she noticed a mistake in my book that no one else caught – apparently, there is no such thing as a Ford Escalade – the car Cheryl was driving in How Do You Know?)

Meredith: Have you ever wondered if you’d be able to write a book?

Susan: It’s crossed my mind, but I don’t think I’m talented enough. I’ve had ideas about books but to write one? No.

Meredith: Tell me one of these ideas.

Susan: A man leaves his wife to fend by herself with her children and she goes back to law school and becomes a lawyer and she faces him in court one day – she’s the prosecutor and he’s the defendant. What does she do? (Note to self: book 10 maybe?)

Meredith: Do you think your own life could make an interesting memoir and, if so, why?

Susan: Absolutely. Because I made lemonade out of lemons. When I was working, I didn’t want to have any credit card debt or interest and any time I got money, I invested it while others spent foolishly. I didn’t want to worry about the buck when I retired and I made it my business to be independent even though I was a single mom with a deadbeat ex-husband and three children. While all the other kids had Benetton shirts and designer jeans, my girls couldn’t and when they got older and had jobs, half the paycheck had to go in the bank and half they could spend how they wanted to. (I’m sorry I begged you to take me shopping all of those times!)

Meredith: Do you think your conservative outlook with money was passed along to your children?

Susan: Absolutely. (No one tell her about the Christian Louboutin shoes I bought a few months ago.)

Meredith: Of what in your life are you the most proud?

Susan: My three children. My biggest accomplishment. All three are beautiful human beings on the inside and the outside.  (*blush*)

Meredith: Is there anything you would have done differently if you could go back in time?

Susan: Yes. I’d be more attentive to my children when they were little, I would have studied harder, and I’d be nicer to my mother.

Meredith: What is your favorite part of being a grandma?

Susan: They’re not my responsibility!

Meredith: When you’ve observed your two older daughters raising their children, have you ever thought that how they dealt with something was not how you would have done it?

Susan: Yes, only one thing. My grandchildren have too many material things and I don’t think they appreciate the hard work their parent’s did to get those things for them.

Meredith: How do you think your daughters were better mothers than you?

Susan: They were more involved.

Meredith: At seventy-three years old, how do you feel about the aging process?

Susan: I don’t feel differently than I did when I was younger. I’m grateful for my continued good health. When I have my annual mammography and freak out about it, I’m so grateful for good results. I don’t take it for granted since life can change on a dime.

Meredith: At what age do you think you were the happiest so far?

Susan: Right now. (Wow. Finally something to look forward to.)

Meredith: Do you think that people who say quality of life decreases as we get older are wrong?

Susan: In my case, yes, because I’m healthy, have all of my marbles, a pot to piss in, three wonderful children, and friends. I’m active and don’t have to worry about where the next dollar is coming from. That makes me happy.

Meredith: As you get older, obviously your body changes as well as your skin. Was this a difficult transition for you and did you notice it happening?

Susan: In my 60s, I noticed my neck and eyes changing and so I had work done. I never thought I’d have money to do that. If you can do it, do it! Menopause came and went with no hot flashes. My period just stopped and that was the end of it. And I didn’t dwell on it. It’s a rite of passage. You can’t go back so don’t dwell on it. You can’t go back so you might as well enjoy the time that you’re in. (Can I hear a round of applause for my mom’s attitude, please. She’s an inspiration.)

Meredith: If you could have been any career you wanted, what would you choose?

Susan: There’s really no career I would have wanted, but I am sorry I didn’t study harder in school – that it wasn’t a priority in my life. Getting an education was not a priority, but that’s how you were raised in the 50s. You were raised to marry well. I never thought I’d have to earn a living and neither did my parents, but I don’t blame them. Divorce was less common and I thought I fell in love with the perfect guy. He was an Ivy League college graduate who went into his father’s established practice. No one could have predicted how it would play out.

Meredith: What are your talents?

Susan: Playing mahjong and canasta (LOL)

Meredith: Who are among your celebrity crushes past and present?

Susan: Pernell Roberts, Kenny Rogers, Peter Riegert,  Alan Arkin, Josh Duhamel. (She was almost somewhat age appropriate until that last one…)

And now for the lightening round:

Love or money? Money (Mom…)

Salt or sugar? Sugar

Appetizers or dessert? Dessert

Extended foreplay or a quickie? Quickie.

Bald or hairy? Bald with beard

Television or movies? Television

Red meat or chicken? Red meat

Vegetables or fruit? Neither (hehe)

Dogs or cats? Neither (Says the woman who loves to cuddle with all of my sister’s dogs and dragged us to pet stores to look at the puppies even though she wouldn’t let us have one!)

Overweight or bad skin? Overweight

Rain or snow? Rain

Pants or dresses? Pants

Blind or deaf? Deaf

And there you have it: Susan Goodman at a glance.

Thanks for playing, Mom. I love you!

Isn't my mom cute?

Isn’t my mom cute?

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A Kind of Mad Courage

I have a very special relationship with my mother – anyone who has followed my blog knows this, as not only have I dedicated a post to her recently, she was once a guest blogger. The mother/child relationship is such a special one, which is why I am so pleased to share this special anthology written by so many wonderful authors, including some great friends of mine. Even more wonderful is that all of the proceeds from sales of this anthology go to Guthy-Jackson Charitable Foundation:

A KIND OF MAD COURAGE
Nineteen authors from around the world were given six weeks or less to produce “a story involving a mother somehow.” The result is a gorgeously eclectic collection of tales that will make you laugh, cry, and truly appreciate the “mad courage” of motherhood. Laura Chapman, Francine LaSala, Nikki Mahood, Heather McCoubrey, and Karen E. Martin each present unique takes on impending motherhood, while Sheryn MacMunn, kc wilder, and Julie Valerie portray the end of the journey. Samantha Stroh Bailey, Louise Wise, and Maria Schulz show the pride and peril of dealing with teenage daughters, while Elke Feuer, Diana Shafter Gliedman, and Donna Valenti demonstrate that a mother’s work is never done, even under the craziest of circumstances. Regina-Cash Clark, Wendy Janes, and Monique McDonell explore the impact on lives in which mothers go “missing,” while Carey Heywood and Jen Tucker warm your heart and tear it out, respectively.

Samantha Stroh Bailey – “Hide and Seek” * Regina Cash-Clark – “Autumn’s Eyes” * Laura Chapman – “Oh Baby” * Elke Feuer – “The Sacrifice” * Diana Gliedman – “Love in the Time of Cannibals” * Carey Heywood – “A Poem for Mommy” * Wendy Janes – “Verity” * Francine LaSala – “Monkey Bread” * Sheryn MacMunn – “Last Words” * Nikki Mahood – “This Year’s Love” * Karen E. Martin – “Two Thousand Steps” * Heather McCoubrey – “Emily’s Promise” * Monique McDonell – “A Tale of Two Mothers” * Maria Schulz – “Like a Boomerang” * Jen Tucker – “Heartstrings” * Donna Valenti – “In the Nick of Time” * Julie Valerie – “LLL” * k.c. wilder – “Lady in Red” * Louise Wise – “Becky’s Mum”

CourageJacketWeb

ABOUT THE EDITORS
Francine LaSala and Samantha Stroh Bailey have more than 40 years of editorial experience between them. Francine is a novelist, ghostwriter, and book publishing veteran who’s edited New York Times bestselling fiction and nonfiction. Samantha is a former grammar and writing instructor, including at the University of Toronto, and a prolific journalist. She has a Master of Education and has edited countless manuscripts for clients all over the world. They have also “team-edited” numerous works of fiction, each lending their singular editorial strengths to create perfect and polished prose for their clients. The author of Finding Lucas, Samantha (http://perfectpencommunications.com/) is based in Toronto, while Francine (francinelasalaproductions.wordpress.com), author of Rita Hayworth’s Shoes and The Girl, the Gold Tooth and Everything, is based in New York.

THE STORIES

Hide and Seek – Samantha Stroh Bailey
Claire’s teenage daughter, Emily, goes missing on a birthday cruise, and Claire can only fear the worst from the lately rebellious teen…

Autumn’s Eyes – Regina Cash-Clark
June’s abandonment of three of four of her children, told in alternating points of view between June, and her oldest daughter, Edwina.

Oh Baby – Laura Chapman
Rocker Tuck and new wife Autumn return from Chapman’s “Ten Drummers Drumming” (Merry & Bright), now with a baby on the way.

The Sacrifice – Elke Feuer
Melissa learns there isn’t anything she won’t do to protect her children from the abuse and neglect of her alcoholic husband Roger…

Love in the Time of Cannibals – Diana Shafter Gliedman
Could a zombie apocalypse finally give rudderless Jessica the direction she needs–and the connection she craves? It will if her mother has anything to say about it.

A Poem for Mommy – Carey Heywood
In helping his young daughter craft a poem for Mother’s Day, a father beautifully recounts the story of the romance with her mother that led to them becoming a family.

Verity – Wendy Janes
After an accident means she’ll no longer be able to live on her own, septuagenarian Susan may need to divulge a secret she’s been keeping from Verity all her life.

Monkey Bread – Francine LaSala
Amy and Deck (Rita Hayworth’s Shoes) learn more about having babies than they ever wanted to know at a madcap family dinner celebrating President’s Day.

Last Words – Sheryn MacMunn
The bond shared between Ruth (Finding Out) and her mother, Eliza, is revealed, from the time of Ruth’s childhood before the War to the death of Eliza.

This Year’s Love – Nikki Mahood
Fallon and Abner are married, mortgaged, and expecting a baby any minute in this fun, heartfelt mini-sequel to Fallen.

Two Thousand Steps – Karen E. Martin
With the unsolicited help of a fairy friend from their childhood, two grown sisters – one with kids, one without – each get to walk a mile in the other’s shoes…

Emily’s Promise – Heather McCoubrey
Even though pregnant Emily’s life is shattered by Jason’s infidelity the night before her wedding, she’s determined to give her baby the best life possible.

A Tale of Two Mothers – Monique McDonell
How do you deal with the mother who abandoned you when she shows up out of the blue – and what does it mean for the woman who raised you? Chloe’s about to find out.

Like a Boomerang – Maria Schulz
Tess has been stressing out her mother, Charlotte, since the day she was born. But when disaster strikes during a campus Halloween party, it could prove the worst stress yet…

Heartstrings – Jen Tucker
Young widow Vicki’s no stranger to loss–and guilt, as another mother’s loss helped her daughter live. Will meeting up help them the two mothers heal? Or make matters worse?

In the Nick of Time – Donna Valenti
Iris may be dead but her insistence on looking after her children is far from buried. Will her husband Nick get it together? Or will Iris have to move Heaven and Earth to make him?

LLL – Julie Valerie
In this hilarious yet heartwarming story, words of wisdom from the game of Scrabble unite a daughter with her aging mother, a former Scrabble champion whose mental faculties are quickly fading.

Lady in Red – k.c. wilder
Her dying “Gran” is the only mother she’s ever known. But only when Gran is gone does a woman discover the woman her grandmother really was, and the secrets she hid.

Becky’s Mum – Louise Wise
Straight-A student Becky’s being pulled off the straight-and-narrow by her derelict boyfriend Darren. Will her mother’s wisdom sink in before it’s too late?

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Happy Birthday Mom!

Today is my mom’s birthday and so I am dedicating my blog post to her—Happy Birthday, Mom!!

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I love my mom with all my heart, and I credit her with being one of my most productive muses. In fact, she inspired the mother character in my debut novel, Just Friends with Benefits. Little things my mother says/does always appear in my writing. I think my mother has a love/hate reaction to seeing “mommyisms” in my writing—she is both flattered and embarrassed.

Despite the obvious affection we share, my mother and I argue pretty frequently. She likes to harp on certain aspects of my life (*cough* my love life) and sometimes, particularly when I’m not happy about it, she stresses me out. I don’t like to confide anything until there is something significant to share. At the same time, I like to assure her that I’m not sitting at home waiting for Mr. Right to knock on my door so that she doesn’t worry about me being a hermit, a spinster, etc. We both lack the patience gene and get frustrated pretty easily. It’s not pretty…

My mother is an avid reader of my blog and while I believe she‘s always hopeful that I will share something personal (*cough* my love life), I know that she’s genuinely interested in all aspects of my life, including my friends, my day job, and my writing.

Although we bicker often and are both aware that time spent together should probably be limited to 48 hour intervals at a time, we have shared many good times together. These are some of my most cherished memories with my mom:

Christmas day – My birthday is December 23rd and since I was raised Jewish, my family typically does not celebrate Christmas. Almost every year since I’ve been out of college, my mother and I have spent either Christmas or Christmas Eve together. We see a movie and then we go out to dinner. Among the movies we’ve seen are The Wolf of Wall Street, Up in the Air, The Pursuit of Happiness, Young Adult and Schindler’s List. Although there have been years that I was away during the Christmas holiday and years we’ve been joined by a third person, those years are few and far between. The tradition is really ours and I love having my mother all to myself.

Day trip to the beach – My mother loves the beach and another tradition we share is reserving a day in the summer to drive to the beach in Long Branch, New Jersey. We leave the house by 9am, arrive at the beach by 11am and stay until at least 5pm. The snack bar at Long Branch makes the best hot dogs ever and I think we look forward to that as much as the beach. Parking is never fun, mostly because I have to carry both of our beach chairs. I’m sure my mom remembers the bitchy woman who purposely took forever packing up her car because she knew we were waiting for her spot. And I know she recalls the year after I graduated college when we passed Monmouth University and I started crying when it hit me that I wouldn’t be going back to my own college, Suny Albany, anymore.

Shopping – there is no one I enjoy shopping with more than my mother. She has impeccable taste and she’s always honest with me about what is flattering and what is not. Growing up, I would lose sleep in excitement the night before a planned shopping spree with my mom. To this day, I entrust my mom more than anyone else to help me choose dresses for important occasions and I’m never quite certain if something works until my mom gives her okay.

Amusement parks – One of my proudest moments of being my mother’s daughter was the day we went to Six Flags Great Adventure. While my sister and I bit our nails in anxiety while waiting in line for the rollercoasters, my mother was fearless. It was pretty awesome.

In sickness and in health – I don’t like being sick but when I’m under the weather, I always want my mom to nurse me back to health by making me her famous “orange aid” with a maraschino cherry. This was a tough winter for me health wise—I was five minutes away from a flu at all times. My mother escorted me to Urgent Care and she also made me several helpings of orange aid and Matzo Ball Soup. There is nothing like feeling under the weather to turn a grown woman into a mama’s girl.

Broadway – Since my mother’s birthday is so close to Mother’s Day, my combined gift to her is always a mother/daughter outing to a Broadway show and dinner. We’ve seen The Producers, Fiddler on the Roof, 9 to 5, The Pajama Game, Mama Mia, Hairspray, La Cage Aux Folles, Billy Elliot and many others. This year, I bought us tickets to see Beautiful. Although it costs me a pretty penny and it seems the tallest guy in the audience is always seated directly in front of one of us, I love sharing the experience with my mother.

There are so many more wonderful memories where my mother is concerned and I look forward to creating more in the years to come.

Happy Birthday Susan Jane Goodman. I love you!

Isn't my mom cute?

Isn’t my mom cute?

Your Littlest “M”