Hi Shari, thank you so much for joining me today. Can you tell me a little about your new novel, Because Mummy Said So and what inspired it?
Delighted to be here! Because Mummy Said So is a collection of columns and features I’ve written about the mayhem, chaos and hilarious bits of family life and imperfect parenting. It’s packed with embarrassing moments, mortifying disasters, amusing antics and there are a couple of tear jerking stories too. Don’t mention my oldest leaving home at 16 last year – it still makes me weep pathetically. Hopefully everyone from expectant and new mums to empty nesters will find something in there that makes them laugh or brings up a favourite memory of their own.
What is your writing process like from concept to editing?
This book was a little different from my usual novels, as it involved searching back though 15 years of writing about raising children and selecting all the stories I thought people would enjoy most. It was like reliving the big motherhood moments all over again and I loved every minute of it.
What’s the best thing about being an author and writing a book? What’s the most challenging?
The best thing is undoubtedly the moment it gets released. I’ve written 22 novels now and I still get every bit as excited as I did when my first book hit the shelves. The most challenging is the actual writing! My process tends to go along the lines of panic, type, eat a biscuit, panic, type, eat a biscuit, panic, type… until I finally write “The End”.
What’s your favourite word and why?
Most of them are rude, so I’ll stick with “mum”– because cheesy as it sounds (sorry!) it’s my very favourite thing to be.
What’s your typical writing day like? Are there certain things you need – coffee? Writing in a certain place?
My typical day is long and fuelled by approximately 234 cups of tea. I write when the kids are at school, then stop for a couple of hours while they’re home and having dinner. Both my boys are basketball players, so over the last decade I’ve spent most week evenings writing for couple of hours while I’m sitting in a sports centre car park waiting for them. And then, if I’m getting close to deadline, I write again from about 11pm until the early hours. It’s chaotic, but it’s been the only way I could fit in bringing up the kids with writing columns, features and one or two books a year.
What song best describes you and why?
Oooh that’s a toughie! I can’t think of a specific one, but it would be something from the 80s, and it would probably involve leg warmers, big hair and an unrequited crush on a rock star.
What elements are important for a novel?
For me, it’s all about heart. I need to really care about the characters and their relationships to keep me engaged and engrossed in the story. From a writing perspective, I also like to have at least one character that I’m madly in love with. It makes it so much easier to get me to my laptop in the mornings!
Is there a fictional character you’d like to meet and why?
There’s a recurring character – Josie – in several of my books who is based on someone I loved very much. I’d adore another day with her.
What advice do you have for someone suffering writers block?
Just keep writing, putting words on paper, and your inspiration will come back. I also find phoning my husband or a pal and having a moan and a laugh helps to press the reset button.
Any other advice for new writers?
Don’t wait for the perfect writing environment or time, because they may never come. Just write whenever you can, wherever you can and don’t let life get in the way of telling your story.
About Shari Low:
Shari Low has published eighteen books under her own name and pseudonyms Millie Conway and Ronni Cooper. She is also one half of the writing duo, Shari King. She lives near Glasgow with her husband, two teenagers and a labradoodle.
My verdict on Because Mummy Said So:
The era of the yummy mummy has finally gone.
To celebrate this, Shari Low has taken a baby wipe to the glossy veneer of the school of perfect parenting and written Because I Said So to show us the truth about motherhood in all of its sleep-deprived, frazzled glory.
This is a book that every experienced, new or soon-to-be parent will relate to – well, hallelujah and praise be those who worship at the temple of Febreze. For over a decade, Shari wrote a hugely popular weekly newspaper column documenting the ups, downs and bio-hazardous laundry baskets of family life.
Because Mummy Said So is a collection of her favourite stories of parenting, featuring superheroes in pull up pants, embarrassing mistakes, disastrous summer holidays, childhood milestones, tear-jerking nativity plays, eight bouts of chickenpox and many, many discussions that were finished with the ultimate parental sticky situation get-out clause…
This was the first book I have read by Shari Low. This isn’t a fictional novel but I did get a good idea of Shari’s brilliant writing style. She’s very good at making the reader feel that they could be sitting with her, chatting over a cup of tea.
Because Mummy Said So is a collection of Shari’s columns; from when her two boys were little to her time as a Mum of two teenagers.
As it is a series of columns, it is very easy to pick up, read a couple and then come back to later if you want to. Or, like me, you can read it in one sitting.
I am not a mother so I am not the typical target audience member for this subject matter. However, I still found this to be a fantastic insight into motherhood.
It’s a realistic look at what motherhood is like (some of the things described is very close to stories friends have told me.)
There are some hilarious moments in this book. It’s a wonderful companion for women who are already Mothers, Mums to be or people, like me who want to understand why friends with kids are so sleep deprived.