I am thrilled to share this space today with my sister-from-another-mister, Jess Molly Brown, to celebrate the release of her debut novel! In Moms on Missions, when matchmaking mothers try to fix their children's love lives, the results are disastrous, hilarious, and romantic...not necessarily in that order.
Jess and I know each other pretty well by now, but there's always room for seven random questions. Here we go!
1. Someone is making a musical of the past year of your life. What's it called and what's the opening number?
I think… it would have to be called Too Far-Fetched. The opening number is Are You Sh*tting Me? followed by Tonka Bit Me Seven Times Today. My friends say our household would make entertaining Reality TV. As we have neither money nor fame, that seems highly unlikely. But hey, at least we aren’t boring.
2. What would Vince's father like most about Mary? What would Mary's father like most about Vince?
Carmine Russo would like it that Mary can give as good as she gets. Vince was always a bit of a scamp. He was never mean, but playful pranks were his trademark. Carmine could never keep up. He pushed Vince to be more serious-minded. He would regret that decision and love to see Mary and Vince banter. That would make him happy.
3. Lots of things change from the first draft of a story to the final version. Which plots or characters can you now share that didn't make the final cut? What made you change your mind?
Reader and editor feedback helped me clarify what I wanted to do in the final draft. In the initial draft, there were a lot more MOMs. There are a lot of mothers in the group, of course, but the reader doesn't need to meet them all at once. It was too much too soon. The book also had a dark villain for a long time. But he didn't fit this story and may show up in a different work at some point. He left the cast in 2015 when I did a huge rewrite that affected 70% of the book.
The eternal question is, “Why, why, WHY would you eat poop when there is food in your dish?” Sorry, I really do want to know.
5. You've written more than 2 million words of Twilight fanfiction--that's actually how we met! What captivated you about the series enough to write so much about it? How do your stories differ from SM's canon?
My daughters were reading the books, and the story didn’t grab me. They pestered me to go to the midnight DVD Release showing of Twilight and when Edward (played by Rob Pattinson) walked into the cafeteria, I fell in love with the character enough to reread the books. But my daughters were Team Jacob to a frightening degree. Movie Jacob is definitely lovable; Book Jacob scared me. At some point, I stumbled across this thing called fanfiction on a little site that doesn’t even exist anymore. "Wow. I could change canon? What a concept!" It took me about another year to wander onto Fanfiction.net, and it was several months before I was brave enough to post a story.
Initially, I started writing fanfiction for two reasons: first, so I could show my daughters where the behavior of Jacob, Bella, and Edward became inappropriate; and second, to give Edward a more satisfying Happily Ever After. I continue to write it because I love my Edward and he still has to get his HEA. My Edward is like a son and best friend to me. I have no doubt that when I’m old and demented, I’ll be wondering why he hasn’t been to visit me in so long. And I may be asking for him in French or Ticuna or Brazilian Portuguese, which will explain why I never get a satisfactory answer from the nurses.
The obvious difference between my stories and Twilight is that mine are intended for adult audiences and include sexual content. The less obvious difference is that all my characters are accountable for unacceptable behavior. That includes Bella—who traditionally gets off scot-free whenever she does something hurtful. For that reason, there is no love triangle in my series.
I never actually thought anybody would read my fanfic. I still have a lot of stories in my head about these characters. As long as people still want to read them, I’ll continue to post.
You don’t actually expect me to narrow that down to one, do you?
Musicians… David Bowie (meaningful lyrics and sophisticated arrangements), James Taylor (mellows me out), Beethoven (angst angst angst).
Dancers… Frankie Manning (world’s most unappreciated talent). Danny Kaye (so funny), Dick Van Dyke (lifelong crush).
Visual Artists: Degas (probably because I took dance lessons as a kid), Van Gogh (colors). Georgia O’Keefe (sensuality).
I could go on for a while, if you’d like.
7. You've been married for 22 years. Describe Vince and Mary's life 22 years from now.
Vince and Mary will still be best friends, and you’ll find them snickering with their heads together (probably signing to each other covertly). Weekends are for family gatherings, and regular Italian feasts are important. The house is always busy and full of laughter. They still have the same group of friends, and in all likelihood they’re conspiring with them to ‘better the lives of their kids’ by nudging them toward promising mates.
If one of the Moms on Missions characters wrote a behind-the-scenes, tell-all book about the novel’s events, who would write it and what would it be called?
Oh my gosh... All the characters? Let me think.
I think it would have to be Ronny. Neither the MOMs nor their kids would do it. That would be airing their dirty laundry and giving away their spy secrets. Ronny, on the other hand, is a little weasel and would have neither the compunction nor the understanding of what impact he might produce with such a book. He'd totally do it, call it If Momma Only Loved Me like a MOM, and have no clue there was anything wrong with that.
My apologies to weasels for insulting them. Weasels are adorable, useful animals.
Moms on Missions is available at Amazon.