Monday, November 28, 2011

Amy Bourret talks about Mothers and Other Liars and the novel experience of being a novelist

A young drifter. A baby. A split second decision that will have ramifications for all involved. That's the subject matter of Amy Bourret's incredible new novel, Mothers and Other Liars.  I'm thrilled to host her here on my blog writing about the experience of having a novel out!  Thank you so much, Amy.  

Novel Experience

The first one was sent to me through my publisher before my novel was even published. A woman had received an advance copy of “Mothers and Other Liars,” and just had to write to tell me that she loved my book and couldn’t get my characters out of her head.  I was thrilled! I have been a voracious reader since I could read and can’t think of a time I wrote to an author just to say I loved a book. I’m sure “famous authors” get them by the bagful. But here was nobody me holding an honest-to-goodness fan letter. 

The letters have continued to arrive. Granted email, websites and facebook make it easier, but some readers have taken the time to put actual pen to actual paper and sent them with actual postage stamps:  “I don’t even know what to say……what a moving, wonderful story”; “I just wanted to write and say thank you for sharing your story with me”; “I wish to congratulate you on writing such a thought-provoking and beautiful story”; “I am still walking around days after finishing wondering what I would do if I were in Ruby's shoes.”; “Your debut novel is a journey through betrayal and forgiveness, secrets of the past, and the love and dedication that defines ‘family’”; “I stayed up all night reading”; “WOW. I just finished Mothers & Other Liars, and I had to email you to let you know how much I loved every single word of it”; “Thank you so much for the amazing novel Mothers and Other Liars, the book is such a gift;”

The true gift – and genuine surprise -- for me has been receiving these letters.  People are busy trying to cram 42 hours in a 24-hour day.  I already thought that being invited into a person’s home, to have my words sit with her in a cozy corner for a few hours, was an honor. And now for her to take even a few more minutes out of her day to write words back to me? Ironically, I have difficulty crafting the words to describe how meaningful that experience has been for me.  Even the hate mail, like “You obviously have no maternal bone in your body” or “You may write pretty words but you sure can’t tell a decent story” tells me that my book has touched someone enough for her to remember it after the last page (how many times have you read a book that afterwards you couldn’t describe?) and aroused enough emotion for her to follow through and write to me.

I thought I had prepared myself for publication. I stocked up on blue pens and pithy comments for book signings. I knew I would love talking to book groups and listening to them debate the choices made by my main character, Ruby.  Writing happens in a vacuum, just me, my keyboard and an empty room, so feedback about characters and plot and, yes, petty words helps me to write better. But the letters, this unexpected gift from the hearts of readers, has been such a novel experience.

Amy Bourret is a graduate of Yale Law School and Texas Tech University and a former partner in a national law firm. Her pro bono work with child advocacy organizations sparked the passion that fuels Mothers and Other Liars, her debut novel which was, selected as a Target Stores Breakout Book. She loves to visit book clubs and hear from readers. Learn more at

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