On the eve of the release of Mama’s Song it’s been great to speak to people who’ve read the book and talk about the ideas, issues and characters.
It’s been interesting answering the same question over and over again – “how does a middle aged guy end up writing a book about a teenage girl, from her perspective – and get it right?”
It’s a good question. The first book I wrote (the one that I practiced on that’s hiding at home) was a nice little story about a teenage boy who starts a band with some mates and falls in love for the first time. Black Dog wisely asked if I had written anything else.
I had an idea about a guy who remarried and has a child and a grandchild on the same day. I was going to tell the story from his estranged daughter’s point of view and look at the intergenerational aspect and the impact of how this event might go some way to healing old wounds.
I took a minor character from that first book – a lost flawed girl who was looking for someone to lover her, and started to think about setting the story exclusively in the maternity hospital. Essentially, I wanted to challenge myself and tell a story that was interesting, relevant, and fictional ie not something from my life.
Then George started talking inside my head. She was there already fully formed, vulnerable, pissed off with her predicament and blaming everyone else for her situation.
All I had to do was write down what she said and tell her story. That was the easy part. Luckily I’d done some research holding my wife’s hand at the birth of our own children, and while I know that’s not the same as going through it yourself, if you read the book and it works for you, then I’ve done my job as a writer.
We’re launching the book soon, and I really enjoy talking about it with people, so hopefully we can do that soon.
I’ll check back soon and let you know how the launch went, and what’s on the horizon.
You can follow more of Ben’s adventures at his blog http://benbeaton.wordpress.com/