I'm here today with Aimee Molloy, author of several books including However Long The Night and Jantsen’s Gift, plus books she wrote with Elizabeth Edwards and John Kerry and Teresa Heinz-Kerry. She recently released the novel The Perfect Mother -- so nice of you to name that after me by the way -- which was an instant New York Times Best Seller. The movie rights have already been sold to make it into a major motion picture staring Kerry Washington. It just came out on May 1st. She's also written articles and essays for “The New York Times,” “The Washington Post,” and Salon.com. Aimee now lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two children, ages three and five. Welcome.
Aimee Molloy: Thank you. Thanks for having me.
Zibby: Of course. For the busy moms out there who might have missed all the amazing press your book has been getting, heralding it as the can't-miss summer read, can you explain what The Perfect Mother is about?
Aimee: It’s about a group of women called the May Mothers who meet after having babies in May at the same time. It’s a mommy group. They get together before their kids are born. Then after the kids are born, they meet twice a week in Prospect Park in Brooklyn. When the babies are six weeks old, they decide that they need a night away for the first time from their kids. They pick a bar to go out. One of the women in the group, Winnie, she’s a single mom, she’s reluctant to go. They put a lot of pressure of her. They hire a babysitter for her. They convince her to come out. While they're out having drinks, Winnie’s babysitter falls asleep on the couch. She wakes up to find that Winnie’s six-week-old son Midas is missing from his crib. The book takes place over the next thirteen days. It follows three members of the May Mothers who become increasingly convinced that the police are screwing up the investigation and increasingly determined to do everything that they can to find Midas before it’s too late.
Zibby: How did you come up with the idea for this?
Aimee: It’s so morbid. I had my first baby in 2012. I live in Brooklyn. My husband’s family and my family, nobody lives near us. Even though I had friends who had babies, I felt pretty alone and isolated. I really experienced that. I joined a mommy group through Park Slope Parents, which everybody does is Brooklyn. When you have a kid, you sort of have to. I think it’s a law there. We were the September babies. It was my mommy group. At first I was like, “I'm way too cool to do this.” I was thirty-nine at the time. I was older. Then almost immediately, these women became this integral part of my life. I didn’t even really go to the meetings. Much like the May Mothers, most of the group existed online with a listserv. Somebody would write with a question. It could be three in the morning. It was like, “Here's this concern I'm having,” or “Here's something with my baby or my marriage or my body,” or whatever, all these issues that we were dealing with. Within minutes there would be a dozen thoughtful responses.
I had done a lot of travel in rural Africa before, when I was pregnant actually. I was really blown away by the tribe of women that existed in these communities where somebody would have a baby, but every woman there would treat this child as their own. I started to play with this idea. I'd never written a novel before. I really wanted to. I’d been ghostwriting nonfiction. I wanted to get out of that. It came to me. Here's something to explore, what it’s like, the craziness of having a baby, especially in the city where you don't have families around, and this tribe of women that gets created often in urban areas. Then I read Gone Girl. I loved that book so much. It really brought me back to the pleasure of reading.
I started to play with this morbid idea. What would happen in this mommy group if one of our kids went missing? I had this vision of all these women, relative strangers, smearing war paint on our face, and taking up our torches, and going on the streets of Brooklyn, and not resting until this baby was found. I let this idea -- I played with it for a while and started to really study thrillers, and the pacing, and how it worked. Then after my second was born less than two years later I finally said, “I'm going to do this.” I hired a babysitter and said to my family, “Everybody's going to adjust. I'm going to not take any work. I'm not going to take any paid work for a year. I'm going to try and write this book.” That's how it came about.
Zibby: That's amazing. Did you have a certain place you went to every day? Did you have a schedule? How did you do it?
Aimee: I was at the point in my ghostwriting career where I had made it. I was getting these really great jobs. That was the time where I was like, “It’s time to quit.” My husband’s like, “No, not really.” I was like, “No, really. I need to do this.” I hired a babysitter. My kids were one and three at the time. I had this whole ruse. We have a small, two-bedroom apartment in Brooklyn. The babysitter would come. I would say, “I'm going to the office.” I would slam the door really hard and then sneak into my bedroom. I didn’t actually have an office. I can't really work in coffee shops. I wrote it in my bed, basically. I would have to text my babysitter and be like, “I have to go to the bathroom.” She would bring them into the other room so they couldn't see me.
Because I had this year deadline -- I started on January 5th; I was like, “I have one year to do this.” -- it meant that I wrote all the time. I wrote when the kids went to bed. I woke up at five. I wrote every weekend. My husband, he took the kids away. I did a couple Airbnb cottage rentals. Eventually my daughter, she figured it out. She started to slip these notes under my door. They said, “I miss you, mommy,” with a big frowny face. Finally after I finished the book and I started my second I'm like, “It’s time to rent a studio.” I will not be guilted into coming out and playing with you. [laughs]
Zibby: That's amazing that you got it all done like that. That's amazing. Some novelists say, “The characters just came to me. It just all unfolded in front of me. I didn’t even write it myself. It just flew out.” Did you have it all mapped out ahead of time?
Zibby: It just came out?
Aimee: Yeah. I used to hear novelists say that. I would think that it was really insane.
Zibby: I didn’t mean to dismiss it or anything.
Aimee: It’s crazy. I was saying to somebody the other day, I grew up pretty religious, then I lost that. Especially with having kids, I feel more spiritual. This book has made me feel very spiritual, the process of writing of it. It really felt divine at times. There's this big twist at the end which I didn’t even know existed. I’ll tell you after we turn the -- which one. It was eighty percent of the way through where this twist came to me that really made the book. I don't know what would've happened if that hadn’t come to me. There were so many times where pieces fell into place where I was like, “Oh, my gosh. This is happening here because of what happened in chapter two. I didn’t know this was coming, but somehow some part of my brain was organizing it.” Now, I'm doing my second novel. I'm doing it again. I'm just writing blindly. It’s really hard. I don't know how I did it the first time. Now I'm back to being like, “I'm not sure I know how to do it this time either.” [laughs]
Zibby: I loved in this book how you shifted from the point of view. Was that part of when you were analyzing all the structure? I feel like the structure of the book and how all of sudden you're in all these different women’s heads and in their kitchens and everything, it was so powerful to do it that way.
Aimee: The book, it’s Francie, Nell, and Colette. They take turns speaking. Originally when I decided to write this book -- I'm more of a literary reader. I really was struggling with this idea of writing a thriller, if I could do it. A lot of what I wanted to say felt important and feminist, what it’s like to be a woman in today’s culture. I didn’t know if I could do that in a thriller. What I originally said I was going to do is that the narrator was going to be “we,” first person plural. It was, “We woke up. We went to the bar. We took care of our kids.” It was this one collective voice of motherhood. There's been a few books that have done this really well. Mostly, Joshua Ferris wrote Then We Came to the End this way. It’s about a group of people working in an office. You get to know the characters individually. The narrator’s this “we.”
The fact that I thought for my first novel that I could try this, it was so stupid. I joined a writing group. They were like, “Huh.” The first time they were like, “Yeah, I don't think so.” I was like, “No, it’s going to work out.” Then the next week they were like, “No, it’s even worse right now.” It was four months of me really fighting to try and approach it with that point of view. When I gave it up and then I decided to switch where each woman had their turn, it was much easier. In many ways it was this relief to me. I feel like I'm cheating because I had this really hard goal and then I gave it up. I'm doing something that feels easier. It was six months later that I finished it once I gave in to that point of view.
Zibby: I just interviewed Caitlin Macy who wrote Mrs.
Aimee: I see her book.
Zibby: She was saying that she was telling it from one character’s point of view who was damaged in a way. Then she realized it was much more powerful not to be inside that character. It’s not as interesting to be inside a flawed character, but to see it from the outside. Once she figured that out, the rest of the book came flying out. She was so stuck there for a while.
Aimee: I've learned a lot by writing this book and by writing a novel. Point of view is so important. That's the first key. I had this writing group of incredibly smart women, thank god. They were able to work with me about how important it is to get the right point of view. When the writing is easy, you're doing it right. It’s never easy, but easier.
Zibby: That makes sense. One of the major coos for the book that has gotten all this press is that you got Billy Idol to let you use though lyrics to “Rebel Yell” and get the rights to that. How did that work?
Aimee: “The New York Times” just wrote about what happened with this. Because I had this short deadline, I was obsessed with the story. My husband was like, “You're not even here.” We would be having dinner and I'm just staring into space. He's like, “What are you working out? Are you spending time with Nell right now?” I was like, “Yeah, kind of.” We were out one night, and I heard “Rebel Yell.” The lyrics are, “In the midnight hour, she wants more, more, more.” I said to my husband, “This is a song about new motherhood.” He's like, “This is absolutely not the song about new motherhood. You're crazy. Everything you see --” I was like, “No, listen.” The lyric, I thought it was, “I’ll walk the world with you, babe.” I was like, “This is it. You're walking with your child.” Then I went home, and I googled the lyrics. It’s actually “I’ll walk the ward.” I was like, “No, it is. He’s writing about having a baby.” [laughs]
In the first scene in the book when the women go out and they're at this bar while Midas is being taken from his crib, “Rebel Yell” comes on. The women, they're drunk by this point. Nell, who’s the troublemaker a little bit, she’s dancing to it. She declares that this is the anthem of motherhood. I listened to that song a lot while I was writing it. I grew up in the eighties, so I love him. When I sold the book the editor said, “In order to get the rights to use these lyrics, it’s a lot of money. You have to pay for it. You have to get rid of them.” I couldn't do it. I googled his manager, Billy Idol’s manager. I found his website. I emailed him.
I was like, “Hey, I'm writing this novel. It’s about to be published. Can I use the lyrics to this song?” He wrote back. He was like, “I don't know. Let me ask Billy.” I was like, “Really?” It was funny. I had an iPhone. It broke. I went to the iPhone store in Brooklyn. I have to get a new phone. When I turned the phone on back at the iPhone store, when I download my email, he had written. The manager had written back. He was like, “Billy Idol says yes. You just have to thank him in the book.” I was dancing around this iPhone store telling all these people, “Billy Idol said yes. Billy Idol said yes.” I was like, “Of course I’ll thank him.” What I ended up doing is I didn’t want to do any acknowledgements. If you have the chance to thank Billy Idol, that can be the only person you thank. I’ll tell my mother and my husband thank you privately, but I thanked Billy Idol in the acknowledgements.
Zibby: I always love reading the acknowledgments. You always get this inside glimpse, a little bit, into people. I got to yours. “I'd like to thank Billy Idol.” All right, well, onto the next. [laughs]
Aimee: Acknowledgments are so weird. It never used to be that novelists did acknowledgments. It was just nonfiction books, which makes sense because for nonfiction you really need a lot of people. Now, it’s these fawning acknowledgements in novels. I wouldn't do it even if it wasn’t Billy Idol. I did this once, one of my first nonfiction books where I thanked my boyfriend at the time and then we broke up. I don't want to do that again.
Zibby: That's really funny. Nell might be my favorite character. I really loved her sarcasm in the book. One scene that I thought was super funny was, Scarlet says, “‘No offense, I know a lot of people love New York City. I can't imagine raising a kid in the city. Since the baby, all I see is how filthy it is here. I want him to know clean air and trees.’ To which, no response. ‘Not me. I want my baby raised in squalor.’” This speaks so much to this ever-present debate of New York City moms like us and so many other people. It’s so hard to raise kids here. Logically, this isn't the best place, yet we all stay. What do you think this is all about?
Aimee: Oh, my gosh. We should have my husband here. We could have a therapy session right now. We’re in the midst of this debate. I think I'm ready to leave. My kids are at that age now where they want to be exploring. My little one now rides a bike to school. I'm always like, “Watch out for the dog poop. Watch out for the garbage.” I want to leave. My husband can't do it. He's a child therapist. He has a good private practice in Brooklyn. He's obsessed with music. He rides his bike everywhere. He's worried that if he leaves the city it’ll be hard. This is the problem with moving to New York. Where do you go when it’s time to leave? It’s such a special place. It’s such a hard place. I don't know. Once you have kids, it becomes both harder and also more magical. Your kids are experiencing the city. I guess the answer is to have a country place or something and keep your place in the city. That's our current fight.
Zibby: I also really appreciated the scene at what became known as the Jolly Mama from Colette’s point of view. You wrote, “Most nights at this time she’d be sitting with her laptop in bed, staring at a blank page, feeling exhausted and inept. ‘How did I used to write?’ she wonders.” I'm sure so many aspiring writers out there feel the same way. I know I have no time to write, not that I'm a writer like you, but even just the one page every so often that I do.
Do you feel like this is your experience at all? It sounds like you had this huge motor under you to finish the book and you were never too tired to be working on it.
Aimee: A little bit. I wrote a book, However Long the Night, which is a biography of this woman, Molly Melching, who lives in Senegal in West Africa. She has started this human rights education, which has led to this human rights movement among women there. It’s amazing. With my first one, I found out I was pregnant on January 1st. I left for Senegal on January 2nd. I did a lot of traveling while I was pregnant. The book was due. I can't remember what it was. I took two weeks off before my due date in order to rest and prepare. I was in the midst of writing this really intense book. Then, my kid was two weeks late. I ended up taking a month off beforehand which meant that day three of her life I had to go back to work. I had a babysitter come at the time. I was working in the bedroom. The babysitter was in the living room.
I would literally go through pictures of looking at my baby while she was out in the living room, which Nell does in the book. She has to go back to work quickly. She spends her whole time at work looking at pictures of her kid. Colette’s experience is more of that experience for me. I had a newborn. I was having to write. It wasn’t even just finding the time and being awake. It was more like your brain really doesn't work. Colette’s a ghostwriter. I was a ghostwriter. A lot of my developing her as a character was my way of exploring that, all the way that your creative life changes after you have kids, which creative people talk about. It was shocking to me, how much everything in my life shifted.
What I ended up doing after I had my kids was, I started to write about having kids. It’s a joke in the book where Colette is saying to her boyfriend, “I don't know what to write about.” He's like, “Do what every woman does, write about having a baby.” I wrote all these articles about breastfeeding and formula and sleep training. That was my way of leading up to trying a novel about motherhood. My kid was one and a half. By that time, it’s better. It’s still hard. I’d actually forgotten what it was like for the newborn phase. In the book, the kids are six weeks old. I started to go to coffee shops where new moms’ groups were meeting and kind of stalking them a little bit, sitting really close and listening. What do they talk about? By the time you reach a year old, you forget. You have to forget, or you'll never have another child.
Zibby: They say, though, from an evolutionary perspective this is quite helpful. Your brain becomes so consumed with your baby and keeping everybody alive. So much of having a baby does not fit with the modern world, from the schedule, the feeding, on. Nothing fits. It just doesn't fit. You talked about the moment, the narrator was talking about it, when she realized that she was going to change when she had a baby even though she didn’t want to and how the first thing she noticed was that all of sudden she started waiting for the street lights to turn green before crossing. It’s such a great New York moment. Do you feel like changing behavior in this way, do you feel like that was a sellout for the narrator or something more positive?
Aimee: It’s funny. My three-year-old just started to ride a bike without training wheels.
Zibby: That's super impressive.
Aimee: My husband is crazy. He rides his bike everywhere. He's like, “We’re going to learn how to ride a bike today.” They come home, and they both know how to ride bikes.
Zibby: I need to hire your husband to come teach mine, all my kids.
Aimee: You should. She's almost four. I shouldn't say she's three. She’ll be four in six weeks. They stop at the streetlight. The only reason I let them ride their bike to school is because they know to stop at the streetlight. We had this fight. This was our tension after having a kid. I was that person. When I was single, I went to Bali and Indonesia for three months to write and didn’t know where I was going. My husband and I, we went to Nicaragua on our honeymoon and Honduras on our babymoon. We would show up and not even have a hotel reservation. I wasn’t very fearful.
I did become really fearful and really anxious. If my husband had the stroller and was standing on the sidewalk but the stroller was in the street a little bit, I would be like, “Ugh.” We have a driveway. He would put the baby seat on the hood of a car and unlock our gate. I was like, “The baby’s going to fall off.” To me, that was the most surprising part of having a kid. I did not have postpartum depression. I had pretty serious anxious. It was only after I had my second that I didn’t feel fearful, that I was able to look back, “Wow. That was intense.” I was very nervous about keeping this kid alive. I was surprised by that.
I do see these moms that are like, “Whatever. It’s all going to be fine.” I probably wish I could be that person. I was much more like that with my second. I guess I'm not wired this way. I was shocked by it. My husband was shocked by it. It did cause a lot of tension. He was like, “Who are you? How are you this super anxious person? She's going to be fine if I'm not standing right on the corner.” I'm like, “You'll never get it.” They really won't ever get it. It’s true. They really won't ever get it.
Zibby: I finally got to the point where I can't go to the playground anymore. I'm so anxious that they're going to fall that I'm going to make them. My kids aren’t afraid. They're happy to go exploring. If I'm there I'm like, “Wait. Watch out.” I put my hand underneath. This is so bad for them. I have to take myself away or put them on the swings where I feel really good. I feel like there is that sense of “Oh, my gosh. Did I keep them all alive today?” It’s terrible. It’s so much responsibility and pressure. You have to adapt to that in some way.
Aimee: I remember when my daughter, my oldest, she was probably one and a half. She fell. She cut her eye really badly. She had ten stitches right above her eyebrow. It was horrible. In some ways, it broke the ice a little bit. I remember we bought a new car. It was our first time spending money on something like that. I kind of wanted to just key it myself because I was like, “We need to get a scratch on it so that I can stop worrying about it and be like, ‘It’s just a car with a scratch on it.’” As kids grow up and they get hurt, a little bit hurt, it becomes like, “We’re all going to survive this.” She's going to cry through the night. She's going to wake up and be fine. We’re all going to survive this.
Zibby: Cool, thanks. That made me feel a lot better. [laughs] One moment towards the end of the book I feel like is a great commentary on the role of the dad in the emotional upheaval of having a newborn. Colette is laying in bed debating telling her husband how she's really feeling inside. You wrote, “But she's too afraid, afraid that if she begins she’ll start to cry and never stop, that she’ll be swallowed by her sadness, her fear, how overwhelmed she is, how certain she is that everything she has is slipping away.” This was such a relatable moment. Do you confide in the husband? Can he understand what we were just talking about? Do you feel like you went through something like this with your own husband or you could imagine other people going through it?
Aimee: My husband’s a therapist so he’s probably more open to messiness, and in some ways not too. After a long day, he doesn't want to hear it. I do think for me it was this, “How much do you reveal about the anxiety that you’re feeling?” Again, I wasn’t an anxious person. It was giving voice to it. It almost made me feel weaker too, which I think is where a lot of women get in trouble. They're afraid they're failing. Francie in the book, she’s very anxious. I got to put all my anxiety that I felt with her. She tells her husband. He’s like, “Oh, my god. Are you crying again?” Her mother-in-law’s like, “You've wanted this baby so bad. Why are you so upset?” She has to bottle it up. Colette is doing the same thing. She's not able to really be open with her boyfriend until later. He's super understanding when she eventually opens up how she's feeling about it.
This is why we need this tribe of women. This is actually why I think my own mommy group was so amazing. The honesty that people shared -- I would know about a woman’s inverted nipples and what was happening with her sex life. If she walked by me on the street, I wouldn't recognize her because I never met her. It was this place to come and be like, “Here we are in all of our neediness and messiness. If I can't tell my husband about it, at least I have a place to put it so that it doesn't become worse.” Then eventually you feel better, hopefully, or you get help.
Zibby: Your book has been compared to Big Little Lies meets Before the Fall meets The Girl on the Train meets everything. It became an instant New York Times Best Seller and number five. First, I wanted to know what it was like when that happened, when you found out. Did you get a phone call? You said on Instagram, “I may have had a little bit too much wine last night after the wonderful team at Harper Books called to tell me The Perfect Mother is debuting at number five. Truly a dream come true.” I want to hear about that. I also want to hear about why you think this is hitting such a chord with people today.
Aimee: The story of “The Times,” the way that it works is on Wednesday at five PM the New York Times Book Review, they email out to the industry people. “Here's the upcoming list for the week,” which is actually a week ahead of time. I knew this. Some writers, they don't want to know about the sales. They don't want to know the business side of things. They just want to write. I'm the opposite. Because I've been in the industry for so long and I've written a bunch of books, my agent is like, “I get it. You want all the information. Okay, okay, okay.” I knew that this was coming at five. I did not at all think that I was going to hit the list. The publisher had done a really great job of promoting the book before it came out.
My husband does school pickup on Wednesdays. At three thirty he leaves to go get the kids. I said, “Do you want me to call you at five and tell you?” He was like, “If you call me, you’ve made the list. If you didn’t call me, then you didn’t, I imagine.” I was like, “Okay. That's fine.” It was ten to five. It’s a quiet house. I go and pour myself a glass of wine. I'm sitting on the couch. I was like, “This isn't going to happen, but wouldn't that be nice?”
Here's the weird part, actually. I didn’t care about the list. There's no way that I'm going to debut in The New York Times Best Seller list. Then on Sunday, I go to sleep. I have this very vivid dream that my agent and I go out for drinks at six o’clock at this waterfront bar because we know that “The Times” list is coming. I get a phone call from this friend of mine that I haven't talked to in ten years. He says, “They emailed me a copy of the list early. You're number five.” I woke up. It was one of those moments where I was like, “Oh, no. That was a dream.” I actually was very upset. I called my agent. I was like, “I had this dream. I didn’t even care about this. I had this dream. Now, I really want it really badly.”
I have my glass of wine at ten to five. At 5:09, the phone rings. It’s a Manhattan number, but it’s not my agent. I don't know who this is. I answer the phone. I'm on speaker. There's a lot of rustling and people talking. I was literally like, “Who is it?” It’s my editor. She says, “It’s your team at Harper.” I was like, “What happened?” Then I hear literally a champagne cork popping. I was like, “Did I hit the list?” She said, “Yeah. You're number five.” I was like, “That was my dream!” My agent had been patched in. She was like, “Aimee had this dream.” They were so sweet. They were as happy about it as I was. They're like, “Great. You're number five. You're on the combined list.” I was like, “Wait, what?” They were like, “You're on the list.” I could barely hear them. They were like, “We have to go.” They hang up. I just sat there.
Then I was like, “Hmm, what do I do with my husband?” I don't really want to tell him. I don't want to call him. I don't do anything. I just wait. He takes the kids to the playground. I'm like, “How long do I have to wait?” At five forty-five, I finally text him. “When are you coming home?” He’s like, “We’re leaving the playground. We have to go to the grocery store to get dinner.” I was like, “Oh, shit.” I'm waiting and waiting. He said, “What happened?” I don't even respond to him. I was not even trying to be a jerk, but I was like, “I don't want to do this.” When they finally come home, it had been an hour. I have a movie set up for the kids and like two thousand snacks. Anything in the house was on the table. They were like, “This is amazing.” I was like, “Do you want to watch Lion King?” Mark, my husband, is like, “What are you doing? We have to eat dinner.”
We have this little garden. I was like, “Let's go outside.” They had sent me the PDF of the list. I had printed it out. We sit down. I said to him when he walked in, he looks at me and I was like, “I haven't heard anything yet.” He was like, “Oh.” We go outside. He’s starting the grill to make hamburgers. It’s taking forever. He finally sits down. I had put a beer in the freezer for him. I open it. I hand him the list. He looked at it. He was like, “Well, how ‘bout that? That was your dream.” I was like, “I know.” We drank all the wine in the house, basically. It took me three days to recover from that. I’ve learned my lesson. It was one of the best moments that I've had. I loved getting married. I loved giving birth. This is all good. This is amazing.
Zibby: Do you have a sense of -- I have a sense because I read it and it’s amazing and page-turning; you relate on an emotional level; you're on the edge of your seat -- is it because we all need this tribe so badly and your book gives up a glimpse of that, that you think that readers are resonating with this so immediately? What do you think?
Aimee: I think so. It’s hard to say what's good about the book. I know when I sold it, one of the things that was important to me -- when I finished it, I should say, not when I sold it -- was that I did want to write a book that was pleasurable to read, that is this page-turning beach read. I wrote it during the presidential campaign when everything was coming to light and when Hillary Clinton was running and the stuff that she was dealing with as the female candidate. It was equally important to me to write something that said something. I'm trying to stay away from reading reviews. I've learned my lesson. A lot of people who like the book are saying that it’s not this page-turning thing. Women are feeling understood in what it means to give birth now and to be a woman. There's a lot of these subthemes in the book. Most of the women have had some sort of harassment or abuse at the hands of powerful men. They're dealing with discrimination in other ways. Hopefully that's the reason that it’s also resonating.
Zibby: Tell me a little more -- I know we started talking about this before -- about this becoming a movie and how long this process has taken.
Aimee: We sold the movie rights right after we sold the publishing rights to Kerry Washington and Amy Pascal. TriStar’s going to do a film. It takes a long time. Right now, it’s in hands of an incredibly skilled screenwriter who’s doing the adaption. I'm supposed to get a draft in a couple of weeks to read what she's done with it. I'm having to put it to the side because I don't get it. I don't really understand the film industry. It’ll be amazing if this happens. Then I can go and see this on film.
Although I have to say, the audio version of The Perfect Mother is amazing. The woman who did it, she becomes all these different voices. She really captures it. It’s very hard for me to listen to. I don't why. My mom was over. She was listening to it. I actually was crying. It’s a book. You could go to the airport now and it’s in the bookstore, so of course it’s a book. Hearing somebody else take on the story, it was really emotional in a great way. I can only imagine what it would be like to see these characters played by actresses on the screen.
Zibby: I’ll FedEx you a big box of tissues.
Aimee: I'm drinking my wine with my husband. I’m going to save it ‘till then. [laughs]
Zibby: You mentioned you're writing another novel? What's that? Can you tell us what it’s about?
Aimee: It turns the focus from motherhood to marriage. It’s about a newlywed couple who leave the city. They move Upstate to the country. They buy a Victorian mansion that was the site of the first domestic violence shelter and had been closed for five years. A resident had been murdered there. They take on this house. The husband is a therapist. He opens up a office on the ground floor where he sees patients. The wife is upstairs managing this major renovation of the house. She starts to hear voices. It’s a hard book to talk about because there's a very early twist. I'm being told that I have to stop giving it away. I've been talking about it. It’s another quick, couple-week story of what starts to happen in this house. It’s not really a haunted house story, but there's some aspects to it, and these things that happen that put a lot of pressure on this young marriage, and if it can survive.
Zibby: Last question, do you have any advice to aspiring writers out there?
Aimee: Keep writing. Every day keep writing whenever you can. I have a friend who just published a really beautiful called The Ones We Choose, Julie Clark. She wrote this book. She is a single mom of two boys. She is a fifth-grade teacher. She was diagnosed with breast cancer. Even through all that she wakes up at four o’clock in the morning, and writes for three hours, and then goes to work, and would go to treatment, and come home. If she can do, we can do this. The best thing that I did is that I found this writing group that I joined that was very supportive and were willing to tell me when things were terrible and were willing to walk with me through the process. You think that you have to suffer alone as a writer. You don't. The best thing that you can do is to surround yourself with a very trusted group of other writers who will be there to cheerlead you and also tell you when things are absolutely terrible.
Zibby: Thank you so much for coming on "Moms Don't Have Time to Read Books."
Aimee: It was my pleasure.
Zibby: It was a really great conversation. I can't wait to see what happens with your next book and the movie and everything.
Aimee: Thank you.
Zibby: Thanks a lot.