Friday, March 09, 2007

Girlfriends Cyber Circuit Presents Melanie Lynne Hauser

I actually have a Project Get a Life report! I went out last night! The Texas Exes group in this particular corner of the suburbs had a belated Texas Independence Day party last night, so I went to it. I was kind of the odd one out as it seemed like most of the people there had graduated about ten years before I did, but I met new people, had some interesting conversations and had a margarita and quesadillas with guacamole (yes, I appreciate the irony of having Mexican food to celebrate Texas Independence Day, but that's the way we do it). I realized how quiet my life has become when I couldn't remember the last time I drove at night when I wasn't coming back from the airport. I think it was before Christmas. And this is the time of year when it gets dark pretty early.

Today I have nothing on the agenda and nothing immediately due, other than that trip to the post office I need to make. I think I'm going to do some housework, which means it's very appropriate that my Girlfriends Cyber Circuit guest today is Melanie Lynne Hauser, author of Super Mom Saves the World, the sequel to Confessions of Super Mom.

It's six months after the Horrible Swiffer Accident that left her a superhero, and Birdie Lee is still adjusting. For starters, she's hearing voices and having lustful thoughts about Mr. Clean. Then there's the fact that her daughter is suddenly sporting a bright pink streak in her hair, courtesy of her new friend Vienna (and if recent history has taught us anything, we all know that a girl named after a foreign city is going to be trouble). Birdie's son is experiencing his first case of puppy love, her nerdy scientist love interest has just proposed marriage, and her annoying ex-husband is suddenly less annoying. Which can only mean he's up to no good.

But things get even more sinister when her hometown of Astro Park gets Little League fever in a big way. Rabid parents, performance-enhancing Gatorade and a domed stadium on shaky - potentially explosive - ground are just the beginning of Super Mom's problems; throw in a ticked off school janitor and a corrupt mayor, and Super Mom has her hands full. Can one superhero — one mother — struggle to keep her teenagers in tow with one hand while saving her hometown from disaster with the other — while trying to find time for herself as she plans her marriage to her very own Super Man? Only if she’s Super Mom!

And now the interview:
What was your inspiration behind this book?
My deadline? Seriously, the first inspiration was that I was contractually obligated to write a sequel to the first book! Which was challenging in that I'd never thought of the first book as a series book; I thought it was a stand alone. But once I got over my fear of the unknown, I welcomed the chance to explore these characters' lives and relationships further. I think, though, if there is one nugget of inspiration that the whole book kind of revolves around, it's that mothers are always taken for granted, never getting the credit they deserve for knowing what's best for everyone, even if they're superheroes.

Mr. Clean vs. the Brawny guy: Who really is hotter, and why?
Actually, I think the Brawny guy is! I'm a sucker for a man in flannel!

Tell us about some of your Swiffer tour adventures
Well, I had one signing where the CRM ran back to the storeroom and got a box of Swiffer dustcloths - he then passed them out to everyone to use as bookmarks, and I signed them! I've also signed boxes of Swiffer products, when I've met with book clubs (because every home has a Swiffer!). And just last night at my launch party, P&G was nice enough to provide us with a box of Swiffer Dusters for everyone, and a huge Swiffer gift basket to give away at the end of the night.

If you were going to develop a super power based on cleaning products, which products would most likely cause it, what power would you want, and who would your nemesis be?
Really, I have to rely on the original book, when Birdie (aka Super Mom) loaded her Swiffer WetJet with all the cleaning products she owned - and forgot to turn on the exhaust fan. I can see myself doing this, unfortunately, because I use my WetJet all the time, and am somewhat of a cleaning nut!

As far as my nemesis - probably organic cleansers & real dustcloths. I'm shamefully addicted to convenience, and love those products that you can use once and throw away! So if I had a nemesis, it would the old-fashioned, green way of cleaning.

What are you working on now?
Something completely different - a World War II spy caper for the young adult audience!

Is there anything else you'd like to say about this book or the process of writing it?
Just that I love it, even though I thought I couldn't love another book about Super Mom as much as I did the first one. Because the first one - the one that springs from this amazing, unique, brilliant idea you get in a flash of inspiration - always feels like a gift. But in the end, I grew to love this one just as much, and I think I learned that it doesn't matter HOW you write a book - and it will be different with each book you write - it only matters, in the long run, that you do your best job as a writer. And that if you have done that job, when it's finished, the reader won't know if it was an easy book to write, or a difficult one. And that's what it's all about.

For more info, you can visit Melanie's web site

I might even be inspired enough to get my Swiffer WetJet that I bought ages ago out of the box and see if it works on my evil kitchen floors. I shall report Monday if I've developed any super powers.

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