Saturday, October 29, 2016

The Adventure of Writing a Novel When You're a Mom

Since the title of my first novel is Confessions of a Wedding Musician Mom, you might not be too shocked to hear that I am a mom myself. (I also happen to be a wedding musician. But the book is a complete work of fiction. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.)

Writing a novel when you have kids -- in my case, three homeschooled kids -- is a bit of an interesting challenge. I started writing the rough draft during swim team season. During the kids' morning practices, I sat off to the side and wrote beginning character sketches and a scene-by-scene outline. During the evening meets, when I wasn't volunteering, I was sitting on the bleachers scribbling into composition notebooks (yes, I wrote the rough draft by hand) in between munching on my concession stand pizza.

When summer swim team season was over, I needed to figure out a new writing schedule. Fortunately, all three of my kids were in a musical that fall, and at evening rehearsals I would shoot over to Panera to re-write a scene.

Or not. During tech week, when there was a rehearsal every evening, one night I was lazy to go anywhere and I spent two hours in the theater parking lot. I alternated between reading Getting Over Jack Wagner and writing with my knees propped against the steering wheel and my notebook propped up against my legs.

One of the many deep and thought-provoking tomes that provided my writing inspiration But hey, there's to more to being a Mom/Novelist that just figuring out when and where to write. Not only did my kids think that what I was doing was pretty cool, but they were often eager to help.

Angela and Danny, the main character's two children in Confessions of a Wedding Musician Mom, were both named by my youngest child, Benjamin. At the time he had recently finished a year in a morning pre-school program. Miss Angela was the name of his favorite teacher, while Danny was his best friend that school year.

Benjamin also suggested many times that I name the book Blue Notes (which is agree is a great name, but I didn't think it fit this particular book). He also thought it should end with Heather, the main character, making a lot of money from playing the piano at weddings and her son Danny saying, "Yay, let's spend on the money on toys!" Which is also not a bad idea.

As the years went by (yes, sadly it took that long), I got closer to publication and needed more help. Around this time my daughters, Rachael and Rebecca, were in another musical, and while I was driving them and their friend Maggie to rehearsal, I told them I needed a made-up name for a kids' TV show. The three girls spent the car ride calling out different names and different types of animals until Maggie came up with the infamous Millie Mallard's Pond of Fun, which I absolutely love. (Rachael even started singing a theme song for it that she made up in the car.)

But wait -- we still weren't quite done. I needed a great cover idea, and Rebecca came up with the brilliant idea of having a piano with crayon scribblings on the keys and even created a mock-up using images she found through Google. My cover designer Ana Grigoriu worked her magic to turn Rebecca's crude (and probably highly illegal) mock-up into the fantastic final product it is today: 

So as you can see, writing a novel when you're a mom is an adventure that is offbeat, creative, and rather amusing.

Just like the book. 

About the Author:  
Jennifer McCoy Blaske has been writing since she was ten and published her first story when she was fourteen. Confessions of a Wedding Musician Mom is the first book in the Madison Musician series. 

To contact Jennifer please visit her website.  

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