Debut author and mother of two Georgia Madden has written a very relatable novel about becoming a mother. We were fortunate to find out a little more about Georgia and her career in this interview.
Hi Georgia, congratulations on your debut release and welcome to Beauty and Lace.
When did you know you wanted to pursue a career writing fiction?
It was always a dream, even when I was very young. I remember meeting a real author when I was nine or ten and being awe-struck. She’d come around for dinner and I hung off her every word. I didn’t dare admit that I wanted to be a writer one day too in case she laughed.
Can you tell us about your journey to publication?
I’m an interiors journalist so I’m very comfortable writing about houses, decorating and paint trends, but I hadn’t written a word of fiction since school. I vowed that I’d give it a stab before I hit 40. Then the big 4-0 came. And went. At 41 I ran out of excuses, and just put my head down and got on with it. I decided to start with something fun, something that would make me laugh. Fortunately Black Inc laughed too, and here we are.
I sold Confessions with about 50 per cent under my belt, and then had six months to complete the rest. It was a wonderful time; I was riding high on the fact that I’d actually sold a book, and the writing and editing part was everything I’d always hoped it would be.
How did you feel the first time you held a copy of your book in print?
Giddy. I still can’t believe it.
Your debut is Confessions of a Once Fashionable Mum, can you tell us a bit about the book?
It’s a tongue-in-cheek look at that crazy first year of motherhood; a time when everything changes, most of all you.
We follow Ally Bloom, a glamorous fashion PR whose life, marriage and sense of self are turned upside down with the arrival of her first baby, Coco. Ally clings to the hope that returning to work will solve everything, but then finds herself out of a job and forced into her own version of hell; the suburban SAHM circuit.
We follow Ally as she struggles to find her feet in this brave new world – making friends with the sort of women she’d normally elbow out of the way in the supermarket, navigating the politics of mother’s group, and controlling her monster crush on the group’s resident ‘hot daddy’- all the while trying to work out who she is now that she’s somebody’s mother.
What inspired the story?
It got to the point where if I had to read about one more mother feeling #soblessed I’d scratch my own eyes out. Of course having babies is a huge blessing, but it’s also exhausting and boring and messy and, at times, downright scary. I enjoy reading stories that look at the everyday and particularly ones where the main character is a little bit unlikable. I also like books that make me laugh. When I finally felt ready to start writing, I wanted to do something that combined a little of all these elements.
Do you have much in common with Ally?
Certainly not the fashionable part! But there are a few things I did share with Ally in that first year – the shock of discovering what motherhood really means, that sense of disconnect from your husband where for a while you can’t stand the sight of each other, and that horrible feeling that everyone else seems to know what they’re doing far better than you. Also, I did hear that nasty little judgey inner voice a few times. I’m hoping that was just insecurity talking.
More to the point, have you shared any of Ally’s experiences?
My husband and I were lucky enough to lead something of the champagne lifestyle when we lived in London pre-kids – he in PR and me in magazines.
Like Ally, one of the first things I did when we moved back to Sydney was join a mother’s group. The sense Ally has of wondering what the hell she’s doing here and how she’ll ever fit in, and shuffling around the tea table trying to look like she belongs, are certainly things I can relate to.
Many of those women are my closest friends now, and I do hope they forgive me when they see that a number of the scenes (but none of the characters, of course!) were inspired by real life.
Is there going to be a second book about Ally?
I hope so! I’ve started tinkering away on a second book, set five years down the track when Coco starts school. Ally is secretly determined to make Coco the most popular girl in her kindergarten class, and will stop at nothing to ensure it happens. From rigging the votes so that she’s elected class mum and helping Coco recognise the ‘cool girls’ by the length of their hair to agreeing to a dreaded camping weekend with the entire class, Ally sets about laying the groundwork for absolute social domination.
Are you working on anything new you can tell us about?
Right now I’m busy promoting Confessions and writing for House & Garden magazine. I’m also getting stuck into Ally’s next adventures.
What are you reading at the moment?
Alice Munro’s ‘Dear Life’.
Of all the fantastic releases due in 2015 what is the most eagerly anticipated for you?
I was a huge Judy Blume fan growing up, so I can’t wait to read her new novel ‘In The Unlikely Event’. I’m also itching to read Kate Atkinson’s ‘A God In Ruins’.
I was a huge Judy Blume fan too and I didn’t realise she had a new one coming, I may need to investigate.
What does being a woman mean to you?
Wowsers, that’s a tough one. I suppose it means being good to the other women in my life – supporting them when they need it, and accepting their support when I do; encouraging my children to pursue their dreams without losing sight of my own. Being kind on myself when I mess up. I’m still working on that one.
Confessions of a Once Fashionable Mum is available for purchase through Nero Books from April 27.