Today’s guest blogger is author M.C. Cerny, who talks about explaining her book to her smallest fan.
Parenthood by M.C. Cerny
So have you told your kids you write trashy romance novels yet?
My journey as an author is still in its infancy but I am often asked about my writing and what I tell my family. I had enough trouble explaining to my partner why I wanted to know what sex felt like from the male point of view. Interestingly though, people really want to know what I tell my daughter, who is only four. We barely survived potty training and sharing cookies as a couple. My writing was certainly on the backburner during this time, and there’s not a whole lot of conversation that doesn’t include a Disney movie or a book like the Rainbow Fish at this point. So explaining what mommy writes in the twilight hours just doesn’t happen.
My thoughts, however, focus on when she reaches those heinous teenage years where everything is, “Oh Em Gee, Mom, could you be anymore embarrassing!?!?” I’m fairly certain I could find tons of ways to embarrass my daughter in the near future—and I plan to if she pushes my parenting buttons—but for now, she’s only four. I love that she’s four and really wish the busy bodies of the world would chill out and let me enjoy four because it’s only happening once. I’m pretty confident her young friends haven’t read my books yet and if they do, then I have to question what their parents are doing and why the heck they are leaving such reading material lying around the house and easily accessible. Now if their moms and dads are reading my book, more props to them because my book is awesome, just not awesome for the four-year-old age group and definitely not the fourteen-year-old age group, either. I won’t be accused of giving adolescents ideas about running covert spy agencies and engaging in sexual behaviors they probably learned about by watching shows like Revenge and Scandal on television, anyway.
So what do you, as an author of decidedly adult content, tell your child? I hadn’t thought about this before because I’m one of those live-in-the-moment people, and it hadn’t occurred to me until I received the pretty big brown box of paperback copies I had ordered from Create Space. Caught up in the moment of smelling that undeniable scent of words crafted onto paper, it took me a moment to realize that my daughter was looking at the cover of my book strangely. I’m not ashamed or embarrassed by my writing, but what concerns me is how others might perceive things or even treat my daughter differently. She is still too young to understand that what others may think of us is not our business and it’s more important to craft our own unique identities. Well, at least that how her badass momma likes to view the world.
As a parent these are those unique gems of wisdom and opportunity we only get to experience fleetingly, to be transported back to the world of children and see exactly what they see and how innocent they are. She asked me in that adorable voice of hers, “Momma, what are these books and why did you order a billion copies of the same one?” Little smart-ass, this box only had fifteen copies of books, but apparently that’s a billion.
“Well baby, Momma is a writer and these are my books. I bought them so I can share them with everyone I know.”
“Okay. Will you read me a story from your book?” She looked at me with her wide, innocent green eyes. Now this was the stumper because of course I wouldn’t read the story to her. Heck, I was still hoping I’d convinced my mother not to read the book because she gave me the stink eye and whispered one night over pizza, “Gosh what if it has sex in it? How will I tell your grandmother?” Incidentally my grandmother enjoyed reading the book and told me the sex was the best part but that I shouldn’t tell my mother she said that…
I decided to be honest with my daughter. I told her that someday, when she was a big girl like her momma, she could read the book if she wanted to and ask me questions about it. I let her know that it was a book for grown-ups, just like when she goes to bed earlier at night because Mommy and Daddy have grown-up time. I was hoping that would be the end of the discussion but not with my daughter. Oh no, she makes it a point to torture me relentlessly.
“So what’s your story about, Momma?” If crickets could play inside my head, they would have right along with those glow bugs that randomly flash in the summer, I swear my brain shuts down with questions like these. It’s like being on the show “Millionaire” and you realize you’ve run out lifelines and people to call.
“Uh, well baby, it’s a story about a boy and a girl and their dog…”
“Oh Momma, I would like this story, why caaaannnn’t you read it to me? Please?” Luckily she whines and pouts infrequently.
“But parts of Momma’s story are scary, and I don’t think a scary story is good before bedtime.” And the story has sex and bad language, but we’re not talking about that because I’ve convinced myself that my daughter will stay four forever. Her questions are a passing phase, and I’ll be able to hold her nine-pound infant body once again and smell that baby smell that only mothers understand. In my brain, my child will not experience these things, and that’s my parental naivety I wish to indulge.
“I know the story is scary, Momma.” Uh, what? Trying to wrap my mind around four-year-old logic is like sticking peanut butter in a dog’s mouth—they lick for hours but never get it off. So I’m compelled to ask her why.
“Why do think that, baby girl?”
“Because, Momma, the giants on your book are going to eat everyone in the city. They are huge.”
And there you have it, folks. My daughter thinks I write scary stories about giants who eat people in cities. She is also convinced the cat is her best friend and underwear is something you only wear when you leave the house because screaming naked after a bath is a billion times more fun while singing “Let it Go.”
So all that worry was for naught this time… my next book cover might not be as child friendly. I may have to refrain from opening up that big brown box of a billion copies until someone is safely tucked away in her bed.
About the Author:
M.C. Cerny lives with her daughter, her very own heroic Mr. Flashpoint, and their three furry cats, who consider themselves more canine than feline. M.C. balances a full-time career in the corporate world while pursuing her dream of writing contemporary romantic suspense novels. Her first novel, Flashpoint, is her debut novel in a series of Post-it-note ramblings. After graduating from NYU with a master’s degree and various jobs, she’s finally settled down enough to let the quirky characters in her head lead the way. When M.C. is not writing, you’ll find her lurking in Starbucks, running marathons, and searching out the perfect shade of pink nail polish.
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21 Dec 2015 - Recs