I am Sandi Kahn Shelton, and this blog is about writing and life–both ordinary and crazy–and about love and family and dogs and cooking and friendship and mostly about figuring out how to get myself to the point of writing my novel pages every single day.
Every morning I sit down at my desk (with a glass of iced tea, of course, and Jordie, my golden retriever, at my side) and work on Novel #3, a love story about two unlikely people, both of them parents disappointed by love, and both of them flawed and funny, who fall in love even though they wish they could stop themselves.
I’m the author of two previous novels–What Comes After Crazy (2005) and A Piece of Normal (2006), both of which are the funny/sad adventures of two divorced thirtysomething moms who learn through trial and error (is there any other way?) how to shake off their crazy, flawed pasts and make new lives for themselves and their kids. It’s been interesting to me that some people read these books and say that they are hilarious and side-splittingly funny, worthy of being called “chick lit”…while others read them and see only the hard parts of the characters’ struggles to find themselves amid the confusion and grief wrought by their earlier lives and losses. Also, the people who think the books are sad get mad at the people who think they are funny, and vice versa. (Amazon customer remarks all center around this problem.)
I, of course, had no idea what these books were about while I was writing them. I was simply listening to characters telling me their story, and trying to type them up as fast as I could hear them.
But that’s what has been the most amazing thing to me about having books published–the way that other people feel as though they know these characters, characters who for so long just lived in my head, whispering their stories to me, mostly when I was driving in the car or just falling asleep at night. When I go to speak with book groups, I’m always amazed at the insights that other people bring to me about the books, things they see in the characters or the situations that make me think, “Wow! Was that really in the book?”
I have friends who say, “Why did you let them use that cover?” or “Why did they have to give it such a chick kind of title?” while other people tell me they couldn’t stop laughing about the funny ups and downs of Maz and Lily as they cope with dating, finding new love, forgiving the ex-husband and getting on with their lives.
As for me, I see the books as both funny and sad, just like life.
I’ve written books about real life, too. The three other books up in the corner of my blog are: You Might As Well Laugh, a collection of essays about family life that was distilled from ten years of humor columns I wrote for Working Mother magazine; Sleeping Through the Night…and Other Lies, a book about surviving the first three years of parenthood [warning here: no one has ever gotten a child to go to sleep based on anything they read in this book], and Preschool Confidential, a guide to raising little people who’ve made it past the age of two but aren’t yet ready for kindergarten.
Eventually I hope I can think up a better name for this blog. Titles are hard for me. And now the dog needs to be let out.