FINALLY! My mother endorses my new novel, Blue Asylum

February 20, 2012 § 34 Comments

It took months of bribing her with rolls of quarters and top shelf margaritas, but finally my mother has agreed to speak on the record about my upcoming novel (Houghton Mifflin, April 10). Here’s my interview with the self-named Saintly Mother, wherein she gives her thoughts on literature, daughters, rabbits and squirrels.

I’m very honored that you are choosing to publicly endorse Blue Asylum. I know it was a close race between my novel and The Help. What gave me the edge?

Oh, no. That book just made me mad. Too many of those Southern women in the 50s – 60s had yet to evolve from their heritage so prevalent during the Civil War era. The low-paying library jobs I held back then gave me a chance to read lots of books. I soon realized that books on the “best seller” lists weren’t always good books, nor well-written.  Some of your books may be a little dark, weird or fanciful, but they are not trash and they are very well-written.

I think you said Blue Asylum is your favorite of all my books. Did you just say that because we were in Vegas and you needed a fresh roll of quarters?

Yes, Blue Asylum is my favorite of your books.  It’s a bit steamy, but not trashy.  (I only had to do my editing peeking through my fingers a few times.)  It is a real story, a tragic story, yet a beautiful story, truly believable in every way. It sheds insight into the injustices against women,slaves, conscripted soldiers and common people by many of the socially and economically prominent men of the Old South. What the South really needed was more women like Iris – who had brains and gumption.  Besides, I would never prostitute my opinion for a roll of quarters, and I am truly ashamed that I, your own Mother, took advantage of your distraction (oh, yes, I saw you salivating over that fine-looking man at the table next to us) to challenge you to that $100 bet over a particular incident in Blue Asylum.  I knew I would win, so that makes me a bad Mother.

Can you guess which character in the insane asylum I modeled after you?

There is no guess to it.  In fact, it frightens me a bit to discover how well you do know me.  Hummmm… unless you harbor latent hostilities over my nagging about your messy room and unmade bed when you were a teenager??? Oh, no!  Surely not the Matron!

You did quite a bit of copy editing for Blue Asylum. Any bitterness that this was such a low-paying job?

Low-paying job? Tender comes in many forms, Baby. When people tell me they think your book(s) are wonderful I feel proud for you – and proud that I helped a little by catching distracting errors.  I have been well paid many times over. (Another $100 and I’ll say many, many times over.)

How much have you embezzled from our joint Wells Fargo account since 2008?

How dumb do you think I am?  You took my name off your WF account years ago; thus, I can’t embezzle from you. I left you on my account so you could beat the rest of the kids to my money when I kick off, because you are MY VERY FAVORITE.

When the Rabbit was born, how much of her birth weight was the long ears?

Stop being nasty to my precious baby.  She kept me from abandoning the rest of you many times.

Suppose I died and came back as a squirrel, and you found me stealing your pecans.  And just as you were aiming your shotgun I shouted,“Stop, Mom!  It’s me!”  What would you do?

Do you think I’ll fall for that one, you thieving little bushy-tailed #@%& B’LAMMM!!!

Every time you crawl behind the wheel of your Buick Rendezvous Maroon Death Tank, you put everyone in mortal danger.  And yet I am the one who wrecked it last month.  Do you find this ironic?

Mr.Magoo never got credit for his driving skills either.

 You are an amazing proof-reader but one of the mistakes you failed to catch was my sister, Becky. Any regrets?

I told you to stop picking on Becky. She may have been “unplanned” but don’t let anyone call her a mistake – why, even your Father called her “the pig of the litter.”  She was a true gift from God, I thought, to reward me for not drowning you and Randy.

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§ 34 Responses to FINALLY! My mother endorses my new novel, Blue Asylum

  • Kitty says:

    Uh, I’m not one to start trouble, but how would I tell if you wrote this whole thing and put a picture of your mother at the top? Not that you would, but, just how would I know? Her answers sound a lot like you, and I know you’re her daughter and all, but… I don’t know. What are the odds of two hilarious smartypantses in one nuclear family? About 18 to the eleventh power to one, according to my calculator. Anyhow, congratulations for either getting her approval or making it up. Not that you would.

  • Kitty – sadly or happily, depending on your perspective – this is word for word from my Mother. And she will obsessively be reading the comments to see how she did so praise is welcome 🙂 And comparing her to me will be the highest praise of all.

  • Kitty says:

    In that case, I see why I have always loved the woman who can flip people off with her toes. Her funny rises all the way to her brain. Will see you in Portland, Saintly Mother, where the city shall go into hock buying your daughter’s fabulously edited book.

    • Saintly Mother says:

      Kitty, are you available for adoption? I’m still looking for a daughter who is not sassy, who appreciates having such a saintly mother, or at least one who has more money. I could sign the papers when I see you in April.

  • This sounds just like my Miss Polly! What I wouldn’t give for a roll of quarters and some quality coffee talk with Miss Polly. (And you too, I guess Kath.)

  • Cousin Bridget says:

    I love this. Dear sweet Aunt Polly these are truly only answers that could come from you such a sweet honest Lady. Kathy for Gods sake put her name back on the wf account, pray you dont come back as a squirrel, and quit making fun of her driving. Houston traffic is survival of the fittest. the fact that you are the one that makes fun of her driving and wrecked her car is what my high school lit teacher calls poetic justice! As for poor becky maybe its all the tormenting you guys gave her growing up that makes her reproduce twice a year. She has nightmares that if your mom had stopped shed never been here and you would be a glory hog. Let Becky just breed till her little boney hips dislocate if that makes her happy. One more thing dont stop writing I love your work like your mom Im very proud of you.

  • Do you think next time you’re in Texas you could come meet the family and pretend to be my girlfriend? Pretty, smart, funny… and I think you are just witty enough to make it past my sister and sister-in-law. Besides, you seem to know a thing or two about gaining approval, whether through bribery or sheer tenacity. I think I could learn a lot from you.

    And if you’re not willing to help me out based on your compassion alone, I’m more than willing help out with those rolls of quarters that you mom seems to be going through so rapidly. Anything, really… just name your price.

    At any rate, don’t stop with the updates because I’m really excited for you and your latest book. Best wishes!

  • jeff says:

    when is your mother publishing her tales from inside the Buick?

  • Dot Cooley says:

    Love it. Love aunt Polly.

  • Yep, best sellers are often not well written. Kathy can turn a phrase like the Earth turning a new sunrise. Others turn one like a short order cook flipping a burger.

  • The Rabbit says:

    Thank you for defending me, my Sweet, Saintly Mommie. Perhaps I will pop out another grandchild to reward you. Or maybe just some flowers…

  • I knew the rabbit would be hopping by to kiss some ….to say hello.

  • Rohitash Rao says:

    I’m not sure who I love more, Kath-you or your mom!

  • Jane King says:

    I am tempted to cause trouble but although I would not hesitate for one second to torture you, I don’t know your mother well enough yet. I am very much looking forward to the book, though as I think you are an utterly spectacular writer. But as you know, weird makes me weep with happiness.

  • Just Joan says:

    This family is SO entertaining!!! I am so blessed to have become a part of it and gotten to know some of you. You all make me laugh. I enjoyed the interview and will be sharing it with Jackie asap. I look forward to reading your book as soon as Jackie is finished with it.

    Is the rabbit bringing her offspring to Singer next month?

  • Phoenix says:

    It All Comes Down to the Meaning of Endorsement

    When reading the Interview with Saintly Mom I noticed a suspicious pattern of questions and answers and hacking into Kathy’s trash bin I found a few interview responses that were tastefully excluded.g

    Well Mom, Hoffy and Muffin or whatever that publishing house that I allowed to honor my greatness should immediately contact Oprah and put out full page ads EVERYDAY in the New York, London, and Los Angeles times, that’s what pushes books, especially one that was divinely inspired. But enough about me, what I want to know is how honored my Saintly Mother is in endorsing my latest gift to the world.

    Honey, there is medication that can help you. I told you Iris should have been the black nanny to Mr. Dunleavy and if we wanted to touch the heart strings of Oprah, WE should have had her dead baby ghost giving revelations of the hardships of slavery in a psychotic trance during her delirious bouts of waterboarding. Oh Honey, and it was a little long.

    We…what do you mean WE!? My words came directly from heaven, all 2000 pages of insight that you and those at Hoffy hacked the life out of – down to just a dead skeleton. I don’t understand how my own Saintly Mother could defile my words. Yea, my Saintly Mother couldn’t unless she had been taken over by evil. Curse you evil one, bring back my Saintly Mother.

    Honey, you can’t cross genres. Those extra pages made no sense. Historical novel meets Steven King’s pet cemetery/animal house. The lamb can’t call on the Indian animal spirits and wander the halls of the asylum screaming “Give Me the Vote”. Lambs, gators, mosquitoes, turtles, katydids, and squirrels, especially those $#%!# varmint squirrels, will never be emancipated. They will never be given the vote like the slaves – they’re food, road kill, varmints. Honey, I beg you to reconsider the electro-shock treatments. They worked for Hemingway.

    Evil Mother, Hemingway died!!! They fried his brain, like vermine on a skillet!

    Posting of the Phoenix

  • Heather Parke says:

    Consider this my official application to be adopted by Polly. (Just don’t tell my own not-so-saintly mother.)

  • kelly says:

    I’m with Heather, if Polly were a kangaroo, i would hope to be a leetle baby kangaroo in her pouch.

  • allypeltier says:

    If I hadn’t known already, I could have guessed your Southern roots from this interview. Funny stuff, and such an interesting contrast with your more serious and literary prose. Can’t wait to read more from you (and your mother)!

  • I nominated you for the Liebster Award, which may or may not be the most exciting Blog Award there is. Check it out on my site. I love you, Aunt Polly. Hey, Kathy.

  • Thank you Richard. Really appreciate it. And congratulations on your awards!

  • VelvetHammer says:

    This all makes so much sense, I see where you get it now Kathy. You mom is quick!

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