Wednesday, December 3, 2014

"Tales from Suburbia" by Brandi Haas

Tales from Suburbia:
You Don't Have to be Crazy to Live Here,
But it Helps
by Brandi Haas

Tales from Suburbia is currently on tour with Goddess Fish Promotions. The tour stops here today for my interview with the author and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.

Brandi Haas brings her trademark wit from her popular blog to this new collection, sharing stories of birthday party mayhem, mommy martyrdom, and snow shoveling majesty.
The setting is Anytown, USA, among barking dogs, picket fences, and eclectic neighbors. You don't have to be crazy to live here, but it helps!
Tales from Suburbia will make you laugh, warm your heart, and let you know you're not alone. Mothers (and fathers) will recognize themselves, their children, and the absurd situations that family life brings to us all.

Excerpt from "Called to the Principal’s Office"
“Your daughter had an altercation with some other girls on the playground. Just name-calling, nothing psychical. I just wanted to speak with you about something your daughter said to the other girls,” Dr. Oats says calmly.
And suddenly I know exactly why we are here. Our baby girl had a run-in with those mean girls again. Those girls who wont let her play unless she is wearing what they are wearing and only when the mood strikes them. The last time our daughter came home crying over these girls, my husband and I sat her down and gave her some ideas as to how to deal with these kinds of situations. My husband wisely told her to just go play with other kids and ignore these girls. My advice was not as sage and is certainly the reason we are sitting here today.
I armed my daughter with clever retorts for the mean kids she encounters which included, but are not limited to:
Perhaps if your parents IQs werent below one hundred, you would know how to function within the normal social paradigm.
Its not your fault your parents dont love you. Its the booze.
That Hello Kitty headband makes your forehead look big.
Thats quite a mustache you have there. (Effective for mean girls only—mean boys would take this as a compliment.)
All solid banter for the playground bullies, but now, sitting here in the principals office, I start to think my husbands approach was the better choice. A fact I will never share with him, but I am now plagued with some regret.
“Your daughter called two girls ugly and really hurt their feelings,” says Dr. Oats.
I breathe a sigh of relief. Our sweet, little girl didnt use mommys hilarious, albeit inappropriate, retorts after all. Our daughter went for the one thing we have taught her since she was a baby.
“Dr. Oats, we have always told our daughter that beauty comes from inside a person.”

My Review

By Lynda Dickson
The author left her career as an English teacher to become a full-time mother. This book is a compilation of a series of humorous anecdotes about her experiences as a woman, a wife, and a mother. Stories include her experiences at Chuck E. Cheese's and Target, comparing ailments with other mothers, the perils of fund raising, her letter to the President of the PTA, how mothers martyr themselves when they're sick, the difficulty women have finding clothes to wear when they're in their thirties and forties, the first visit to the principal's office as a parent, the joys of labor and giving birth, the trials of planning a birthday party, a Thanksgiving visit from her parents, a trip to the gym, a visit to the dentist, dance class ordeals, the Christmas pageant, and many more.
Some of my favorites: "To My Daughter's Teacher", a letter to her daughter's kindergarten teacher on her daughter's first day of school, brought back a lot of memories of my own daughters at that age; "Birth" also brought back memories because, like the author, I didn't finish my prenatal classes and my labor lasted 40 hours; "Getting Older" is a wonderful insight into the getting of wisdom.
Humorous, heartfelt, but serious at the same time, this collection is a must-read for any parent.

Interview With the Author
Hi Brandi, thanks for joining me today to discuss your new book, Tales from Suburbia: YouDon’t Have to be Crazy to Live Here, But it Helps.
For what age group do you recommend your book?
My book is geared towards adults, especially parents.
What sparked the idea for this book?
After ten years of teaching I became a stay-at-home mom. I loved every minute with my daughter but somewhere amongst the piles of laundry and the educational toys, I thought I lost my voice. Writing this book helped me find my voice again.
Which comes first? The character's story or the idea for the novel?
Life comes first - all my stories come through simply living my life. The characters drive the stories which are told in short story/vignette style.
What was the hardest part to write in this book?
The hardest part was opening up my life for everyone to see. It’s scary to do that but then I realized that all parents go through the same trials and joys so it’s become easier to share my life now.
How do you hope this book affects its readers?
I hope my book lets parents of all walks of life know that they aren’t alone - that we all get frustrated and the best thing we can do about it is to simply laugh.
How long did it take you to write this book?
A lot of the stories lived somewhere in the recesses of my brain for a long time, but once I actually sat down and wrote the book, it took me about ten months.
What is your writing routine?
I try to write at least three to four times a week. I have a small desk by a window overlooking my neighborhood which is my favorite place to write. I keep a journal of ideas that pop into my head so when I sit down to write I have a starting point. Before I get really into a story, I usually end up wandering the house for a while but once I get on a roll, I don’t leave my computer.
How did you get your book published?
My blog and Facebook page were getting great feedback so I took a chance and sent my stories out to a few publishers. Cup of Tea Books got back to me saying that my stories were great but I just didn’t have enough material. That gave me the push to keep writing. When I had over 65,000 words, I sent my manuscript back to Cup of Tea Books and they decided to publish it.
What advice do you have for someone who would like to become a published writer?
The best advice I can give is to read a lot and write a lot. It sounds simplistic but it is the only way. Read lots of different genres and expand your foundations and then write about what you know. And know that there will be people who don’t like what you write - never make those people your focus.
What do you like to do when you're not writing?
I read - a lot. I’m currently enjoying post-apocalyptic fiction which is a departure for me, but I can’t read enough of this genre right now. I also just love spending time with my husband and daughter and being outside.
What does your family think of your writing?
My family loves my writing! They are my biggest supporters and they brag about me to anyone who will listen.
Fantastic! Please tell us a bit about your childhood.
My childhood was filled with books of all kinds. Going to the book store was the highlight of my week. When I wasn’t reading, I spent my time riding bikes all over the neighborhood and playing Barbies with my friends.
So you like reading when you were a child?
Yes! My favorite book was Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak. I loved Judy Blume, Laura Ingalls Wilder, and pretty much anything else I could get my hands on.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I have always wanted to be a writer. I used to sit in class in elementary school and write little stories about what was going on around me.  I would show them to my mom and she would laugh hysterically. I think my mom still has some of those stories.
Did your childhood experiences influence your writing?
I think childhood affects everything about our lives. Now that I have a daughter, I get to see the world through a child’s eyes again and I love it.
Which writers have influenced you the most?
Mark Twain and Erma Bombeck. They were both masters of wit and sarcasm and had an ability to make readers look at the world from a different view.
Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
I am lucky enough that I hear from my readers every day. It’s one of the most amazing things about my writing. They encourage me to keep writing and share stories of their lives as well. It’s amazing!
What can we look forward to from you in the future?
I have lots of ideas swimming in my head. I am half way through with a follow-up to Tales from Suburbia: You Don’t Have to be Crazy to Live Here, But it Helps. I also have written a few children’s books that I would love to get published.
Thank you for taking the time to stop by today, Brandi. Best of luck with your future projects.

From the Author
In kindergarten, I was asked what I wanted to do when I grew up. My answer was a neatly written sentence: "I want to write a book about a story."
The joy I find in writing has never waned. I find humor in all that I see and live my life secure in the knowledge that everything is funny. And now after an amazing ten years of teaching, I find myself wife to the world’s best doctor, mother to the sweetest daughter, caretaker to one wonder mutt and countless ill-fated goldfish and ready to write again. Our residence is Anytown, USA, among barking dogs, picket fences, and eclectic neighbors and these are my stories.

Enter the tour-wide giveaway for a chance to win a $30 Amazon or B&N gift card.