Today I had the pleasure of interviewing Virginia Franken, the upcoming author of Life After Coffee, which comes out September 13th, 2016. Virginia has always loved writing, but it wasn’t until her first son was born that her writing turned into a serious goal. So, without any further ado, I give you Virginia Franken’s interview!
Q: How long have you been writing?
A: I loved writing stories and poems as a kid. I had a very supportive English teacher when I was about nine and she told me that if my dreams of making it as a prima ballerina fell to the wayside (ahem) then I should consider writing for a living! Not long after that, I wrote a poem about the time our fourth grade class had our underwear stolen from the local pool while we were swimming there (bizarre-but-true story) – it got published in the school paper and I was off.
Q: What inspires your writing? Do you have a muse?
A: It’s interesting that I only really started writing with any serious intention toward getting published after my first child was born. So I guess you could say that my son was/is my muse. I think I’d been expecting motherhood to define who I was as a person and cement my place on planet earth amongst the other humanoids. Didn’t work that way, and when I became a mother I was as grasping and confused about life as ever. So when my baby was about six weeks old, I start writing with one almighty burst – three books at once. One was a children’s novel that I showed to almost no one, another was a non-fiction book that I may well finish one day and the third was a memoir about dating in Los Angeles as a single mother. The dating book got a bit of interest from agents – but ultimately I’m glad it didn’t get published as it was too personal a book to be out in the public arena.
Q: Tell me about your upcoming book Life After Coffee! What was the original idea behind it?
A: Life After Coffee is about a globe-trotting coffee buyer, Amy, who loses her job, becomes a stay-at-home mom and finds out that it’s all much harder than it looks. There’s also a movie mogul ex-boyfriend of hers on the horizon, offering her an escape from the brutal reality of her life and she starts to find it’s all a bit tempting…
It’s essential a comic novel, but there are some very tough scenes when Amy’s leaving her kids behind in order to travel for work. This book was inspired by the difficulties I felt after I had my second child and I was dealing with the emotional turmoil of having to return to the office before I was anywhere near ready. I turned to the literary world for some comfort reading and couldn’t find any fiction written about the very specific heartache of my situation. After talking to friends who were going through the same ordeal, I came to realize that a woman can be smart, feminist and excellent at her job but still feel like the very fabric of her soul is being torn in two every morning when she leaves her baby behind for a day at work. There seems to be so little written about this very emotional topic–maybe because the women who are living it are far too busy to write about it as well!
Q: How do you hope Life After Coffee will affect people? How did writing it affect you?
A: I think it would be great if Life After Coffee could inspire some empathy for reluctant working moms. It’s not a PC thing to say, but nevertheless it is a fact that some women find it hard to leave their kids at home every day in order to go to work. Not all women get to choose whether to work or stay at home. And those women who have no choice but to put their kids in daycare and get to the office, haven’t always found their ways into fulfilling careers. More women are flying higher than ever – but for some women, the careers just never got going. Some jobs are just boring ass boring. Some women would prefer to stay at home and raise their kids themselves, some women would prefer to work part-time, some women would prefer not to return to work when their baby is 2 weeks/6 weeks/12 weeks old. But a lot of women in American get no choice. More so than ever women are the breadwinners and we are proud of what we are achieving. But we are also exhausted. We also wish we had more genuine choices about how we spend our day. Proper maternity leave, job-share opportunities, and reliable universal health care that’s not dependent upon employment status. We The Women wish our true voices could be heard, because all we hear right now is: do it harder, be it better, say it nicer, lean in further, but be careful not to lean in so far your forehead hits the floor cause it’s kinda dirty – everyone round here’s too busy working for The Man to have gotten round to mopping it…
Q: If you could sit down for a cup of tea with any author (dead or alive) who would it be and why?
A: Probably Mindy Kaling as she’s only down the street from me (well, we live in the same city anyway). But apart from the convenience of not having to travel through time or space to meet her – I think she’s just a truly brilliant comic writer. And besides, two minutes in we’d be laughing so hard that tea would suddenly seem way too formal so we’d just move onto a nice bottle of chilled white. And then after a couple of glasses of that we’d suddenly realize we were totally hungry and we’d probably get an Uber out to Malibu and go to this amazing fish and chips place I know. Then we’d strip down to our swimwear that would spontaneously appear under our cute outfits and run in and out of the waves all evening with the dolphins. I’ve no idea what specifics we’d talk about, but I know that whatever they were-they would be awesome. It really would be a magical day! Wanna come with?
Q: What is something you want the world to know?
A: That if you really close your eyes, open your heart and do your best to understand where someone else is coming from…there’s every chance they’ll try just as hard to understand you.
Thank you so much for being here, Virginia! I loved your answers and YES! Yes I want to come with you and Mindy!!!
Don’t forget to check out Life After Coffee and order it! It is not a book you are going to want to miss! See it on Amazon here.