The whole point of the Society of Stepmothers series is to capture the authentic experiences of stepmoms everywhere. I started writing the first book, You Knew He Had Kids When You Married Him, early in my own life as a stepmother, inspired by the powerful friendships I made in the stepmom community and the stories of these women who quickly came to mean the world to me.
You Knew He Had Kids When You Married Him introduces readers to Rhiannon “Annie” Tyler, a 28-year-old childless stepmom on the brink of marriage. Like most of us, bushy-tailed Rhiannon has absolutely no clue what life as a stepmother is really like. When a serendipitous meeting leads to membership in the Society of Stepmothers, however, Rhiannon can at least rely on the wisdom of her new friends to navigate the whole barrage of stepmom issues invading her overwrought brain. Ex-wives, loyalty-bound stepchildren, role confusion, social perceptions, finances, friendships, the constant emotional upheaval — it’s all here in book one of the Society of Stepmothers series.
This first book is very intentionally written as a stepmom primer, a fictional equivalent to the many popular self-help classics on which countless stepmothers have come to rely. My hope is that the emotional immediacy of fiction will speak to readers (and perhaps their partners) in a way that validates their experiences and makes them feel even a little less alone.
A: No. Rhiannon’s stepmom situation is very different from mine. That said, I have personally experienced many of the same feelings, particularly those associated with being a childless stepmother with 50/50 custody. I have also spent an abundance of glorious hours hanging with stepmoms and hearing/reading their stories, so I feel pretty informed about the whole stepmom deal and the common feelings and experiences that crop up.
Q: Is there a real-life Society of Stepmothers?
A: More or less! This book is dedicated to my stepmom friends, both in person and online, who serve the same life-saving function as the Society of Stepmothers.
Q: How long did it take you to write this book?
A: Um. Ages. I think I started in 2007. The novel is technically set in 2008-2009 (yes, I made sure the events of the story and custody schedule align with an actual calendar, just because I am weird and didn’t like the idea that the story could not be grounded in real life).
Q: Are the books based in the San Francisco Bay Area? Why?
A: The books are based here, but only loosely. Ultimately I felt that my writing had to be grounded in a particular “culture” in order to be as authentic as possible, but my overall purpose is to connect with stepmoms anywhere in the world.
Q: Who’s going to be the main character of book two?