Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Underside of Joy - Seré Prince Halverson - Guest Post AND Giveaway

I'm thrilled to have Seré Prince Halverson stop by A Bookworm's World today. Her debut novel The Underside of Joy has been released to great reviews.


To Ella Beene, happiness means living in the Northern California river town of Elbow with her husband, Joe, and his two young children. For three years, Ella has been the only mother the kids have known. But when Joe drowns off the coast, his ex-wife shows up at his funeral, intent on reclaiming the children."

I asked Sere if she could give us some insight into her experience growing up with a mother and stepmother and her experience being a mother and a stepmother. Here's her response....

"My stepmom moved in when I was 15 and my sister, Suzanne, was 13, and, well, imagine what a hoot that must have been. To make matters more complicated, it seemed my dad had a thing for Jans. Jan was also my mom’s name.

So Jan II and her sweet, gentle six-year-old son, Marc, walked in, ducking flying hairbrushes, while our hormone-fueled yells competed with Peter Frampton and Fleetwood Mac blasting from the living room stereo. (What on earth, besides clothes, did Suzanne and I fight over? All that energy and rage directed at who was wearing whose Baretraps and Chemin de Fer jeans...Some of you might remember those.)

Amazing but true: Jan and Marc didn't scramble back into her little red Luv truck and peel out, though at times they must have wanted to. They stayed. And we became a family. We were still a dysfunctional family, as most families are -- at least the interesting ones. But we also managed to enjoy the heck out of each other. We still do. And Jan helped to make that possible.

Two teenage girls and one new stepmom does not an easy transition make. I know this from being both a stepdaughter and a stepmother. But Jan has a seemingly endless reserve of grace and compassion. She also has a kick-ass sense of humor. She immediately dubbed herself M.O.S. for Mean Old Stepmother, which stuck, mostly because it was the furthest thing from the truth.

Jan never took her role as stepmother too seriously. She didn't push herself on us. She didn't set up new house rules or demand that we be home at such-and-such a time for dinner. She brought home bags of Jack in the Box and leaned against the kitchen counter and simply listened. She simply loved us, even when we were at our most unlovable. And we couldn't help but love her back.

Years later, I became a divorced mom whose kids now had a stepmom. Years later still, I remarried and became a stepmom whose stepkids’ mom was still very much in their lives.

The Underside of Joy tells the story of Ella Beene, who is also a stepmom. (How many stepmoms can you fit into a Prius?) Does all this make me some kind of an authority on parenting and stepparenting? Absolutely not. Each situation is different, and we’re all bumbling along trying to do our best, even though sometimes we fall short. My story is certainly not Ella’s story, nor Paige’s story. But I do know this: none of us are evil, and in the best situations, the shared love of the same children can be uniting. Still, relationships between parents and stepparents are often complicated. And I’m a writer—who lives to dip my pen into complicated.

At least I didn’t give Ella and Paige the same first name."

Thanks so much for stopping by Seré! You can find Seré at her blog - Who Moved My Buddha and on Facebook.

I have a spankin' new hardcover copy of The Underside of Joy to giveaway. Simply leave a comment to be entered. And --- this one's international! Ends March 4. Read an excerpt of The Underside of Joy.


Harvee said...

Would love to read this book. I like the story line and find it very interesting. A step mom's story, even in fiction, is one I haven't yet read.

harvee44 at yahoo.com

traveler said...

I am very interested in this wonderful giveaway.Many thanks. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

petite said...

This novel sounds captivating and special. thanks for this chance. elliotbencan(at)hotmail(dot)com

Beth said...

This looks great! Please enter me!

bethsbookreviewblog2 AT gmail DOT com

Carol N Wong said...

I have never read a story coming from a step mom either. Thank you for holding this giveaway.


Literary Chanteuse said...

I have been interested in reading this one for a while. I first saw it on the Penguin newsletter. Thanks for the giveaway.


Unknown said...

First time hearing about this book, sounds great though :)

bermudaonion said...

Her stepmom does indeed sound brave! No need to enter me.

skkorman said...

I would love to read this book—please enter me to win!

skkorman AT bellsouth DOT net

buddyt said...

Very often when an author writes about something of which he/she has personal experience, it leads to a better book.

It sopunds as if this might be one of those and I would love to read it.

Thanks for the giveaway and for opening it to worl;dwide entries.

Carol T

buddytho {at} gmail DOT com

Maegan Morin said...

Thanks for the great giveaway!!! Looks like an awesome book!

megnate at telus dot net

rhonda said...

A step moms point of you can't. Wait to read it.Lomazowrgmail.com

ChristyJan said...

Sounds like a wonderful read ~ please enter me


Dolly said...

As a former stepmom (who later became an adoptive mom), I'd love to read this story. Thanks for the giveaway.

jcsites2002 at hotmail dot com

Maureen said...

It looks like an interesting story.
mce1011 AT aol DOT com

Unknown said...

What an interesting synopsis. Looks like a unique read. Sign me up! :)

Lilian said...

I've been hearing so many wonderful things about this book! I would love to be entered!

lilianxcheng AT gmail DOT com

Mrs Mommy Booknerd said...

Love the cover...beautiful

Cari Berukoff said...

Sounds like an interesting read!

Graciegreen said...

Looks Good I loved the last book I won so this ie a book to look forward to! tillienedeau@gmail.com

ZaraAlexis said...

I can imagine that being a stepmother and/or ctepchild can have a difficult dynamic. There seems to be extra tension in claiming emotional "territory."

But, in essence, as the author has written, when a stepmother loves her child(ren), its only natural to love back. And yes, it`s important I think that the step-parent doesn`t push him/herself on anyone. Who wants that? It's a wonderful lesson in love.

I'd love a copy to add to my book collection. Looks like a good read.

Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez
Email: zgarcia(dot)alvarez(at)gmail(dot)com
On Twitter: @ZaraAlexis

Kat said...

I'd love to read this book, it's a book I've been looking forward to since it was announced!

Kat said...

I'd love to win this! it's a book I've been waiting for since it was announced :)

theresa said...

this books sounds very interesting sounds like a brilliant book

rubynreba said...

I am a stepmom and I'd love to read this!

Bonnie said...

Sounds like another book I want to read.

sunnydaysrule AT hotmail DOT com