This book is very special to me. The Shaken Series was my first-ever foray into fiction writing, and its reception in 2002 by fans in the online world of Xena fanfiction forever changed my life, not only because it unearthed my bliss — telling stories — but also because it opened doors to some of the richest, most enduring friendships I’ve known. Since the moment publisher Linda Hill said yes to bringing this series to print, I’ve been consumed with ideas for a new story that would grow the bond of Anna Kaklis & Lily Stewart. With these two women the answer was simple — grow their family.
I never had any personal inclinations toward motherhood, so my research work for this book was cut out for me from the start. There are literally hundreds of thousands of websites devoted to various aspects of pregnancy & giving birth, which meant my biggest challenge was narrowing down the information to that which best helped me tell the story. But motherhood is a lot more than medical factoids about fertilization, pregnancy calendars & delivery rooms. I know this not because I am a mother, but because I had one.
While working on Mother Load last spring, I was caring for my mom, who was in failing health and suffering from Alzheimer’s. Writing was a respite of sorts, a chance to chuckle at Andy’s antics, Anna’s anxiety & Lily’s raging hormones. As I worked, I inevitably relived a lifetime of memories of my mother, including recollections from family & friends of how she, with my soldier dad serving back-to-back tours overseas, cared for two small children on her own, one an infant daughter with life-threatening allergies and frequent bouts of pneumonia. How lucky I was to have the chance to return my mom’s dedication with my own. In her last weeks, she struggled sometimes to find the right words to express herself, but I could always count on her to answer my many “I love you’s” with her very sweet assurance, “I love you too.” One night her poignant slip of the tongue crystalized the whole concept of motherhood for me: “I loved you first,” she said.
In honor of my mom, I’ll be donating 100% of Mother Load‘s ebook royalties to the Alzheimer’s Association. Click here to download from Bella Books & read it right now, or here to order the paperback, which has begun shipping. Thank you very, very much for reading, and I hope you enjoy the story.