Thursday, December 19, 2013

Mink Elliott takes us down memory lane...plus a book giveaway


We're excited to feature Mink Elliott today, as she recently published a novel about time travel. (And you know how much I LOVE novels about time travel! Well, at least the chick lit ones.) Better yet, this novel takes place in the 90s! (My favorite decade for all things pop culture related.)

What I can tell you right off the bat is that Mink likes to talk. Her bio on her website is as long as her interview. Not that it's a bad thing...just a lot to narrow down into one paragraph. I will share, however, that she was born in the UK, grew up in Australia, moved back to the UK for a while and now lives in Australia again with her husband and two young children. Her novels are inspired by being a mother and are aptly titled: The Pissed Off Parents Club, Just Another Manic Mum-Day, and her latest, A Mother Dimenson. This time around, she has written about a nostalgia-mad, day-dreaming 44-year-old mum-of-three who is forced to travel back in time. A freak electrical storm transports her back to 1996 where she finds herself young again, slim again and once again able to go to the loo by herself without being followed by kids constantly making unreasonable demands on her time! Armed with little more than the optimism of youth, the benefit of hindsight, a taut-again tummy and just the one chin, she sets out to discover what might have happened if she’d only done things a little bit differently. And why some things really are best left in the past...

We have a chance for THREE lucky readers anywhere in the world to get their hands on an e-copy!

You can find Mink at her website, Facebook and Twitter.

What did you do to celebrate when your first book was published?
By the time my first book, The Pissed-Off Parents Club, came out in January 2010, I was heavily (and when I say ‘heavily’, I mean gi-normously) pregnant with my second child and had been diagnosed with gestational diabetes. So I celebrated with a quick, eyes-closed injection of insulin into my fleshy upper thigh and a low-fat, diet yogurt before retiring to bed early! Not exactly ticker-tape parades, champagne and roses, I know – but what are you going to do?

What do you do when you get writer’s block?
Writer’s block? What’s that? HA! I know it well. The only way to deal with it is to write through it, though. Just keep burbling on and something will come up that you can use to get to the next bit of action or dialogue. Make writer’s block work for you, if you can – treat it like literary stepping stones and hop, skip and jump your way over it until you get inspired again to write some (hopefully) good stuff. Remember, you can always axe the invariably rubbish passages later - just make sure you keep on writing. Either that or give it a rest for the day and retire early to the couch for a restorative TV-watching session. No, seriously – sometimes when you focus on something else, you’ll stumble upon some good ideas lurking about on the periphery. These slippery little blighters can sometimes only be seen out of the corner of your eye, so do something else, let your mind loosen up. And don’t forget the chocs!

Characters really make the story for us. What THREE words would best describe the heroine of A Mother Dimension and what about her called out to you to write her story?
Every. Mother. I. Know. Oops, sorry – that’s four words, isn’t it?! And you put the word ‘three’ in caps and everything! Sorry, but it’s true! I believe that Kate O’Reilly is Everymum to an extent, in that she tries so hard to do the right thing by her kids all the time, putting herself and her needs last on the list (if, indeed, they ever make the list) and every now and again, when it all gets too much and life as a wife and mother in her 40s exhausts her and threatens to completely overwhelm her, she gets all wistful, wonders whatever happened to the girl she used to be and reminisces about the good old days. She’s forever taking trips down memory lane to a time when she could race off to a big night out at a moment’s notice – and be able to make it through the next morning’s hangover with ease, needing only a pizza and a vatful of Diet Coke for sustenance. Ah, the good old days – when she was financially independent, the music was great, her social circle was wider and her waist was much, much thinner. It’s a favourite hobby among the mums I know – harking back to the joys of kid-less, single life, when time was on your side (instead of on your back) and old boyfriends seemed so witty and suave and handsome...but what if our memories play tricks on us? What if being young and free isn’t all it’s cracked up to be? And why can’t we accept – or embrace, even – getting older? What if the chaos and clutter of family life and being un certain age, as the French so diplomatically put it, are the best times of your life? Or what if the best is yet to come? And what would you change about your life if you could turn back time and do it all again? Despite her wonderful friends and family telling her she’s missing the here and now by daydreaming about the past all the time, Kate just doesn’t get it. And so, imagining that her sentiments are universal and that squillions of mums out there have a similar problem (including myself on the odd occasion!), I thought it might be fun to force Kate back in time and give her that second chance she so madly desired. Someone amazing once pithily said that the past is history, the future’s a mystery and today is the greatest gift of all, which is why it’s called the present. Or something like that, anyway. And I suppose I thought the only way a die-hard, chronic nostalgic like Kate could ever come round to that way of thinking, would be if she came face-to-face with her past and saw for herself that it wasn’t as fantastic as her rose coloured glasses make out and that her present is actually rather marvellous - even if she does have an arse the size of Cuba now.

If A Mother Dimension were made into a movie, who would you cast in the lead roles?
Why do you ask? Has Richard Curtis been talking to you? Tina Fey? And why oh why won’t they ever take my calls?!?! Just messing. Now, let’s see...Because Kate is English, I would probably cast an English woman to play her – someone like Fay Ripley or Jessica Stevenson with fab comic chops, a family herself and round about the same age. Mind you, Tina Fey or Amy Poehler would be great, too. I picture Sacha Baron Cohen as tall, clumsy IT-wizz, Seamus, Kate’s once-uber-nerdy husband and I think Simon Pegg (Shaun of The Dead, Paul) would be brilliant as Archie. Remember that woman who played Alan Rickman’s super-sexy secretary in Love, Actually? I just looked her up and her name’s Heike Makatsch. I think I’d have her play Medea, the feminist magazine editor who knocks all the fellas off their feet, because she’s so smart and gorgeous (but mainly because she’s so gorgeous). For Georgia, Kate’s best mate since forever, I think Beatrice Dalle would be perfect and as for Tom, the sleazy but strangely attractive T ‘n’ A magazine editor, I’d pick Paul Rudd! He’d be genius at playing the morally-confused love of Kate’s life. Do you know him? Is he any good at English accents?

What is the funniest thing either of your kids have done recently?
It’s not so much what they do, more what they say that makes me laugh. Eventually. After my acute embarrassment has subsided. Like, the other night, my nearly-four-year-old son, Maxi, had a raging temperature, red, weepy eyes and a horrible, hopelessly unproductive cough, so I took him to Emergency at the local children’s hospital. Now before you cry over-reactive, over-protective silly mum, I must tell you that Maxi has a history of having a minor sniffle one minute, screaming pneumonia the next – he goes from 0 to 60 in seconds, honestly – and it’s always better to be safe than sorry when you’re dealing with kids, right? (Although, it has to be said that yes, I can also be an over-reactive, over-protective mum, too from time to time). So anyway, there we are at 11pm on a Tuesday night, sitting in Emergency surrounded by really sick kids trying to sleep on the unbelievably uncomfortable plastic seats. I’m trying to calm Maxi down (because, of course, he’s so excited to be out and about with loads of other kids now, he hasn’t coughed once and all traces of those red, rheumy eyes have all but vanished). I’m rocking and shooshing him gently as he sits on my lap and I can’t help but think how gorgeous he is and what a lovely kid he is and thank God he’s not bleeding everywhere or really, really sick, so I snuggle up to him, cheek to cheek, drinking in his deliciousness. All is quiet and I close my eyes, to really help me be in the moment, when suddenly, Maxi’s little heliummy voice pipes up and he squeals with delight as he turns round to look at me accusingly and loudly announce:
‘Mummy! You have a scratchy beard like Daddy!’
And that’s when I started singing Jingle Bells extra-loud and making a mental note to buy myself extensive laser hair removal treatments for Christmas.

Since your novel takes place in 1996, what is your favourite song, movie and TV show from that year?
Song: I can’t narrow it down to just one! But Blur and Oasis feature quite a bit in A Mother Dimension, so can I say "The Universal" by Blur and "Champagne Supernova" by Oasis? They may have been released on albums in 1995, but really came into their own in 1996 for me. Oh, and "Time Passes" off the Stanley Road album by Paul Weller.
Movie: The Cable Guy
TV show: This Life (achingly cool British drama about hyper-cool lawyers in their 20s sharing a house, getting into all manner of cool scrapes – hugely popular in the UK and rating several mentions in A Mother Dimension, too).

What is your favorite month and why?
November. Because autumn’s at its peak and the heavy, cosy smell of woodsmoke fills the air. The brown, red and gold leaves have fallen, carpeting the ground in a joyous medley of crackling colour and Christmas is just around the corner (no point in starting a new diet/exercise regime now – brilliant! License to scoff!). Chunky jumpers come into their own (or even better, polo necked-ponchos) and coats, gloves and boots become de rigeur once again, beautifully covering all that excess poundage you promise yourself you’ll lose come Jan 1 next year (but probably won’t even start to seriously think about until at least mid-March).

What is one item you can’t live without?
My family. Not strictly an ‘item’ as such, and they drive me mad a lot of the time, but I simply wouldn’t survive without them. Period.

Thanks to Mink for sharing her thoughts with us and her book with our readers!

~Introduction by Melissa Amster

How to win: Use Rafflecopter to enter the giveaway. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us.

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Worldwide. Giveaway ends December 23rd at midnight EST.

8 comments:

Janine said...

I had to look this up because I can't remember 1996 very well. Now, I remember why. 1996 I was in a dark place. This was also the year I was introduced to a band called Type O Negative, which was very fitting to my moods. My favorite song of the year was from the album that released that year called October Rust. My favorite song was Love You To Death.

susieqlaw said...

Romeo & Juliet

Jessica said...

I had to look this up. I would say "Breakfast at Tiffany's" by Deep Blue Something.

Linda Kish said...

If it was still 1996, I would probably say X Files. I had to look this up. There were a lot that I liked and still like, like Law and Order, SNL, Frasier, Seinfeld, Simpsons. Things I can watch on cable any day.

bn100 said...

Friends

Nova said...

One of fav songs is: Only Wanna Be With You, Hootie and The Blowfish
sparkle40175@hotmail.com

Mary Preston said...

Another one here who had to look it up. A few favorites from TV - Friends, Seinfeld, ER.

This Chick Reads said...

Woohoo, 1996, those were the days!!:) I'd say Friends! Deffo Friends, why don't they make shows like this anymore? Or they obv don't have them here.:)
Thanks for the giveaway! XX