We're pleased to feature Virginia Franken during the publication week of her debut novel, Life After Coffee. She's talking about her family today, in honor of our theme month. Thanks to TLC Book Tours, we have one copy of her novel for a lucky reader!
Virginia Franken was born and raised in Medway, Kent. Most of her childhood was spent wearing a dance leotard and tights, and at age 11 she attended the (sort of) prestigious dance school The Arts Education School, Tring, where she spent her teen years trying to do pique turns in a straight line and getting drunk in the village. (The inability to do the former possibly informed by too much opportunity to do the latter).
After graduating from The University of Roehampton, she worked on cruise liners as a professional dancer before deciding she’d had enough of wearing diamanté g-strings for a living and somehow managed to bag a job in book publishing. Getting fed up of having to choose between paying the rent or buying groceries, she eventually moved from London to Los Angeles where life was affordable and every time she opened her mouth she got to act all surprised and flattered when someone said they liked her accent.
These days she lives in Monrovia, near Pasadena, with two kids, a dog, one ever-lasting goldfish and her bearded lover, in a house that’s just a little bit too small to fit everyone in quite comfortably. She gets most of her writing done when she should be sleeping. If enough people buy a copy of her novel, there’s a good chance she’ll write another…
Visit Virginia at her website, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
When globe-trotting coffee buyer, Amy O’Hara, assures her husband—who stays at home to watch the kids—that it is He Who Has it Harder… she doesn’t really believe it. That is, until the day she gets laid off, her husband decides to devote all his waking hours to writing a screenplay, and she discovers she’s actually the world’s most incompetent mother.
Amy’s only possible salvation is to find another high-flying job as quickly as possible, but with the coffee industry imploding around her—and the competing buyers in her field being much hipper prospects—things look pretty dire. Even if Amy does manage to find full-time employment ever again, as her life slowly becomes more and more entwined with her children’s, how will she be able to bear leaving them to travel for weeks on end?
When salvation appears in the form of a movie-mogul ex-boyfriend who wants to employ her husband and rekindle their relationship, Amy starts to find she’s sorely tempted…
Loud dinner conversations, dramatic room entrances and exits, enough food for a family of six heaved up onto a scrubbed pine table every few hours, kids, noise, distraction, plentiful love. Family.
Or that was the family I grew up in anyhow, and I presumed that having that same family unit would just be a part of the natural blueprint of my life the moment I hit my thirties. Erm… Didn’t quite work out that way.
But let’s back up for a moment. So when exactly was it that my quest to have a family of my own started going horrendously wrong? Well, in general, it is never considered a good idea to marry someone six weeks after you have met them. Yet, that is what I did: A sane, college-educated girl from a family no more dysfunctional than what can considered to be universally average. I married a man, moved to another country to be with him, and I hadn’t even met his mother. So given that start, maybe it should have been entirely predictable that the marriage unraveled just a few years in? Some of my favorite rom-coms would say, “Not so,” but sadly, real life often tells another story. However, perhaps not so predictable was that it would all go south just six weeks after I’d had a baby… I became a single mommy practically in the same month that I became a mommy and I never saw it coming! This was not in the blueprints!
Overnight “family” was now my son and I. Now, all you need to make a bonafide family is a party of two and a good dose of love - however, somehow life with just us, simply didn’t feel complete. Giving birth at thirty-one in Los Angeles is practically teen mom territory. I was the first one of my friends to have kids, so mommy friends were not in the picture. My own family of the “scrubbed pine table” all lived back in the UK. I was kinda isolated.
Even though marriage hadn’t exactly brought happiness to my world the first time around, I still knew exactly what it was that I wanted: One good man to start my life with again. A man to make a family with. I wanted a father for my baby who would love his mother. And did I find him? Well that’s a whole other novel, but eventually, yes – I found him. We found each other; two lost corks, bobbing around in a lonely ocean. And overtime, the three of us became that family unit I’d been searching for most of my life. We started having those vague “might we” conversations about marriage and even adding another baby to the mix. If three was fun, then surely four would be awesome! Of course nothing is that straightforward, but after a slight diversion (think surgeries, endless injections, stitches inserted in unlikely places) our beautiful daughter was born. And now we are four.
Of course, being a mother is also tough, tough, tough and not every moment is blissful. But Sunday night is movie night and every time we’re all piled up on the couch, eight hands in the same bowl of popcorn, spilling it everywhere, I never fail to stop and reflect that somehow, against the odds, I pulled it off.
I made a family.
Thanks to Virginia Franken for her lovely guest post and TLC Book Tours for sharing her book with our readers. Visit all the other stops on Virginia's blog tour for more chances to win.
How to win: Use Rafflecopter to enter the giveaway. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us. If you have trouble using Rafflecopter on our blog, enter the giveaway here.
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Giveaway ends September 19th at midnight EST.