With the summer months approaching, many of us are looking for a great beach read. Well, moms, look no further! I had the opportunity to read mom lit at its finest! Girls’ Weekend by Cara Sue Achterberg is the perfect beach companion. I got swept up in the crazy, yet super relatable, weekend escapades of three best friends Dani, Charlotte and Meg. Each woman is a mom with so much more under the surface. They are dealing with situations every mom can relate to on some level. Have you ever looked at yourself in the mirror and wondered who was looking back at you? What happened to the carefree, creative, happy go lucky version of yourself? How about your relationship? Did the strain of having a family change it at all? Cara Sue beautifully depicts these thoughts through a touching and soul searching tale of these three women.
I had the chance to interview Cara Sue Achterberg and got further insight into her story and inspiration.
Thank you for agreeing to this interview! Tell us a bit about yourself and your background.
Super happy to be here Kristen! I love your fun blog and think becoming a mommy gives every woman a new groove! I’m a mom of three teens – one in college and two at home. So you know that means I don’t know much of anything anymore. They are all much smarter than silly ole mom who has never been a teenager. I’m crazy proud of all of them and could blather on, but I won’t (they would be embarrassed). We live on a small hillside farm in south central Pennsylvania (or Pennsyltucky as we like to call it). We have horses, chickens, fruit trees, and more gardens than truly necessary. We also foster rescue dogs and puppies. Last year we saved 26 dogs and this year we are already at 18 (two litters of puppies!). I’ve been a freelance writer and columnist before landing my 3-book fiction deal, and teach creative writing, organic lifestyle, and healthy cooking workshops. I’m a prolific blogger and have five (oh my!) blogs. When not writing, weeding, or cleaning up after puppies I love to run, hike, ride, read, and visit wineries.
In speaking with other bloggers, I’ve found everyone has such unique writing processes. Some people need to sit in silence and focus, while others thrive off of the sights and sounds around them. What is your creative process?
I need discipline. On any given day there are WAY too many options. Gardens are never finished, puppies make constant messes, and teenagers are unpredictable. So I need a writing routine. I spend my mornings doing “non-fiction” work which might include blogging, social media, promotions, or answering questions such as these. I take a break to deal with dogs, horses, and kids at lunch and then devote my afternoon to fiction. I need my BIG cup of white chocolate-coconut green tea and quiet for writing fiction. I spend 2-3 hours at my desk in front of a window where I can watch the horses mingle and the weeds grow while I work at my laptop.
Girls’ Weekend is filled with so many emotions. All of our 3 main characters are dealing with so much internal turmoil. What inspired you to tell this story?
This story is pretty personal for me. I actually started writing it nearly 12 years ago when I first moved to Pennsylvania. It wasn’t a move I wanted to make and I missed my friends and former home. I had a baby at home, a very intense preschooler, and an elementary kid who just didn’t fit the mold, so parenting was at an all-time high for stress. To top it off, I struggled to make friends in my new community and was frustrated by my early freelancing efforts. I wanted to run away. So I did. Every afternoon during “quiet time” (which was never quiet, but thanks to Dora the Explorer and Thomas the Tank Engine it was peaceful), I wrote. And wrote. I escaped with Meg, Dani, and Charlotte for my girls’ weekend that went on and on.
Dani, Charlotte and Meg are best friends, but all so different from one another. I found myself relating to all of them, but seeing myself in one the most. Is there one woman in the story you relate to most?
I’ve been asked that question a lot. I’m not any of them, and I’m all of them – if that makes any sense. Writing their stories let me face up to big issues in my own life – was I following my dream? Would I ever get past the grief of losing a dear friend in a car accident? Did I marry the right guy? It was a safe way to work through what was rambling around my heart.
The story ends with each woman discovering something about herself and moving forward with her life. After investing in the characters, I want to know how their lives progress. Have you considered making this book part of a series?
Hmmmm….tempting. I actually did write a postlude, but opted to leave it out of the book. Someday I may come back to it, but for now I’m hard at work on the third book in my three-book deal for The Story Plant.
What are you working on at the moment?
I led you right into that question! I am completely in love with the characters in my new novel. It’s working title is Berry Road and it explores a dysfunctional family and a few of their neighbors on Berry Road. The characters include a 12-year-old boy with Asperger’s Syndrome, a hospice nurse, a teen who breaks into houses, and an overloaded mom who is dealing with all of them plus her aging mother and complicated spouse. Look for it early next year, if not sooner!
Do you want a chance to win a FREE signed copy of Girls’ Weekend? Click here to enter!
For more information on Cara, visit her here.