Who says what?

Novelist, mother, minister, and yoga teacher muses on books, babies, motherhood, and what matters with reverent humor.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

What Does A Mother Know?

Let's start with the envy. That's always a good place to begin. I envy the perfectly compelling, intriguing, spot-on title of Leslie Lehr's latest novel, What a Mother Knows. What does a mother know? It's such a meaty question.

Lehr is the prizewinning author of the novels, What A Mother Knows, 66 Laps and Wife Goes On, plus three nonfiction books, including Welcome to Club Mom, must know something. Her essays have appeared in anthologies such as Mommy Wars, The Honeymoon's Over, and On Becoming Fearless. She was the screenwriter of the romantic thriller, "Heartless" and wrote "Club Divorce" for Lifetime. She has a BA from the USC School of Cinematic Arts, an MFA from Antioch, and teaches in the world renowned Writers Program.

Here's the story:
How far will a mother go to protect her daughter?
Michelle Mason can’t remember that day, that drive, that horrible crash that killed the young man in her car. All she knows is she’s being held responsible, and her daughter is missing.
Despite a shaky marriage, a threatening lawsuit, and troubling flashbacks pressing in on her, Michelle throws herself into searching. Her daughter is the one person who might know what really happened that day, but the deeper Michelle digs, the more she questions the innocence of those closest to her, even herself. As her search hurtles towards a shattering revelation, Michelle must face the biggest challenge of her life.

I'm so excited to have Lehr visiting for my Mothers' Month and giving away a copy of the novel. I asked her a few questions.

You write a lot about mothers, from Welcome to Club Mom, to Nesting, to What A Mother Knows. Why?
There is so much to write about! I have two daughters. I thought I was ready going into it, but no. Motherhood is overwhelming. 

What’s the first book you remember reading?
Are You My Mother  - the one where the little bird asks everyone, even a tractor, if it his mother. So sad – and so happy when he finds her. Hmm, maybe that’s why I write about mothers so much. Wanting one, being one, needing one.

What would you say is your biggest writing quirk?
I have to have popcorn and Diet Pepsi, no matter what time of day it is.

What does success mean to you?
Gong to bed with a smile on my face.

Where are you from and what do you love best about your hometown?
I’m from Upper Arlington, a suburb of Columbus, Ohio, and the best part of growing up there is the Fourth of July. Every neighborhood has a float for the parade and a van goes around in the morning with a loud speaker waking everyone up in time. Then there are neighborhood BBQ’s and town swimming races and ice cream socials, and of course, fireworks. I moved to LA on purpose, but I wish my kids could experience that. Excuse me while I get plane tickets…

What is the best part of your web site? 
I like that book clubs can contact me for a Skype visit. Most people like the lemon bar recipe.  They’re in the story, so my friend Cathy made four dozen for my launch party this week. They were gone in minutes.

What’s the best advice anyone has ever given you?
You can’t fail until you quit. Thanks, Dad!

To win a copy of What A Mother Knows leave a comment here on the blog or on my Facebook author site. What does a mother know? Tell me one thing in your comment!

And visit Leslie on her website
Find her on Facebook
Tweet with her on twitter @leslielehr1 
and get your book group together for a Skype visit with her. Sounds awesome! Thanks, Leslie. I can’t wait to read it.



  1. never take no for an answer especially when you are dealing with your kids.

  2. I know to give my kids unconditional support!

  3. Wonderful interview and I would love to win s copy of the book.

    Ann Ellison

  4. Lonie Vieira-WalczakMonday, May 13, 2013

    Let your child find his or her way in the world but be close by to hold out your hand in case they stumble or fall.

  5. You write so sensibly!

    My comment:
    You need to teach your children there IS a line they can't cross, that you are the adult and make the decisions, and they are children.

    The way I explained it to them, well in advance (and more than once) was: "If you push things too far, if you argue as if we were equals, or in any way forget who you are speaking to, you will get a warning, because I am the parent. If you persist after that warning, you will lose the argument, EVEN IF you are right. By definition, no appeal allowed."

    Each one of them tried it once or twice, realized that I meant it, suffered the consequences - and then learned.

    A parent HAS to be able to take a stand and enforce it. Period. I think kids need to know the grownup will act like a grownup, and make the hard choice.

  6. Good, strong advice! I think children tend to feel safer when they know the boundaries, provided the boundaries are given firmly and gently.