BookLife Talks with Marianne Spampinato
A sponsored Q&A with the author of 'Listen to Your Mother'
Erma Bombeck fans will delight in Spampinato's humorous take on Mother knowing best.
What is the story behind Listen to Your Mother—what inspired you to write it?I am a columnist and freelance correspondent for Our Town, a local weekly newspaper in Somerset County, Pa. Readers have told me that they especially enjoy my columns about my rescue dog, Galla, and my relationship with my mom. Inspired by this response, I came up with the idea for Listen to Your Mother during the summer of 2017. My mother has always told me I have a book inside of me. I finally listened to her.
Tell us about your mother. What was she like when you were a child?
We didn't have the stereotypical "Wait till your father gets home" family; my mom was the disciplinarian. Like her mom, she managed the family budget and paid the bills. Like her dad, who was a gifted craftsman, she can figure out all sorts of things. Mom has great inner strength and knows her own mind. She made many sacrifices, including going back to work full-time when I was in elementary school, so we could have a better life.
Did you always follow your mother's advice? What about the times when you didn't?
I have pretty much ignored her warning not to eat chocolate because it makes your face break out, as well as her advice to not snack. My mom also advised, "Don't rush; take your time." One unfortunate day, I ignored this and another of her warnings, namely not to wear cuffed pants, as I'm a bit of a klutz. I was rushing around doing errands during my lunch break and caught the heel of my shoe in the cuff of the other pant leg. I fractured my left big toe and was given crutches, which meant people around me were in for more comedy.
How are things different today than when you grew up?I grew up knowing my grandparents and seeing aunts, uncles, and cousins on a regular basis. Such family ties reinforced our shared heritage and accumulated wisdom. Today, we're much more mobile. In our area, many had to relocate for work, especially after Bethlehem Steel and U.S. Steel closed local mills. My cousins and their children, as well as the children of many friends, are spread out across the United States. Since more women work outside the home than when my mom returned to work full-time, children are in day care or are watched by people outside the family. Life has also dramatically changed due to technology, the internet, and social media. These changes aren't necessarily bad—I keep in touch with distant relatives and friends on Facebook—but today children are growing up in an environment far different from the one I grew up in.
Who is your ideal reader and why?
I've heard from many people around my age that Listen to Your Mother brought back precious memories of their own moms. I know one woman who bought my book for her daughter when she was expecting her first child. An older woman bought it as a wedding gift for her granddaughter. Although women may relate more to the book, I've also received positive feedback from men.
What is the one thing you most want to tell readers, other writers, booksellers, publishers, or agents about you or your book?
Listen to Your Mother is a slice-of-life book. Readers are bound to relate to some of the sayings and anecdotes. The book is available on madeinsomersetcounty.com and on Amazon. Wholesale bulk orders may be arranged with the Daily American, parent company of Our Town. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will forward requests to the publisher. You can also find me on Twitter @mts_wrtr and on Facebook @Listen2urMother.