My BLGs Book Club selection for October was Kellie Coates Gilbert’s debut novel, Mother of Pearl, a deeply moving novel of a mother’s love for her daughter.
I’m thrilled to share Part 2 of our interview with you here. Be sure you read Part 1 here first.
**Please beware ~ spoilers ahead!**
Mother of Pearl
Barrie Graeber has two great kids, a loving husband, and a respected job as the high school counselor in her close-knit community. Without warning, everything unravels when her teenage daughter, Pearl, is betrayed by friends and lashes out.
Nothing prepares this mother for the helplessness that follows when her attempts to steer her daughter back on course fail and Pearl shuts her out . . . or when she discovers the unthinkable about her nemesis, the football coach.
Emotionally riveting and profoundly moving, Mother of Pearl brings us into the heart of a mother bound by an incredible burden, who ultimately finds she must recognize her own vulnerability and learn to trust in something much bigger.
Kellie: Mother’s chin lifts. She places her arm on Dr. Nazarov’s. He nods and follows me up the stairs.
I can tell the moment the drug hits my system. My eyes grow heavy and exhaustion weighs down, pressing on me like a vise, until I can no longer stay awake. Just before drifting off, I see an image of Pearl walking away down a beautiful path lined with brightly colored flowers, hand in hand with Jesus.
I struggle to stay awake long enough to form words.
Give her back.
Who is your favourite character?
The protagonist’s mother, Elaine Taylor, ended up the most interesting character for me to write. She’s a tough cookie with good intentions that nick at Barrie’s self-esteem.
I think readers enjoy watching what happens when Elaine is forced to shed her layers of self-protection and how the story events alter her relationship with Barrie.
Did you have any other names you were considering for Pearl?
No. I knew from the very start her name would be Pearl and the title would be MOTHER OF PEARL.
What do you have planned for your next book? And what stage is it at?
Like I mentioned earlier, I’m currently working on a manuscript about a wealthy Texas socialite who loses her Neiman-Marcus lifestyle when her husband is arrested for cattle fraud. I see the story developing a little bit like a Bernie Madoff saga where the actions of the husband/father severely impact every aspect of the wife’s and adult children’s lives. And in these uncertain economic times, I’d like to portray how important it is to focus on Jesus Christ alone, and not on our possessions and bank accounts.
I’m nearing the one-third point. I’m a bit of a seat of the pants kind of writer. I develop a general road map, but then take off driving toward my destination not knowing for certain the exact route I’ll take.
Who are some of your favourite writers?
I adore Elizabeth Berg and Cassandra King. Each develop characters so beautifully that by the time I close the last page of their books, I almost feel lost for a few days. I miss my new “friends.”
What is your preferred genre to read?
I am a women’s fiction lover!
I read in other genres, but no story touches me like that of a woman finding her way and discovering a new truth, a better way of relating, a fresh outlook on life. Well-written women’s fiction alters how I think about life and presses a rise to a better me.
How do story ideas usually come to you?
I’m a former legal investigator and trial paralegal, who worked on many high profile cases. People are often at their most vulnerable in these tense situations where much is at stake, which has allowed me a unique perspective on the human psyche. Early in my legal career, I recognized there could be value in telling stories about people facing life-changing circumstances.
Who would you choose to play your major characters in a Mother of Pearl movie?
I laughed when I read this question. In that notebook I mentioned earlier, I pasted photos of my characters from popular television shows and movies here in the U.S.
I chose the woman who played the coach’s wife in the TV show Friday Night Lights as Barrie. This actress also now stars in the new show Nashville (the red headed gal).
Steve was the guy who played Lorelai’s love interest on the Gilmore Girls.
Michael Warren was the coach on Friday Night Lights.
Elaine Taylor was Lorelai’s mother on the Gilmore Girls.
Tess Graeber was Meryl Streep in the movie, Mama Mia.
Callie Pratt was Lindsay Lohan. Her mother MaryAnn was Melanie Griffith.
Book: Same Sweet Girls by Cassandra King
Movie: Bridges of Madison County starring Meryl Streep and Clint Eastwood
TV Show: A triple tie between Friday Night Lights, Parenthood and The Good Wife
Please share a little of your spiritual journey
My Gram introduced me to Jesus as a child and I attended a tiny church with her in my small home town in Idaho (the Pacific Northwestern part of the United States). As a teen, I drifted and beer, boys and bars became a big part of my life. When I became pregnant with my first child, everything changed. Something about carrying a life inside your own body creates a craving for the One who gives life.
In my early twenties, I plugged back into a church and dedicated myself to living for Him again.
Following the Lord is an exhilarating journey. If a person finds living as a Christian monotonous, it ain’t Jesus they’re bored with. He’s the wildest ride a person can take!
Thanks Kellie (and apologies for taking so long to get Part 2 posted!)
And a BIG congratulations goes to Kellie on signing a women’s fiction four book contract with Revell.