Thursday, May 9, 2013

Interview with Adam Chester, author of "S'mother"

And you think your mom is too involved? Meet the mother of all mothers.

Adam Chester is the son of a very loving mom, who for almost 30 years has peppered his life with unsolicited advice, news updates, and opinions in the form of thousands of inappropriate, embarrassing, and utterly crazy letters. S'Mother is a hilarious memoir based on this correspondence showing the pathological extremes maternal instincts can take. Why is a grown woman so frantic that her adult son screw on his windows to keep out killer bees? And are adult trick-or-treaters really that much of a threat? Adam saved his mom's letters as proof this all happened and reproduces many of them in the book. And now, with time, perspective, and plenty of therapy, he acknowledges and accepts the comedy of it all and is proud to share his story with you, if for no other reason than to make you feel better about your own mother.

You can see an interview with Adam on George Lopez's talk show here:

And here is a link to Adam's blog:  

I am thrilled to have Adam as a guest on the blog today to talk about his writing process, his book, and of course, his mother!

What would you like readers to know about you as an introduction?

I’d like everyone to know that I’m normal. That I don’t hate my mother, my mother doesn’t hate me, nor is she mad at me for writing this book. In fact, on the contrary, she’s THRILLED about me writing it. Why? Because NOW, she gets to spend even MORE time with me for all the interviews we do.

Tell us about S’Mother. What was your inspiration/motivation behind this book?

Therapy. I had been keeping this ever-expanding collection of letters from my mother to myself for years. Since 1981, to be exact. I kept looking at it, and looking at it, and wondering why I was keeping it, other than the fact that it served as evidence that all of this happened. It was my wife who suggested I start a blog and see if there was any other person in the world who might be able to relate. I named the blog after one of my mother’s letters to me…"Please don’t eat sushi! Love, Mom." Then a TV deal came. Then the book deal happened.

What have you learned through writing this book?

That I’m certainly NOT alone, and that no matter how quirky and crazy my mother is, there are other mothers out there just as kooky. It’s all in how you DEAL with that kookiness that can make your life very sad, or highly entertaining.

How did you get started writing?

Well, for me, since this book was based on over 1,000 of my mother’s letters, my first step was to put all the letters in chronological order. Then, pick the funniest of the lot. After that, I read through them and made notes of where I was and what was going on at the time of each letter to provide some depth. I didn’t want a coffee table book of nothing more than her letters. I felt in order to keep it real and organic, I had to insert my perspective and find a common thread to make it flow to readers who don’t know me ... from Adam.

What is your writing process like? Do you write on a computer? In a spiral notebook? Do you write at the same time every day? 

Well, being somewhat OCD, I was at the computer, same time, every day. But I didn’t let that need for order prevent me from scribbling ideas down at any time, any place they came to me. I think the ending of the book came to me while I was driving to work one day on the 405 freeway.

How do you get ideas for what you write? 

I get ideas by talking to myself until I listen.

What is your biggest advice for other writers?

Don’t try to write. Just write. The only thing that can be an effort, is editing.

What are some of your favorite books?

Well, the books that come to mind right now are Pet Semetary by Stephen King, anything by Paul Zindel and Woody Allen, A Gift Of Laughter by Allan Sherman, Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein, A Spaniard in the Works by John Lennon and Chaos by James Gleick.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

I’m currently writing the pilot for a tv show with a good friend of mine which is loosely based on S’Mother. I’m also thrilled to be writing the music for S’Mother the Musical, that I hope to make happen very soon! My mother is very proud of me.

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