Editor’s Note: This exchange is part of a series of brief interviews with emerging writers of recent or forthcoming books. If you enjoyed it, please visit other interviews in the I’ve Got Questions feature.
- What’s the title of your book? Fiction? Nonfiction? Poetry? Who is the publisher and what’s the publication date?
Meet the Moon is fiction, for YA and adult audiences.
Publisher – Regal House (Fitzroy Books), September 15, 2022
- In a couple of sentences, what’s the book about?
In 1970, 13-year-old Jody Moran’s mother dies in a car accident that almost kills her little brother. Meet the Moon is a novel about how Jody will find and lose her mother, again and again, until she can keep alive the memories of a mother who loved her.
- What’s the book’s genre (for fiction and nonfiction) or primary style (for poetry)?
YA and cross-over adult literary fiction
- What’s the nicest thing anyone has said about the book so far?
Alice McDermott, National Book Award winner and Pulitzer Prize Nominee, said:
Jody Moran is an endearing guide – funny, smart, word-wise – through this sad and triumphant coming-of-age tale. There is such clarifying honesty here, about grief, friendship, resilience, and faith. There is as well a keen and vivid sense of an era that seems more innocent than our own and yet remarkably timeless, perhaps because Kerry Malawista understands so well the enduring grace of family love.
Jennifer Richard Jacobson, author of SMALL AS AN ELEPHANT, said. Meet the Moon is delightfully poignant and equally funny, this story reminiscent of Judy Blume will no doubt steal the hearts of readers of all ages—just like it did mine.”
- What book or books is yours comparable to or a cross between? [Is your book like Moby Dick or maybe it’s more like Frankenstein meets Peter Pan?]
Meet the Moon’s protagonist, 13-year-old Jody Moran, is Scout Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird meets Margaret in Judy Blume’s, Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret.
- Why this book? Why now?
In our current times, with our scarcity of strong, empathic male leaders it is critical and refreshing to have a loving, engaged father. Unlike many fathers in fiction, Jody’s dad is his daughter’s advocate. He tells her she can be president; visits a bully’s house to lecture the boy’s dad; takes Jody to buy her first bra, insisting that a dismissive saleswoman fit her. His progressive parenting helps the five kids—four of them girls—cope with their mother’s loss. Jody’s father teaches his children to believe in the “Power of Intention” – announce what you want to the world and you can make it happen.
While Meet the Moon takes place in 1970, today’s teens are dealing with loss, perhaps now more than ever in post-Covid-time. It is essential for kids and teens to feel they are not alone with loss, to see there is still a positive future ahead. And for parents to see how a loving, stable consistent parent can make all the difference when a child faces a loss.
- Other than writing this book, what’s the best job you’ve ever had?
While writing, I am privileged to work as a psychotherapist, forming deep connections with my patients, hearing their stories of loss and love and helping them find their way through troubled times.
Psychotherapy is much the same pursuit as writing, putting into words something imagined, felt, or experienced by a patient. In writing and therapy, I get to explore not only what lies beneath and within those words and come to understand the power they have over us.
- What do you want readers to take away from the book?
The title, Meet the Moon, comes from Frost’s poem, Going For Water, where the speaker and companion children go in search, across barren land, for a brook that still runs. Frost writes that “we knew we heard the brook,” and that they “run as if to meet the moon.” He captures the jubilance and hope, the necessary belief that all must have to find what they are looking for. I’d like readers to take away this same feeling, that despite the loss of a mother – the moon – Jody (and reader) discover that there is more to be found in the world, that the brook never runs dry.
- What book(s) are you reading currently?
Currently I am reading Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus. A wonderfully written novel with an endearing, quirky, smart protagonist. Garmus captures the early 60’s culture and the many ways women were limited by stereotypes and paternalistic work places. Inspiring, and at moments, laugh out loud funny.
- What food and/or music do you associate with the book?
The Morans’ are a blue-collar Irish American family, that never traveled beyond New Jersey and only know plain traditional cooking. Grandma Cupcakes, when she isn’t bringing home cupcakes from her assembly line job at Hostess factory, is making Slumgullion stew, a meal consisting of whatever is left over from the past several days of meals. The Moran kids are horrified to find boiled potatoes, roast beef, beets, peas, corn, and fish all in one dish! A distasteful array of colors—green, yellow, brown, purple, all mashed together. The sour and vinegary smells just as varied and nasty.
Meet the Moon includes a variety of popular music from the 70s, most especially The Beatles. The importance of the Fab 4 is clear when Jody and her sisters make up a game they call, Beatle Baseball. An indoor game played with a nerf ball, an umbrella bat and four Beatle Beatle’s vinyl album covers as bases. The White Album as first base, Let it Be, second, and third a Sgt. Peppers cover. When the batter makes a hit, they are required to sing a song from the particular album that covers the base they are running towards.
Learn more about Kerry on her website.