Today I am privileged to welcome author Eve Marie Mont to Colloquium! Eve’s debut novel, Free to a Good Home, has gotten excellent reviews and been warmly embraced by readers. You can read my review here.
In addition to contributing a very special guest post, Eve has also graciously provided one autographed copy of Free to a Good Home to be awarded to a lucky reader! (See entry details below.)
Coming of Age at Any Age
When I first began writing Free to a Good Home, I had just turned thirty-five, that magical age when I assumed I’d have my life all figured out. The goals listed on my ten-year-plan would be neatly crossed off, all my ducks in their proverbial rows. And to some extent, they were. Marriage to a great guy? Check. House in the suburbs? Check. Rewarding job? Check.
But when I examined my life more closely, I realized it only vaguely resembled the one I had imagined when I was in my twenties. Where were the two adorable children named Emma and Charlie, spaced three years apart? Where was the perfectly appointed house that didn’t flood every time it rained? Where were the trips to Paris and Greece that I somehow imagined I’d be able to afford on a teacher’s salary? And why, despite loving my job, did I still have this itch to write about fictional people and places?
The older I get, the more I realize that those imaginary checkpoints we set for ourselves don’t matter as much as we think. Sure, it’s important to set goals and to have dreams, but sometimes life sets us on a trajectory of its own, and we find we’ve strayed far from the path we’d once envisioned. The good news is, for everything we thought we wanted that didn’t materialize, something unexpected arrives in its place, changing our lives in ways we never imagined.
Two of these unexpected “arrivals” inspired me to write Free to a Good Home. One was my dog, Maggie. We adopted her thirteen years ago from a shelter, where we learned she was a “problem dog” who’d been adopted and returned three times for various reasons. But as soon as we met her, it was clear that the only problem was she hadn’t found the right owners yet. Since the day we brought her home, she has taught us so many wonderful lessons about living in the moment, taking joy in the small things, and loving unconditionally.
The second inspiration for Free to a Good Home was my mother-in-law, Anne Mont, who passed away this May after a courageous battle with Lou Gehrig’s disease. Movies and books tell us a mother-in-law is the scourge of the married woman, forever raising her eyebrow in disapproval or making snarky comments about our lax domestic skills. I never imagined that my mother-in-law would be one of the most supportive and nurturing people in my life, or that she would end up being one of my biggest fans. Through the way she lived her life, I have learned how to give more selflessly, to persevere with grace, to support those I love, and to appreciate all that life has given me.
In a scene from one of my favorite movies, Miracle on 34th Street, Maureen O’Hara plays an ambitious career woman who subscribes to a no-nonsense philosophy that doesn’t allow for distractions, or as she calls them, “intangibles.” Her love interest, played by the endearing John Payne, warns her not to overlook those lovely intangibles. “You’ll soon discover,” he says, “those are the only things that are worthwhile.”
I’ve come to believe that having at all figured out isn’t about completing a checklist of accomplishments or acquisitions; it’s about discovering that kindness and love and joy—those “lovely intangibles”—are what makes life worth living. And in my opinion, that’s a lesson it’s never too late to learn.
What’s the best lesson you learned from a pet or a loved one?
Eve lives with her husband, Ken, and her shelter dog, Maggie, in suburban Philadelphia, where she teaches high school English and creative writing. Free to a Good Home is her first novel.
In conjunction with your book club’s reading and discussion of Free to a Good Home, Eve is available for a phone chat or Skype visit. Click here to submit your request.
Eve is currently working on her second novel.
Enter to Win an Autographed Copy of Free to a Good Home
Leave a comment in which you answer Eve’s question! Be sure to include your email address (for notification purposes).
Leave a separate comment below for each bonus entry –
- Comment on my review of Free to a Good Home.
- Become a follower of Colloquium on Google Friend Connect or confirm that you are already a follower (leave your Google Friend Connect name)
- Follow Colloquium on Facebook Networked Blogs. (Note: Asking to be my friend on Facebook does not count as a bonus entry.)
- Follow me on Twitter — be sure to leave your Twitter name in the comment
- Subscribe to Colloquium via RSS or Email and confirm your subscription
- Tweet about this giveaway and leave the link to your tweet in a comment!
- Post this giveaway on Facebook and leave the link to your post in a comment!
The book can only be shipped to a United States or Canadian address (no P.O. box).
Thursday, October 14, 2010, at 11:59 p.m. (Pacific time)
Thank you, Eve!
Betty at Reflections With Coffee was selected at random as the winner!