Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Guest post with Kristi Wientge, author of KARMA KHULLAR'S MUSTACHE

Today we are thrilled to host Kristi Wientge, author of KARMA KHULLAR'S MUSTACHE, published August 15, 2017 by Simon and Schuster. Debut author Kristi Wientge tackles the uncomfortable—but all too relatable—subject of female body hair and self-esteem with this sweet and charming novel in the tradition of Judy Blume. Be sure to stay tuned for the giveaway at the bottom of the post!

Postpartum Book Baby Depression

You’ve seen the photos of authors wrapping their books up in baby blankets or the writing community wishing fellow authors Happy Book Birthday.

I’m a mother of four, so I’ve had my fair share of babies and I’ve written six manuscripts some of which I’ve spent years on trying to get just right. Like the unique challenges I’ve faced with each child, books are all too similar. So, I understand this comparison and want to expand on it because there is much more than just getting a book out there, after all, giving birth doesn’t end there. You have an ever-developing relationship with your child and any possible future children—books or human.

Also, one of the less talked about truths of giving birth is the depression, doubt, fear and/or complete lack of feeling that can follow. I’ve felt a mixture of one or more of the above emotions after the birth of each of my children, but I never expected to feel any of this after my book came out—or gave birth to it—or whatever.

There were weeks where I couldn’t string together a sentence. There were days I was sure my agent saw something in me that I’d faked and could never replicate. AND if my agent had gotten all wrong, then what in the world had my editor been thinking? Good reviews didn’t really seem to matter because how was I ever going to pull it off again?

I’m no doctor and there is no medicine to cure postpartum book baby depression, but I can share a few pointers that helped me through the slump.

1. Don’t be your own worst enemy.

a. You can protect your time—that may mean early mornings or late nights or cutting off Netflix.

b. You can demand time—I often feel un-empowered by this, after all, the kids have homework, then there’s dinner to cook and laundry, etc, etc. So, how do I demand my time? I’m off duty at 8pm. Do it yourself or go to bed. My husband isn’t the kind to take the kids out for hours at a time and give me that space, so I have to carve it out when I can. If I keep treating my writing as my “dirty little secret” that wracks me with guilt, those who aren’t supportive of it are also going to view it this way.

2. Surround yourself with people who “get” it and will support you. None of my CP’s live in Singapore. Even if they hopped on a plane to help me, it’d take them a day and too much money BUT I can post on Facebook in our private group and get at least 10 to 20 encouraging comments, helpful tips and suggestions to spur me on.

3. Don’t give up! The struggle is real. Acknowledge it. Work through it. Nothing worth it comes without some pain and struggle.

Kristi Wientge is originally from Ohio where she grew up writing stories about animals and, her favorite, a jet-setting mouse. After studying to become a teacher for children with special needs, she spent several years exploring the world from China to England, teaching her students everything from English to how to flip their eyelids inside out. She’s spent twelve years raising her family in her husband’s home country of Singapore, where she spends her days taking her four kids to school, Punjabi lessons, and music. With the help of her mother-in-law, she can now make a mean curry and a super-speedy saag. Karma Khullar’s Mustache is her debut novel.

Karma Khullar is about to start middle school, and she is super nervous. Not just because it seems like her best friend has found a newer, blonder best friend. Or the fact that her home life is shaken up by the death of her dadima. Or even that her dad is the new stay-at-home parent, leading her mother to spend most of her time at work. But because she’s realized that she has seventeen hairs that have formed a mustache on her upper lip.

With everyone around her focused on other things, Karma is left to figure out what to make of her terrifyingly hairy surprise all on her own.

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  1. My unforgettable middle grade moment is when a boy who I'd only considered as a friend and fellow baseball enthusiast, decided to kiss me while we were playing hide and seek.

  2. I love my middle schoolers and I know many girls, including myself, that have this issue.

  3. I'm fascinated by the connection you make between "book babies" and human ones! Your tips for protecting your time and going "off duty" at a certain point are excellent as well. I have two young children and teach full time; my husband has definitely been a wonderful and necessary partner in my ability to create space and time to write.

    My uncomfortable middle grade moment? I did musical theater, and when I broke my hand I needed a cast that had a giant metal finger support right in the middle. Awkward. I had to perform a solo-- "How are things in Glocca Mora?" while inadvertently giving the whole audience the finger.


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