To start the day, I'd like to share an excerpt form Sumertime, by Lynn McMonigal:
“What are you doing in my kitchen?”
I stopped in the middle of cracking open an egg, squeezed my eyes shut, and sighed. This was not an easy way to start the morning. Making breakfast for Nana was not a problem. It seemed like such a small thing I could do to repay her for the years she spent raising my sister Erin and me. Some days, and this looked like it would be one of those days, Nana’s dementia was worse than others. She got confused easily. Sometimes I wondered if it was the illness or just that Nana resented not being able to do things for herself. That Erin and I could even operate a stove was a mini miracle, given that Nana had always hated having anyone in her kitchen.
“I’m making your breakfast, Nana,” I said, finishing up with the egg and turning to face her with a smile. Smiling at her was not always easy. Since Papa had died three years before, Nana’s health had grown steadily worse. The days of thinking “No way can she be as old as her driver’s license says” were long gone. Instead of the vibrant, petite woman who loved everything about life, I looked at her and saw a little old lady, patiently (or impatiently, depending on the day) waiting for death. I watched as she shuffled into the kitchen from her bedroom. “How do ham and cheese omelets sound today?”
“Humph,” Nana said. “Can’t imagine it will be any good. Only my Laura can make a ham and cheese omelet good enough for me to eat.”
I smiled to myself as I went about preparing her meal. Even if it was a morning when she didn’t know who I was, it was nice to know that she knew my cooking from Erin’s. Not that it was difficult to tell the difference—I could make just about anything without the aid of a recipe; my sister had been known to burn water.
Nana made her way slowly to the living room. I heard the familiar creaking of her favorite recliner as she settled in front of the TV. The television came on, and Nana muttered something about how she hated commercial breaks. I stifled a laugh. She had always complained about the commercials during her favorite morning program, NBC’s Today Show. Nana thought the show would be better with fewer commercials and more shots of Matt Lauer.
I was just moving Nana’s omelet from the pan to a plate when I heard Matt’s voice coming from the TV. Nana muttered that she didn’t want to hear him, she wanted to see him. Not for the first time, I thought about writing a letter to the Today Show anchorman. “Dear Mr. Lauer,” I’d write, “Since Nana remembers more about you than she does about me, do you think you could begin paying her medical bills?”
Yeah, not likely he’d read that and not send the FBI looking for me.
The music floating in from the TV didn’t make much sense to me at first. Sure, I knew what it was, but I had no idea why, after they’d been out of the spotlight for a decade and a half, ZeroGravity music would be playing on morning TV. Balancing the omelet plate on top of Nana’s juice glass, I grabbed a tray table to set up in front of her seat. No way would she eat at the table until NBC’s morning program was over.
I’d gotten good at setting up her tray with one hand through the years. Nana was mumbling about those idiots, screaming for a bunch of washed up old men. I finally looked at the TV. My favorite band was back together and performing live. “My granddaughters used to go crazy over these guys when they were in school,” Nana told me, snatching her fork out of my hand and waving it at the TV. “Used to make my husband and I listen to them all the time and drooled over the pictures of them they had plastered their bedroom with. It was so nice when the girls moved on and got those talentless kids out of their heads. Used to compare them to the Beatles—can you imagine? As if any of them could hold a candle to Paul McCartney and John Lennon.”
On my way back to the kitchen, I glanced at the pictures of my daughter, Barrett that hung on the wall above the sofa. Nana had no idea how much one of those “talentless kids” still resided in the head—and heart—of one of her granddaughters.
For some reason, Nana decided to turn up the volume on the TV. No point in questioning it. She wasn’t hurting anything, and since Barrett was already off to school there was no one in the house who would be disturbed by the sound. I just shook my head, thinking of how Erin and I would have been punished for playing anything that loud, and went to work cleaning up the kitchen.
Then I heard his voice. There was no mistaking it, and I’d know it anywhere. The sound of his singing never failed to make my heart flip. Something was different this time. The words he sang were new, and caught me by such surprise that I dropped the coffee mug I was loading into the dishwasher.
Walking on the beach that summer day, her beautiful eyes stole my heart. I wonder if she ever thinks of me, and all the things that we could be?
My right hand fluttered to the locket around my neck, the one I had rarely taken off in the past ten years.
Was he singing about me? Did I ever think about him? Of course I did. I heard myself whisper, “Do you remember it, Joey? Do you think about me?”
Now, I would like to introduce you to a very special woman:
1. Can you tell us your name and the title of the book you live in?
My name is Laura Bell. I am 32 years old and I live in the book SUMMERTIME, written by the awesome, amazing Lynn McMonigal.
2. Describe to our readers what your role in the book is.
Well, I guess my main role is just to tell my story.
3. How did you convince your author to put you in this book? For example, did you visit a dream or make yourself known some other way?
Anyone who knows Lynn knows she is a HUGE New Kids on the Block fan. She is particularly crazy about Jordan, you know. I had a story to tell, and I knew if I wanted Lynn to tell it, I would have to get her attention through the New Kids. When she heard about their reunion and the song “Summertime”, she started to hear bits and pieces of my story. I got into her head that way. Before long, she figured the only way to get me out of her head was to get me into a book.
4. Is your author easy to work with or controlling?
She is pretty easy to work with. At least, I thought she was. The things she wanted me to do sounded good to me. And I love that she was willing to talk to me and really dig deep to get to the root of some problems.
5. Would you tell us about one of your favorite friends from this book?
Favorite friend? How about if I tell you a little about my daughter, Barrett? After all, she is the one I do most everything for. I have to say, her birth was a surprise. OK, so I had about six months to get used to the idea that she was coming. It’s just that I never planned on being a single mother. Then again, I suppose there are not many who do plan to raise a child alone. I wouldn’t trade it, though. Barrett is the best thing that has ever happened to me. Sure, there are things that I wish had been a little different. Like I wish she had not spent the first 9 years of her life without her father. But she is a great girl, and I am proud to be her Mom. I think I’ve done a pretty good job with her.
6. Do you plan on appearing in another book or are you happy to be where you are?
Oh, wow. I don’t know. My story has been told, but Crystal and Erin might want a turn telling about their lives. I’d be willing to make an appearance in their stories, though I am not sure I need another book written about me. I am not sure that I want my privacy invaded that way again.
7. What would you like our readers to know about you?
Oh, now you will just have to read SUMMERTIME to learn more about me!
8. Did you learn anything during your adventure in this book?
I think the best lesson that I got out of my adventures would be the truth of Romans 8:28—“All things work together for good for those that love God.” There are a lot of things in my past that I was somewhat embarrassed about. Even though they happened before I became a Christian, I thought they were mistakes that would haunt me forever. But God worked miracles through them. He used those experiences to bring me closer to Him and closer to my family.
9. Can you tell us what you think is the most exciting thing that happened to you in your book?
Oh, I can’t tell you that! It might give away a bit too much! But I will say my trip to New York City and a chance encounter on the crowded street were awfully exciting!
10. Is there anything in your story you wish you had not done? Why?
I can’t say that there is anything I am really sorry about. Sure, there are always things we wished had happened a little differently, but I am happy with how things turned out. If I had changed anything, the ending might have been different.
11. What was your main motivation?
My daughter, Barrett. She has been my motivation for most everything since they day I found out I was pregnant.
12. Introduce us to your main adversary?
That would be me! My attitude, my stubbornness.
13. Is there anything you would like to have done but your author stopped you?
Nothing I can think of. Lynn’s pretty easy to work with. She knew where I was going to end up and we did a very good job working together to get there.
14. Here’s your chance to speak your mind. What do you want to tell everybody?
I love my daughter. She is everything in my life.
15. Please tell everyone where they can find out more about your story and where they can purchase it.
You can find out more on Lynn’s website—www.lynnmcmo.webs.com. She also talks a lot about the story on her Facebook fan page, too. The book, SUMMERTIME, is available on her website and at Amazon.com http://www.amazon.com/Summertime-Lynn-McMonigal/dp/1442102535/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1241986537&sr=8-3
Please come back on May 29th for an interview with Lynn and then on the 30th for my review of Summertime!