Congratulations! You’re a Mom and an Author!

by Meryl Evans | Category: Books, Meryl's Notes Blog, Writing 14 comments

Welcome to meryl’s notes blog (this here place you’re lookin’ at) in Plano, Texas. We’re honored to be a stop in Kristin Bair O’Keeffe’s WOW! Women On Writing Blog tour. I first met Kristin through Christina Katz. Since then, I’ve read her book, exchanged a few tweets and emails and absorbed her column in Kristin Bair O'KeeffeWriters on the Rise. (Stay tuned in this post if ya wanna win this book!)

About Kristin Bair O’Keeffe
Kristin Bair O’Keeffe is the author of Thirsty and an American who lives in Shanghai, China. She is also a voracious reader, a happy mom, an engaging teacher who believes in “telling the best story you can…believing in your writing…and working your arse off,” a fierce advocate for the end of domestic violence, and a writer who spends as much time as possible in writerhead. To find out more, visit or Kristin’s blog at

Now… post from Kristin Bair O’Keeffe.


You’re a Mom and an Author!


The Beginning

On September 26, 2008, I was in an orphanage in a small village in Vietnam. On that spectacular, unforgettable, life-changing day, a nanny placed my eight-month-old daughter in my arms for the first time.

Three weeks later when our adoption was complete, my husband and I wrapped our arms around Tully and each other, finished up our Vietnam journey, and returned to our home in Shanghai, China.

On October 24 — less than a month after I officially became a mom — I got an email from David Sanders, the director of Swallow Press. “We would like to publish your novel Thirsty,” he told me.



After all the dreaming, work, sweat, worry, anticipation, rewrites, excitement, ups-and-downs, paperworkpaperchasingheartsmashingheartopening, I achieved two lifelong dreams in less than one month’s time.





Good gracious me.

What Next?

Of course, all the gorgeous things that are supposed to happen when you become a mom and when you become an author happened:

  • I fell in love with my daughter. Deeply, madly, sweetly.
  • I read and reread (and um, yes, reread) the email from David Sanders, rejoicing in the fact that my debut novel finally was going to make its way into readers’ hands.
  • I obsessed about formula, vaccinations, and pediatricians.
  • I nested and made a comfy home for our family.
  • I obsessed about the quality of water in China and prayed that our bottled water was as safe as they said it was.
  • I obsessed about what the cover of Thirsty would look like and wondered if I’d get a chance to say “yea” or “nay” or if the worst happened, “Have you lost your bloody mind?”
  • I obsessed about… (you see the trend here, yes?)


then the reality hit. Suddenly I had to edit my novel AND take care of my new baby…at the same time. While I’d dreamed of both things happening, never had I expected them to happen in the same month.

Kristin Bair O'Keeffe and daughter Tully

Kristin Bair O'Keeffe and daughter Tully

Now when I look back, I can’t quite figure out how I did it, but I guess that’s the mystery of human will. I was determined not to have any childcare help during Tully’s first months at home…the three of us had a lot of bonding to do as a family. So while Tully was awake and Andrew was at work, she and I were a team…the dynamic duo. We wandered the streets of Shanghai, danced, played, read books, touched noses, and got to know one another.

While Tully slept (during naps, early in the mornings, and late at night), I edited.

Was I exhausted?


Was I cranky at my husband?

Oh, gosh, yeah.

Did I neglect important friendships?

Too often.

Was I deliriously happy?


Did I finish the edit?

Barely, but yes.

Ta Da!

Thirsty: A NovelNow…jump in time to October 1, 2009. Thirsty is in bookstores. Tully and I are in the United States for a mini-book tour. She is a happy, silly, healthy, brilliant, stubborn toddler. I am a happyhappyhappy, silly, healthy (and yes, sometimes stubborn) mom with a great husband and terrific friends who all nurtured me through my happiest, most challenging new mama moments. I am also an author.

Win: To win a copy of the book, please leave a comment at least 50 words about parenthood, the place where you grew up or a favorite locale. You have until 11:59pm on November 25, 2009 to qualify for the drawing. The unbiased and robotic has the honor of picking the winner.

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