Interview and Giveaway with Author Sam Wilde

Today, author Sam Wilde visits my blog and I grill her mercilessly until she agrees to tell us about her book and answer a few questions.

Why Sam Wilde is Awesome

Photo of sam Wilde

Photo of Sam Wilde

Samantha Wilde is the author of I’ll Take What She Has and This Little Mommy Stayed Home (both from Bantam Books). The at-home mother of three young children, she moonlights as a minister and a yoga teacher. She’s the graduate of Smith College and Yale Divinity School and lives in Western Massachusetts.

Find her on the web:
Twitter: @whatshehas
Wilde Mama Blog



About I’ll Take What She Has

Cover of I'll Take What She Has

Cover of I’ll Take What She Has

Best friends since kindergarten, Nora, a reserved English teacher, and Annie, an out-spoken stay-at-home mother, wrestle with the green-eyed monster when the new history department hire at the suburban Boston prep school where they teach, Cynthia Cypress, arrives on campus. A missing grandmother, depressed sex therapist, and a financial crises add to the comedy in a novel about imperfect friendships, mixed up families, messy motherhood, and the quest for the greenest grass.

Carolyn: Every time I see that cover I smile. That baby looks so happy!

Praise for I’ll Take What She Has

Publisher’s Weekly: “With wit, compassion, and a keen ear for dialogue Wilde explores issues of insecurity, envy, young motherhood, and friendship in this fast-paced work.”

RT Top Pick! “Wilde speaks the language of women and communicates what lies in their hearts…a gem of a read.”

Read the first chapter at the Random House website.

Where to Buy I’ll Take What She Has

Sam Answers A Few Questions

What made you want to write this story?

I came up with the title and synopsis on the phone with my mother, novelist Nancy Thayer, during a brainstorming session just as I was getting my book contract. The initial idea, to write about envy and newlyweds, came from her, the title and plot from me. As soon as I sat to write the book, the three main characters, Nora, Annie and Cynthia appeared. And though they are all, in a sense, newlyweds, I really ended up writing about motherhood and friendship. Being led by your characters into a story is one of the pure joys of writing.

Every parent is busy, especially when their children are young. Can you talk about how you balance family and your writing day?

I wrote my first novel during my first son’s nap times. He slept one hour in the morning and one hour in the afternoon. Through two more children I have, essentially, stuck with that same schedule. Now I work while my older son is at school, my toddler is napping, and my preschooler has quiet time (usually listening to books on tape). That gives me less than an hour most days—which is hardly enough time to look at emails. I work after bed-times as well, though not every night. Some years I have had a babysitter for roughly three hours a week, some years I haven’t. I love being a mother and for right now, as an at-home mother, I stay close to that identity and vocational calling. Working into the corners, edges, and crumbs of time in my day has made me a more efficient writer, a more patient person, and much less attached to my writing career. Writing an awesome scene and hearing someone call out, “Can you wipe my bum?” really puts everything into perspective.

Writing a funny book is hard. Do you think some writers are just naturally funny or is it something that can be learned? Any tips for those of us who are humor impaired in their writing?

I wholeheartedly agree. It’s hard to be funny! And, of course, when you’re funny, no one takes you seriously! I have the hardest time writing humor when I feel down myself. But I love to achieve funny. In the margins of the manuscript of I’ll Take What She Has, I often wrote, “Funny enough?” The best way I know how to get more funny juice (besides drinking it) is reading funny writers, watching funny films, and listening to funny comedians. Good humor always comes off as effortless, kind of like watching a ballerina float across the stage. Well, I studied ballet seriously for years and my toes bled! The word grueling comes to mind. When you know the hard work and effort required, it doesn’t feel so unnatural to have to work a little at it. But can anyone be funny? No. But a writer doesn’t need to be funny. A writer only needs to find her own authentic voice. Mine somehow came out funny.

One day, you’re walking along thinking about your next yoga glass. Suddenly, a time portal opens up right in front of you. Assume the following things are true:


  1. you can go anywhere in time you want;
  2. You will return to your family unscathed and not even late for anything;
  3. You can bring something back with you without causing a rupture in the space-time continuum that will destroy us all.
  4. You can’t go back in time to prevent some massive evil because that answer, while probably true, is not not where I’m going with this.

Answer the following:  What time period do you choose and why and what object do you bring back and why?

photograph of Sam Wilde's Great Grandmother

Great Grandmother

That’s an awesome question! I don’t think anyone has ever asked me that. It also makes me want to brush up on my history. It’s been so long since I thought clearly; the deficits of mama-brain could potentially lead me to say something like: “I would go to the time of the Egyptians and return with a printing press.” Can I come back with a person? I would probably head out to the turn of the last century, the year 1900, because that’s the time period I studied while an English major at Smith. The changes, excitement and innovation of that time, the cusp of modernity fascinate me. Also, the clothes. Oh, such beautiful clothes. I really do live in the wrong time for fashion. I am the only person I know who doesn’t own a pair of jeans. I would return with (can I have more than one?) hats! Hats and more hats! All those gorgeous, fanciful, elegant, expressive hats. I can’t wait for hats to come back into fashion somewhere other than in my children’s playroom where they always boss me around saying, “Mama, that’s my dress up box.”

What do you hope readers will like best about reading your book?

I hope they will laugh! I hope they will laugh out loud. That’s always my favorite compliment: I never laugh out loud at books and I did when I read yours. In the end, for me, that big laughter is about recognition, a truth being seen, so in laugher, I think so much happens: levity, joy, relief, touch of freedom and healing and a sense that you are not alone.

Any surprises while you were working on the book? Characters who did unexpected things? Did anything make you laugh out loud/cackle evilly while you were writing? If so, what was it?

I rewrote that book so many times over so many years for so many editors that when it finally came time to write a brief description of the book for my publicist, I really didn’t know what the things was about! What surprised me was the adaptability of my characters. The two main ones, Annie and Nora, survived so many editorial changes and remained, at heart, nearly the same. I feel close to them and proud of them. I cheer for them now that the book is out in the world, almost as if I had nothing to do with their story. But then writers are allowed to be weird like that, aren’t they, thinking about their characters as if they were real?

What’s next for you?

In my house, we really take it one day at a time! My husband has such a hard time with planning ahead that he often leaves arranging airline tickets for major business travel to the last minute! This can make some things in life hard, on the other hand, it’s a blessing to find anything encouraging you to stay more in the present moment. I have a third novel that I love nearly done. How happy I would be to have it out there! In the meantime, someone has to clean my house (much neglected with all the publicity I’ve been doing), potty train my toddler, enroll my daughter in gymnastics, teach my son the proper way to print a letter “d” and eat the cake in my refrigerator. I volunteer!



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11 Responses to “Interview and Giveaway with Author Sam Wilde”

  1. Leslie Germain says:

    Hi! This blog site and contest offers me so much, i.e., another avenue that I travel as I follow and support the ever so lovely…Samantha Wilde; possible itunes gift card (that I will give to my son, Raphael), keeps me writing – Yeah! Thank you!

    my entry: At work, we are to have a cookie bake off.
    Last evening, I spent hours baking, from
    scratch, my exotic, passion fruit filled
    macaroons. Later, I strolled to the grocery
    store to purchase some fresh fruit. While in
    line to pay, I noticed my neighbor/co-worker,
    Samantha. It seems to me that at work and
    everywhere, Barbie-esque Samantha is awed – she
    seems to have everything. Therefore, I was
    deflated when I saw that she was buying some
    ready to bake cookies. I went home and drank two
    bottles of wine, 4 shots of espresso flavored
    Patron tequilla.

    This morning, I tossed my proverbial cookies
    into my macaroon cookies. My envy, fear, pain
    and unnecessary defenses defeated me yet again.

    a This morning I tossed…my cookies
    into the air – I saw and smelled the cookies that
    my Barbie-esque neighbor

    • Leslie Germain says:

      ooops! I guess the bit of editing that I did is obvious – the last paragraph was not intended(consciously) to be there. Oh well, keeps me humble.

  2. Christine L. says:

    This morning, I tossed and turned from the time the alarm clock sounded until the seven-minute snooze period ended. Then I did it again. Thrice. Still managed to make it to the office early, but feeling like tossing my cookies (Leslie G’s entry is SO good). Thanks for offering this giveaway!

  3. This is very funny! A couple more entries and we could have a novel. I’m not in the running, but this morning, I tossed my toddler in the air. Luckily, I got him on the way down!

  4. Chelsea B. says:

    … the covers over my head and went back to sleep. 🙂

  5. Lisa Carl says:

    This morning I tossed some bird seed on my front porch in hopes of bringing the song birds as close to me as possible.

  6. Angie Thompson says:

    This morning I tossed my new dachshund puppy’s rope toy. I am trying to teach Oliver to play ‘fetch’ but he only knows ‘chew’ right now!

  7. This morning I tossed Cheerios for my dog during clicker training.

    (Loved this interview! Always love to read about Smith grads!)

  8. Lisa says:

    This Morning I tossed out all the expired food in my fridge which thankfully wasn’t too much and heading out a little later to go food shopping.

  9. Margaret S says:

    This morning I tossed the covers back and got ready to go to my husband’s Cardio Therapy. I am so glad he is still with me after 36 years and a heart attack/bypass scares!

  10. Sola says:

    This morning I tossed my books into a bag, my tea into a cup, and my sunglasses onto my head, and headed out to take advantage of the sunshine. In March. In Portland.