By Leslie Lindsay
A force to be reckoned–Zibby Owens chronicles the myriad emotions, experiences, more in this historically and personally challenging year; an anthology of essays written by authors from her podcast.
“The patron saint of books.”
“The Great Connector.”
~Writers Interviewing Writers|Always with a Book~
A little burst of joy to your bookshelf during a rather bleak and troubling time. MOMS DON’T HAVE TIME TO: A Quarantine Anthology (Skyhorse Press, February 2021) will spark interest, validate this challenging year, and more. It’s filled with anecdotes on the reading life, food, family, mental health, exercise, mindfulness, sex/intimacy, more.
Here, we delve into over 60 short essays from contemporary writers exploring all of these aspects of life–but during quarantine, which makes MOMS DON’T HAVE TIME TO even more timely and topical. I don’t know about you–but as a mom myself, I found that I actually had *less* time once we were shut down at home. It sounds counterintuitive, but true.
“The perfect reminder for every mom that nn of us have it all together, all of us are doing our best and, most importantly, even your worst days make a great story.”
–Nora McInery, author of NO HAPPY ENDINGS and host of popular podcast, TERRIBLE, THANKS FOR ASKING
Each essay is infused with warmth, support, and passion, piecing out little nuggets of wisdom. They are short, too, which made it a quick read. I dare you to not read more than one essay at a time. MOMS DON’T HAVE TIME TO is the perfect addition to one’s nightstand, purse, gym bag…read it on the go, orthodontist waiting rooms, soccer practice, exercise bike, you get the idea.
I was definitely intrigued with the essays, and several gave me inspiration for expansion–either as a conversation with my family/spouse/friends, or in my own writing.
There were some very astute observations and validation here, as well as some laugh-out-loud moments that might ring true not just now, during the pandemic, but also in the future, and I could see MOMS DON’T HAVE TIME TO to be a fabulous gift to a new mother whose baby was born during the pandemic.
Please join me in welcoming the lovely and talented Zibby Owens to the author interview series.
Zibby! Congratulations on this amazing creative feat during such a challenging year! As a writer-mom myself, I know just how tough it can be to carve out time to be creative anytime—let alone during a historically and personally challenging pandemic! Can you talk about the seed of inspiration for MOMS DON’T HAVE TIME TO?
Hi Leslie! Thank you! Originally these essays were intended to be a part of a big splashy website I wanted to roll out, like a Goop for moms. When the pandemic hit, I scrapped that idea and built out a magazine on my own website, www.zibbyowens.com, called We Found Time. Each week, working with editors Claire Gibson, Elissa Altman, and then Carolyn Murnick, we released essays by authors from the podcast, some of which we’d commissioned before the pandemic even hit. We Found Time ran weekly for almost three months until mid-summer when it seemed like maybe we didn’t have time anymore! Then, in September, I started wondering how many essays we’d published. When I realized how many, I copied and pasted them into a big Word doc and was like, “THIS IS A BOOK!”
All proceeds of the book go to Susan Felice Owens Program for COVID-19 Vaccine Research at Mount Sinai Health System. That’s remarkable. But also devastating. Susan was your dear mother-in-law and Marie your grand-mother-in-law, both passed from the virus. I’m struck by a couple of things: 1) You took your grief (and the collective grief of the world) and transferred it into something proactive. Also, 2) You got a book out in no time flat, which, if you’re not ‘into’ publishing, you wouldn’t know how slowly the wheels turn. Can you talk about the process a bit, please?
Sure! Once I realized it was a book, I decided to pitch it to Skyhorse Publishing. I’d met with the Skyhorse team after they’d seen a profile of me on Taxi Tv with Sandy Kenyon! Over coffee, I’d remember being struck by just how quickly they could publish versus all the other publishers. I took my book to them, armed with all the existing contracts I already had signed with authors (which had included the right to publish them in an anthology because hey, you never know) and asked if they’d like to do it with me — on the condition that it came out super quickly. They agreed! We started talking in mid-September and it hit the shelves February 16th.
Like you, I interview authors. I have been doing this since 2013…but this past spring , things really slowed down. ARCs weren’t going out (no one to work in the warehouse). Authors were swamped and terrified and lacking creative flow. We all were. Still, I wanted to get books into readers hands. I continued to reach out. I asked authors to join me in interviews about some of their older books. Some were able to send copies directly from their personal stash, which I am so grateful. But! I had a handful graciously decline. They couldn’t possibly muster up the stamina with ‘everything’ going on. Did you have authors who begged off writing essays because they just ‘couldn’t?’
A few authors bowed out of the project, but most decided to keep writing. I’m so grateful for that. (And love that you asked authors to send you their old books!!!)
Can you tell me about your online literary magazine, We Found Time? Also, you just launched a writing fellowship program, which I understand will really get rolling in 2022. What do we need to know?
I have a new online publication I’m super excited about called Moms Don’t Have Time to Write, spearheaded by Executive Editor Jordan Blumetti, and I’m launching a new super short-form podcast associated with it called “Wake Up and Write,” a daily dose of inspiration for aspiring authors taken from my main podcast, Moms Don’t Have Time to Read Books. And yes!! I’m also excited about the fellowship! I’ll be sponsoring two to four debut women memoirists annually, pairing them with two editors, and helping them sell their books! [See above re: We Found Time. Instead]
What I think we really want to know is: how do you do it all?! I mean, I am dizzy reading the acknowledgements section. You have four kids, do about 50 gazillion things, read a ton, more. What fuels you? What keeps your cup filled?
COFFEE. Energy. Enthusiasm. Passion. A feeling like I need to do this. Everything I’m doing feels like a calling. And I wake up (early, usually with multiple kids and the dog in my bed) and start going. I’m lucky in that I’m FAST. I can type and think and read and everything quickly so I just keep going!! And I let some balls drop and definitely make some mistakes. Plus I’ve assembled a tiny but mighty team to help me!
One thing I noticed as I read–many of the contributors in MOMS DON’T HAVE TIME TO are well-educated, affluent (mostly white) women. Some had the means to quarantine at a vacation home, others had nannies or something similar. There was death, yes, and that equalized things, but not everyone can be so lucky to be employed, partnered, educated, affluent. What thoughts do you have about that?
Well, actually there were a wide range of genders, sexualities, races, religions, and socioeconomic voices represented in the collection. I haven’t assessed their educational backgrounds but you’re right that they’re super bright. I also really disagree about the essayists having nannies and vacationing in second homes. I was lucky enough to be at a home in Long Island when Covid ravaged New York City, but I know I certainly didn’t have any help at all for almost three months; we didn’t see anyone except my ex-husband! So no, actually, I don’t think that’s the case. Many of the authors were truly struggling but took the time out to write which I greatly appreciated. Everyone was juggling a lot during quarantine and this isn’t a collection of affluent writers at all.
Zibby, this has all been so great. Thank you for taking the time! Before we go, what new books are you most excited about?
You’re welcome! I’ve really enjoyed it. I’m excited about The Plot by Jean Hanff Korelitz who wrote the book that became the show “The Undoing.” Count the Ways by Joyce Maynard. Good Company by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney. Animal by Lisa Taddeo. The Lost Boys of Montauk by Amanda M. Fairbanks. Ilona Bannister, When I Ran Away, and Paula McLain’s When The Stars Go Dark.
For more information, to connect with Zibby Owens via social media, or to purchase a copy of MOMS DON’T HAVE TIME TO, please visit:
What to read next: You might want to check out these author interviews from some of the folks cross-referenced in MOMS DON’T HAVE TIME TO and those who have been on my author interview series: Maya Shanbhag Lang’s WHAT WE CARRY was one of my all-time favorite memoirs; also Chris Bohajlian, Rene Denfeld, Jan Eliasberg, Wendy Walker, others also appeared. It would be a fun challenge to tie in their novel-length works with these essays.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Zibby Owens is the creator and host of the award-winning podcast Moms Don’t Have Timeto Read Books. Zibby, named “NYC’s Most Powerful Book-fluencer” by New York Magazine’s Vulture, conducts warm, inquisitive conversations with authors, making her show a top literary podcast as selected by Oprah.com in 2019 and 2020. She also created the Moms Don’t Have Time to Lose Weight community and hosts the accompanying podcast. Zibby is the Editor-in-Chief of Moms Don’t Have Time to Write, a Medium.com
publication. Most recently, she released an anthology, Moms Don’t Have Time To: A Quarantine Anthology (Skyhorse Publishing, 2/16/21).
Before the pandemic, Zibby ran a literary salon, hosted her own book fairs, and was a frequent bookstore event moderator. During the quarantine, Zibby hosted a daily Instagram Live author talk show, “Z-IGTV,” a weekly live show with her husband, “KZ Time,” launched an online magazine with original author-written essays called We Found Time, and started Zibby’s Virtual Book Club. Zibby is a regular contributor to Good Morning America and has recommended books in the Washington Post, Real Simple, and other outlets. She has also contributed to Parents, Marie Claire, Redbook, the New York Times online, and many other publications. She has appeared on Good Morning America, CBS This Morning, the BBC, and many local news outlets. She currently has a two-book deal for children’s books with Flamingo, an imprint of Penguin Random House, and another upcoming anthology with Skyhorse Publishing: Moms Don’t Have Time To Have Kids: A Second Anthology (11/1/21). Zibby serves on the boards of the Mount Sinai Health System, the Mount Sinai Parenting Center, the Child Mind Institute, and co-chairs the Library Council of the New York Public Library. A graduate of Yale University and Harvard Business School, Zibby currently lives in New York with her husband, Kyle Owens of Morning Moon Productions, and her four
children ages 6 – 13. She always has a book nearby.
ABOUT YOUR HOST:
Leslie Lindsay is the creator, curator, and host of the award-winning author interview series, “Always with a Book.” Since 2013, Leslie, named “One of the most influential book reviewers” by Jane Friedman, ranks in the Top 1% of all GoodReads Reviewers and has conducted over 700 warm, inquisitive conversations with authors as wide-ranging as Robert Kolker and Mary Kubica to Helen Phillips and Mary Beth Keane, making her website a go-to for book lovers world-wide. She also snaps artistic photos of book covers and circulates on social media. Her photography has been featured on the cover of Up the Staircase Quarterly; other photography featured in Another Chicago Magazine (ACM) and Brushfire Arts & Literature, works of photography short-listed in the Manhattan Review, forthcoming imagery in The Closed Eye Open. She has contributed to Psychology Today, Poets & Writers, Motherwell, Semicolon Literary Magazine, Ruminate’s The Waking, and many other publications. She currently has a memoir on submission with Catalyst Literary Management about her mother’s devolve into psychosis, their subsequent estrangement, her mother’s eventual suicide. Leslie is the author of the award-winning/#1 Amazon bestseller special needs/parenting/communications disorder book, SPEAKING OF APRAXIA (Woodbine House, 2020), now in its 2nd edition. She has appeared on Language During Mealtime with Becca Eisenberg, CCC-SLP and chatted with Dr. Erik Raj’s graduate level courses about educating future speech-language pathologists. She has also collaborated with various top-ranking pediatric SLPs in her research for SPEAKING OF APRAXIA. A cum laude graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia and the Sinclair School of Nursing, Leslie worked as a child/adolescent psychiatric R.N. at the Mayo Clinic before turning to writing full-time. She has continued her education at Northwestern University and the University of Madison-Wisconsin. Leslie currently lives near Chicago with her husband, and her two teenaged daughters. She always reading or writing. Leslie’s memoir, MODEL HOME: Motherhood, Madness, & Memory, is currently on submission with Catalyst Literary Management. Leslie resides in the Chicago area with her family.
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