Wednesday, September 8, 2010

My biggest critic: My mother

Okay, first things first: I love my mom. She's a wise lady who has sacrificed a lot to help me get to where I am today. She's the person who encouraged me to follow my passions and taught me the value of a hard-earned education. And she is the smartest woman I know. Seriously. My mother triple majored in college. Yeah, you read that right. Triple. Majored. She received B.A. degrees in English, History, and Drama from Misericordia University. She has also not forgotten a single shred of information she learned there. I kid you not. My brother Paul and I used to call her the Walking Encyclopedia, because she could spout off any historical fact from the top of her head.

A sample conversation normally goes like this:

Me (reading a magazine): "Wow, I had no idea that New York was once the capital of the United States."

Mom: "Of course! New York was U.S. capital from 1789 to 1790, and the state capital until 1797. By 1790, it was the largest U.S. city, and in 1898, a new charter was adopted, making the city Greater New York, a metropolis of five boroughs. God, Claudia, didn't they teach you any of that in school?"

Me: "Yeah, like 20 years ago!"

But I digress. I consider my mom my biggest critic because she's the most direct woman I know. If you ask her whether an outfit makes you look fat (and it actually does) she will say yes without hesitation. She delivers her opinion on most things with conviction, too, which makes her views even more difficult to argue with. For example, she is lover of great classic literature, so if she thinks a book is sub par, she will articulate why with the thoroughness of a skilled orator or lawyer. Oh, and she's a Shakespearean scholar as well. She has studied his work and life from every possible angle and has a bronze bust of him sitting on top of her desk. (I wish I was making that up.)

So can you imagine her reaction when I told her that in my next book, I was taking Shakespeare's most well known play and adding vampires to it?  Well, needless to say I've blocked that encounter out of my mind permanently. Can you also imagine how apprehensive I was about giving her a copy of the book this week? My heart was filled with so much glee now that my new novel was on the shelves, and yet when I handed it to my mom, I thought I was going to have a nervous breakdown.

What would she think of it? Um, actually I knew that already. The real question was: what was she going to say to me? Or would she say nothing at all...for once?!

Well, Nostradamus couldn't have predicted her response. The morning after I gave her a copy of Romeo & Juliet & Vampires, I ran into her in the kitchen. She grabbed me by the arms---kind of crazily, I might add--and said, "I was up all night reading your book, and it was incredible!"

I was frozen with disbelief. Had my mom actually liked the book that I was sure she was going to loathe? I was only able to eek out a "Really?"

"It was so good, I could not put it down!" she replied. "I mean it, I was really engrossed in the story. You stayed really close to the original plot, but it felt new and entertaining. I'm really impressed."

I was waiting for her to blurt out, "KIDDING!" but when she didn't, I just hugged her and said, "Thanks, Mom. I'm so happy that you enjoyed it." Then I pinched myself to make sure I wasn't dreaming.

I'm still flying high off my mom's review, and all the positive ones that I've been reading/tweeting online! I'll put all the links at the end of the post, in case you didn't get to see any of them.

I will say this: the common thread in all the blog reviews, and my mom's too--no one expected to like Romeo & Juliet & Vampires as much as they did. So if you have any preconceived notions about mash-up books, I urge you to not judge a book by it's genre and read it for yourself.

Because my mom liked it. So there. :)

* * * *

YA Book Queen - posted on Tuesday, 9/7


The Book Spot - posted on Friday, 9/3


The Reading Teen - posted on Friday, 9/3


The Mundie Moms - Posted on Thursday, 9/2


The Book Girl - posted on Wednesday, 9/1


YA Bookshelf - posted on Wednesday, 9/1



  1. Congratulations on all the awesome reviews, especially the one from your mom!!! She sounds tough to impress. : )

  2. Wow! That is awesome! Coming from a Shakespearian student like she is - you did well, Claudia!!

  3. Congratulations! Surprisingly, I think it's tough to show our work to those closest to us because we care the most about their opinions. And now I need to order a copy of your book!