Blog Tour: Menopause to Matrimony @shellyhickman #review #interview #giveaway
Date Published: November2014
The sequel to Vegas to Varanasi catches up with Anna and Kiran a couple of years after the event that brought the once “ugly duckling” high school acquaintances together. But will their romance continue to flourish in the face of a whole new set of insecurities brought on by middle age? First, there’s Kiran, who has an unexpected health scare. While his doctors assure no permanent damage has been done, there seems to have been some damage to his personality, as the normally respectful and reserved Kiran begins behaving erratically and overtly. Anna wants to hope that this is temporary, sparked by the visit of Kiran’s womanizing, free-spirited cousin, Seth. But is this just the midlife Kiran surfacing? Anna has midlife issues of her own. Now forty-eight, she’s navigating the onset of perimenopause and all the delights that come with it, from facial hair to mood swings to body temperature issues. On top of that, her two-year-old granddaughter is starting to show signs of a behavior disorder, bringing with it a whole other level of stress and worry.
Will Anna and Kiran finally find their happily ever after? Or end up stuck in a midlife mess in this romantic comedy of accepting change, and “the change.”
What a wonderful piece of Chick Lit. I call it chick lit even though it is also a Romantic Comedy because I really feel it would appeal to those who are fans of the Chick Lit Genre. It is a great novel that follows up Vegas to Varanasi. We get to see what happens after Anna and Kiran find love. I love the aspect of the novel in which they are older than your typical romance novel couple. They face different challenges. This novel is witty and fun while also being emotional and deep. Wonderful! Interview
Is There a Message in Your Novel That You Want
Readers to Grasp?
There’s not really a deep, underlying message for
readers of this novel. As I began experiencing some of the symptoms of
perimenopause—many of which I didn’t realize were peri-related until I started
doing some Googling—I thought it would be fun to explore some of the issues
women at this life stage have to deal with. A lot of this stuff isn’t openly discussed,
and I think women may feel like they’re alone, crazy, or both, as they start
going through some of these changes, and it can be kind of scary. My attempt
was to approach this topic, along with matters of family and romantic
relationships, with humor and honesty.
Is there anything you find particularly
challenging in your writing?
I have difficulty deciding what to include and
what to leave out. Because I’m the type of reader who doesn’t prefer huge
amounts of detail—whether it be descriptions of the scenery, or lengthy transitional
material that takes me from one conflict to the next—when I write, I often question
if I’m rushing through for fear of losing the interest of my reader. It’s
something I try to improve upon with each work.
How many books have you written and which is your
I’ve written four books, and I suppose many
authors would say it’s hard to choose a favorite because each work is a part of
you in some way. My first book, Believe,
is probably the least popular with readers. Admittedly, the writing is quite
bare compared to my current style, but because it was my first novel—more of a
novella, actually—and deals with the loss of my daughter, it will always be
special to me. I’m thankful for Foery MacDonell, who had a small publishing
company at the time, because she saw something in the work that merited
sharing. If it weren’t for her, I’m not sure I’d have had the confidence to go
out and do this writing thing on my own.
If you had the chance to cast your main character
who would you pick and why?
I see Sarah Jessica Parker cast as Anna. In Vegas to Varanasi, the prequel to Menopause to Matrimony, we learn that
she’s never been a “beauty,” but she has an endearing personality. I’ve always
been a fan of SJP because, although she doesn’t possess classic Hollywood looks,
her characters are so down-to-earth and approachable. I’ve liked Sarah since I
first saw her on the TV show Square Pegs
in the ‘80s.
When did you begin writing?
I’ve written sporadically since the early ‘90s.
How long did it take to complete your first book?
I’m not even sure because I put it away and came
back to it several times. I actually started writing Believe while my daughter was still here, after she had completed
thirteen months of chemotherapy and I believed her cancer was behind her
forever. So, it started out very syrupy and Pollyanna-ish, nothing like the reflective
piece it is now.
Did you have an author who inspired you to become
I have several favorites, but I wouldn’t say any
of them actually inspired me to become a writer. For many adult years, I read
mostly non-fiction, such as Deepak Chopra, Wayne Dyer, the Dalai Lama, and tons
of others. My favorite fiction writers growing up were Judy Blume and V.C.
Andrews. As an adult I enjoyed Richard Bach, and later, Nora Ephron and J.K.
Rowling. (I know—quite different!)
What is your favorite part of the writing
I’m not a plotter when I write. I’m just not. I
start with a general idea with bits and pieces in mind, and pray that it’s
enough to take me all the way through to an acceptable conclusion. So my
favorite part is when I find my momentum. When the characters come to life, and
it feels almost as if the story is writing itself.
Describe your latest book in 4 words.
Crap. That’s a tough one! How about “midlife
mayhem with heart.”
Can you share a little bit about your current
work or what is in the future for your writing?
I’m not working on anything at the moment. I’m
not the type of writer who immediately gets to work on something new the minute
a project is complete. In fact, I’m the total opposite. I usually write in the
summer months when I’m not teaching. I’m so blessed to have that luxury,
because I’m afraid if I tried to write while working, I’d just become super
resentful of having to pull myself away from it for my real job. (Smiles) I
don’t know how other writers do both because it must be incredibly difficult. I
would like to try and write one more book that follows Menopause to Matrimony, but don’t have any ideas at the moment.
Since I teach middle school, I’ve also considered having a go at the young
adult genre at some point.
Living in Las Vegas since she was two, Shelly Hickman has witnessed many changes in the city over the years. She graduated from UNLV with a Bachelor of Art in 1990, and in her early twenties worked as a computer illustrator. In the mid-90s, she returned to school to earn her Masters degree in Elementary Education. She now teaches computer literacy and media technology at a middle school in Las Vegas. She loves to write about people, examining their flaws, their humor, spirituality, and personal growth. Shelly lives with her husband, two children, and their dog, Frankie.