Interview with Melanie Dale, Author of Women Are Scary
After one introductory email — we were friends. I think we might be at “first base” according to her book, Women Are Scary (launching the 24th!). However, I’m certain we are nearing fourth base. She makes me laugh as hard as some longtime friends – and we’ve never met in person.
I just finished up her book this week (while Ella played in pigeon poo) and you will all enjoy this one thoroughly.
It’s a light-hearted, hysterical real. Nestled inside jokes, she provides some insightful tips to surviving friendship during these mommy years.
“Just like the other kind of dating, there are bases.”
“Maybe small talk isn’t really small. When mamas who shape the future start sharing and laughing…isn’t that world changing?”
“Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but there’s a point when it gets creepy.”
“One mom caring can change a family. A group of moms caring can change a community.”
“For a mom-to-mom hug, you’re going to want one arm on top, one on bottom. Anything else will feel like you’re at a middle school dance, in which case there’d better be some “Unchained Melody,” Boys II Men, and swaying from side to side.”
Interview with Melanie Dale, Author of Women Are Scary
First things first, tell me who came up with your title and cover design. I’m obsessed.
Thank you! The original title was “Dating for Moms,” which would’ve left a lot of single parents disappointed when they realized my book wasn’t about romantic dating. My agent, editor, and I all put together lists of ideas, including “Women Are Scary,” which is the title of the second chapter, and Zondervan ultimately chose that.
For the cover, my husband is a graphic designer, so he started playing around with cake pops and I texted the idea to some of my friends. My friend Chantel wrote back that one of the cake pops needed to take a bite out of the other one. Alex put together a mock-up of the idea and I sent it to Zondervan and their designer, James Hall, created the cake pops that you see. It’s my favorite cover in the history of reading. I’m so happy.
Now, on to your cute family – tell me about those cuties.
We had Elliott (7) after a five-year battle with infertility. It’s so appropriate that he’s obsessed with science, because God used a ton of science to bring our boy into this world. He loves Legos and Minecraft and reading about zombies.
We adopted Evie (5) from Ethiopia when she was almost two. She loves dress-up and lipstick and telling everyone that she’s Ethiopian. She greets people at the door, “Hi, I’m Evie, and I’m from Ethiopia.” She’s learning how to spell words and never, ever, ever stops talking. She loves all the words so much.
Last year, we adopted Ana (10) from Latvia. She’s spent the year learning English and figuring out the fourth grade and is handling it all waaayy better than I would. She loves to dance and her laughter is nonstop and infectious.
Why did you write a book? And how did you find the time?
As a mom, you know, it’s not like we get to go on fancy writer’s retreats to a Unibomber-style cabin in the woods. I wrote this book after dropping my kids off at school and after bedtimes at night, and I finished it 2am after 2am in Latvia while we worked through the process of bringing Ana home.
What are some things you’ve done as a mom – you said you’d NEVER DO.
Well first, I said I’d never have kids. Oops. Um, what else? Let my kid use a pacifier. I think that one ended, like, the first night we brought him home. Lunchables, watch too much TV, video games. We joke around here that we have to stop saying “never.” We said we’d never adopt. We said we’d never adopt out of birth order. Just whatever.
When did you first realize women are scary?
Ninth grade. Unlike the rest of America, I had a great middle school experience, but it all went to heckballs in ninth grade. My friendships exploded, I ended up with mono sick at home with a monstrous pile of homework, and I was so, so very pathetic and alone. That’s about the time I started hanging out with guys instead and cowering in fear from most girls.
How can we be less scary?
Even when we’re making different choices for our families, we can offer each other encouragement. We are all on the same team. I’m learning to silence the judgey voices up in my head and celebrate the other moms in my life. Most of the time my judgey voices are coming from an insecurity that I have, that I’m not good enough, that I don’t have her giftedness. So I’m trying to get to the root of my junk and learn to embrace who I am, and that makes me waaayy less scary and way less scared.
As you are aware, there roughly 192 great books coming out per second. Tell us what makes yours unique.
Holy cow, Court, I think a little pee just came out. BOOKS ARE SCARY. Um, so mine combines all my favorite things into one book. Movie quotes, sci-fi references, bible verses, quirky dialogue, jazz hands, some deep stuff, some shallow stuff, and poop stories. I’m not gonna lie, I’m a little bit in love with my book. I think my book would be a good friend. And hey, my husband says it makes a great bathroom read, so, um, I think that’s a compliment.
As a Christian woman, do you think it’s important that we are funny and lighten up a touch?
This question makes me laugh and I’m not sure how to answer it. Care-ful-ly. I think it’s important that I lighten up and laugh. I’ve tried being really serious and I kinda suck at it. Laughter has always been my favorite coping mechanism. Laughter and Rainbow Nerds. And Nerds Rope. Really the whole Nerds oeuvre.
What did God teach YOU through this book?
From the perspective of the writer, that it’s okay to be myself. I’ve always had a quirky, weird sense of humor, but as a Christian mommy blogger, I’ve felt like I should be “more spiritual.” Around my friends, I’d be sarcastic and quote movies but then when I’d blog, I’d switch voices, like how we do when we pray and go all breathy. I call it our “Dear Jesus Voice.” In this book, I felt like God was kinda giving me permission or leading me to be myself. That he can use all of me. He can use all of us and we don’t have to try to be spiritual or impart knowledge. We can just be ourselves. It was a little nerve-wracking sending this book out into the cosmos of Christian publishing wondering “Who is going to publish this book? It’s so freaking weird! It’s so exactly who I am!” And so I’m forever grateful to Sandy Vander Zicht and Zondervan for seeing something in a sci-fi geek, movie-quoting, sarcastic Jesus-lover.
Who makes you laugh most often?
Jimmy Fallon, Tina Fey, my kids (usually when they aren’t trying to be funny). Right now I’m reading Mindy Kaling’s book Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? and I keep high-fiving her photo on the front cover. I really want to be her friend and am looking into stalking options.
@UnexpectedMel – Twitter
#WomenAreScaryBook – Instagram
Unexpected.Org – Blog and more
I was going to do a giveaway, but there’s no reason to wait. It’s that good. Go get one from wherever books are sold. And if you run into this hysterical human in Peachtree City – hug it out for me.
Happy Launch Week My Friend! So proud of you.
Love, one of the scary moms
Courtney and Melanie,
I’d heard about the book, but now feel I know what it is about so much better. And I know the two of you better. Thanks for reminding me that I don’t need to get all breathy all of the time. Especially when I don’t feel like it.
I’m really excited to read this book – thanks for sharing about it and Melanie!