Monday, September 11, 2023

Kim Imas Interview - Beast Mom

Photo Content from Kim Imas

Kim Imas received degrees in engineering and urban planning, from Duke and Harvard respectively, before pursuing a career as a writer. Her work appeared in Boston Magazine and The Boston Globe Magazine before she turned to longform fiction. Her first novel, a romance, was initially published under a pen name and earned praise from Publishers Weekly for its “smooth prose and witty dialogue.” A former Oregonian, Kim now lives with her family outside New York and tries to do in novels what Dolly Parton does in song: deliver stories of women’s struggles in a way that’s too damn delightful to ignore. She loves a good crossword.


When/how did you realize you had a creative dream or calling to fulfill?
Heading into my senior year of college, I was an unhappy (and regretful) engineering major. On a whim, I decided to fulfill one of my few and final electives with an Advanced Creative Non-fiction seminar. I happened to have an amazing subject to write about: I’d just spent the prior spring in a remote part of Chilean Patagonia, sea kayaking, backpacking, and mountaineering.

I felt like I’d been hit by a truck—in a good way!—in that seminar. In contrast to the assignments I had as part of my major, I absolutely loved this work and stayed up extra late in the public computer cluster polishing my essays. My instructor and classmates were encouraging and kind and the work was very well-received. I knew, then, that I was a writer at heart.

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
Soon after my first novel came out, I went to an event that had nothing to do with publishing or with my book. But when the organizer—a friend of mine—introduced me to everyone, a hand shot up in the crowd and the person said, “We just read your book in our book club!” It was such a great feeling to see first-hand that something I’d put so much into really did have a life out in the wider world, and that people were enjoying it.

What was the single worst distraction that kept you from writing this book?
I have ADHD, so for me, distractions are numerous, intense, and ever-present. What’s more, my family moved houses not once but TWICE during the years (yes, years) I spent writing Beast Mom, and one of those moves was entirely across the country. Also, a little thing named COVID-19 happened. My kids had to do some remote learning.

Throughout this time, I stressed about my slow and halting progress and felt like I “should” be doing more, faster. But looking back, I’m inclined to be much kinder toward myself. It was an unprecedented period of time, and we were all doing the best we could!

Has reading a book ever changed your life? Which one and why, if yes?
Yes—Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community, by Richard D. Putnam, which first came out in 2000. It’s a robust sociological survey that looks at why Americans spend less time together than they did in previous generations. It carefully examines all of the extensive research that pertains even a little bit to how we spend our time. And in the process, the book debunks several of the hypotheses that are often put forward for why we all socialize less on the whole. It also affirms why that’s a problem, and why we should each try to increase the time we spend engaging with others in our communities, whether through dinner parties, church, the titular bowing leagues, or any number of other gathering opportunities.

I’m glad you asked this question, because Beast Mom is very concerned with the relatively low support that moms in the United States experience. And I think one of the many repercussions of Americans’ diminished community time is that new moms—who are already subject to certain isolating forces—are less connected to their communities than their predecessors were. This makes an inherently difficult period that much harder, and it serves to hide what these parents are going through and, crucially, the ways in which we could offer them more support.

Can you tell us when you started BEAST MOM, how that came about?
I started conceptualizing Beast Mom near the end of 2017. Women had already shown how pissed they were during the women’s marches earlier that year, on the heels of a bruising defeat of a female presidential candidate the prior fall. And now, horrific allegations were coming out about powerful men like Harvey Weinstein, related to their behavior toward women. I decided to write a story about an angry woman, and I did.

Your Favorite Quotes/Scenes from BEAST MOM
I enjoy these excerpts on account of the way they describe Harry’s experience first of turning into, and then being, a monster:

“[T]he thing that happened to me on the street that night? That I watched. That I heard and felt as it happened, limb by limb, in a state that approached rapture. Every part of me moved in a way that it shouldn’t. It was fascinating to me, and it was beautiful. I watched as my tendons, ligaments, and muscles slithered like snakes under my skin. I listened to the satisfying crackle of my bones, as they grew to new lengths and poked and prodded at the skin that bubbled and stretched to accommodate them. It reminded me of my emergency C-section for Jo and Frankie, when the doctors yanked my intestines this way and that before rearranging and re-stapling my organs together again—except this didn’t hurt, and I wasn’t scared.”

“If…the monster wanted to roll and revel in her monsterness, like a dog in some foul carcass in the woods, who was I to tell her no? Harriet was—I was—part-monster now, and I can only assume nature intended monsters to love differently.”

What is the first job you have had?
Lifeguard (like Harry!)

What is your happiest childhood memory?
Laughing with my family around the dinner table.

Name one thing you miss about being a kid.
My grandmother.

What is the first thing you think of when you wake up in the morning?
Why is it so freaking early???

What is your most memorable travel experience?
My husband and I went to a family wedding in Venice, Italy, soon after we began dating. The entire trip was magical.

What is one unique thing are you afraid of?
Quicksand, eek.

When was the last time you told someone you loved them?

What is your greatest adventure?
I spent three months off-the-grid in remote Chilean Patagonia. I was taking National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) course in which we sea kayaked, backpacked, and mountaineered. We went to places that hadn’t been fully mapped. It was amazing.

What was your favorite subject when you were in school and why?
It’s a tie between social studies and English. Social studies because I loved learning about the world and its history and English because it came more naturally to me than any other subject.

An Oregon mom is about to lose her $#!t.

It might be what the government’s been waiting for.

On the outside, Harriet “Harry” Lime is a typical American mom. But after years of packing all the lunches and picking up all the socks, she’s become a bit…off on the inside. And after stumbling upon the offensive new statue at her daughter’s school, she gets unusually angry and turns into a gigantic monster.

Now she’ll have to figure out why that keeps happening—and why some mysterious uniformed men have begun lurking around town—all while keeping up with the grocery shopping, the carpool, and all those %@#!-€*&ing socks.

As soon as Harriet discovers that other local women are undergoing their own amazing transformations, she faces the sudden danger of being ripped away from everyone and everything she loves. Still, she’s begun to wonder: How much of her old life—with its surplus of cleaning, cooking, and monthly cramping—does she want to hold on to, anyway?

You can purchase Beast Mom at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you KIM IMAS for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of Beast Mom by Kim Imas.

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1 comment:

  1. Getting my mom to speed up on a hill. We went airborne. She wasn't amused when we bumped our heads.