Friday, April 1, 2011

Interview with Josie Brown

I’d like to welcome our guest today, Josie. It’s a pleasure having you come visit us at Much Cheaper Than Therapy, where chocolate is plentiful and advice is free. So grab some chocolate and a lounge chair. Your therapy session has begun.

I understand you have a new release out called THE BABY PLANNER. Can you tell us a little bit about your fabulous new book?

It’s the story of a woman, Katie Johnson, who makes her living helping new and clueless, or overworked, moms prepare—physically and emotionally—for the births of their infants. Katie is a natural for this type of consulting work because she was previously a product safety advocate. She also desperately wants a child of her own, but her husband, Alex, has every excuse in the world as to why she shouldn’t get pregnant. He was married previously and has a ten-year-old son who lives in Europe with Alex’s ex, who refuses him custody.

THE BABY PLANNER is a very interesting title. How did you arrive at that name?

I’d never heard of this profession before. Then last year, while I was waiting in the reception office of my mammogram clinic, I picked up a parenting magazine and read about this woman who called herself a “baby planner.” Immediately I knew there was a wonderful story here! Women have babies for all sorts of reasons. And babies influence relationships in so many ways. In this book, you and Katie go on a journey together. Of course, it influences Katie’s take on mothering, parenting, and marriage in profound ways.

What made you decide to write in this genre?

This is my fourth novel. All of them are contemporary women’s stories. We live in such an exciting time. I love asking “What if…” and then creating a different twist on (to paraphrase Anthony Trollope) the way we live now

Are you a plotter or a pantser and how did it affect the writing of this book?

I am the consummate plotter! I write out a one-line premise: what they call a log line in the film industry. Then expand that to a synopsis. From there, I create a three-act story, so that I know that the book’s plot keeps its momentum. My fans are very vocal that this is why they keep coming back. I’m very proud of the Publishers Weekly review on THE BABY PLANNER, because the reviewer SO got it, so I know my fans will be pleased as well.

Did you have to do a lot of research for the book? What are your favorite research books or sites?

Yes! I pulled articles from all over the world, about baby planners (the concept seems to have started a few years ago, in England) and I gathered information from the websites of baby planners, too. In fact, I now have a directory of baby planners on my own site,

Which character did you like writing about the most, and why?

I love my heroine, Katie. She is sharp yet vulnerable. Her husband, Alex, was fun to write because he is so flawed. Katie’s clients all have their own issues and vulnerabilities, and it was a blast coming with the fears that we all face when we realize the maturity needed to be a parent.

Tell us about how you develop your characters. Do you create character sheets, do interviews, that sort of thing? How does your research affect your character development?

The term “character” is apt, when applied to a book: those who live in it must have unique voices and personalities in order to make us fall in love with them and follow their stories to its conclusion. That said, in my books, every character has a purpose. Even when they move or are introduced as a group, my goal is to give them something you’ll remember them for, as well as a piece of the story that moves it forward. At any given point of the book, Katie’s connections with her various clients is funny, touching, and sad. In other words, lots of mama drama!

Do you have any authors that inspired you?

I love Margaret Mitchell, Edith Wharton, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Martin Cruz Smith, Graham Greene, and John Le Carre. Truly, a mixed bag, but what they all have in common is an eloquence of voice and plots that never let up the momentum.

What do you feel is the most effective promotion you have done for your book?

I’ve been blessed with all the baby planners who have reached out to me as soon as they learned about the book. In fact, they are hosting me for readings, all over the country, True to the book, these events are happening inside of baby boutiques. Lots of raffle prizes, and swag from great companies like Spiffies, EcoStoreUSA,, and Sprout Organic Baby Food, which was co-founded by celebrity chef Tyler Florence. It’s the ultimate mom’s meet-up, but you don’t have to be a new mom—or for that matter, a mom—to join us. Everyone is invited, because I love meeting readers who are touched by my books. And if you show up, you automatically get enrolled in my contest for a $100 gift card to your favorite bookstore. Check out the events listings at

What do we have to look forward next?

I’m working on a historical saga, as well as a contemporary story about marriage and heartbreak, seen from the point of view of four women and a man. Both books have me in tears as eye write. It’s been a great experience.
Thanks, Josie!

You’re welcome! Can’t wait to meet you in person!
Me Either. See you at RT! (KW)

To celebrate her book release, Josie is offering a free book of The Baby Planner to one lucky commenter on today's blog. (please check the blog Monday night to see if you won. Chances of winning determined by the number of entries.)

She will be around all day today. I'm sure some of you have questions or comments for her, so please ask away...

Check out author’s website at

Buy at


Anonymous said...

Good morning Josie. Thanks for joining us today. I forgot to ask, do you prefer dark, milk or white chocolate? The Baby Planner sounds like a wonderful book. Sure wish I'd had a Katie around when I had my two children. :) Who'd a thought...Have fun today.

Donna Hatch said...

I'd never heard of a baby planner, but I seriously could have used one. All those babysitting jobs did not prepare me for motherhood! What a cute story idea!

liana laverentz said...

I think I could have used a book like yours about 17 years ago! Congratulations on your great success with the baby planners! Have a great day...

Wendy_Ely said...

Sounds like a great book!

Cara Marsi said...

Very interesting. I never heard of a baby planner. How creative of you to see that article and spin it into a book. And the books sounds terrific. Very cool that baby planners are hosting readings for you.

Shelley Mosley said...

What a clever idea for a book!

Estella said...

A different topic for a book. sounds very interesting.

Laurie Schnebly Campbell said...

What a cool concept -- it makes so much sense to plan for a baby the same way brides plan for a wedding. Hmm, maybe a Baby Planner Gift Certificate would be a good wedding present...