I LOVE today’s author and was blessed to travel through her journey to publication at our weekly critique group meetings. (She a dynamite critique partner!) I can’t tell you how the shivers ripple up my spine every time I see this book cover. What an amazing story!
So today, I get to “speak” to Barrie Graeber, the main character in Kellie Coates Gilbert’s wonderful novel, Mother of Pearl, released in 2012 by Abingdon Press.
MARJI: I so appreciate you being here, Barrie. I know this has been a difficult time for you, but I want to get a feel for what you’ve gone through. List three things that are true about you.
BARRIE: I am tenacious, frank, and understanding.
MARJI: All good qualities. I like honesty and compassion. And when I think of tenacious, I think of that little Rikki Tikki Tavi story with the ferret and the snake. Interesting picture. What is something you can’t change about yourself, but you wish you could?
BARRIE: Ha….I like an extra biscuit now and then . . . okay, often.
MARJI: Ha! Me, too. What do you love about your job?
BARRIE: I love being a high school counselor, where I guide teenagers into higher education and career choices. When interviewed by a local news station after being awarded High School Counselor of the Year, I tell the reporter that guiding teens is a lot like nailing jello to a tree. As my story progresses, you’ll see how extremely true that is when my own daughter spirals into depression and makes life choices she can’t take back.
MARJI: What do you hate about your job?
BARRIE: Most people could concur, there is always one person at every workplace that gets under your skin. At Sawtooth High School, I have to work with a very arrogant coach named Michael Warren. He rubs me wrong at every encounter . . . and then I learn the unthinkable about my nemesis and the consequences are profoundly life-changing.
MARJI: Besides your job, what element of your life stresses you out the most?
BARRIE: I definitely have a tense relationship with my mother. As a teen, I shamed the family by not living according to her pretensions, and even now that I’m an accomplished wife and mother, she won’t let me forget it.
MARJI: Speaking of being a wife and mother, what are your thoughts of marriage?
BARRIE: Well, this is another area in my life that took me by surprise. When I needed my husband most, his coping mechanisms were contradictory to my own and our relationship suffered. I expected understanding, and someone to listen. When my husband couldn’t fix our broken family situation, he wanted to move on, leaving me alone in my darkest moments.
MARJI: I guess that situation all had to do with your greatest regret. Can you explain how you felt?
BARRIE: I’m trying to hold back tears here, but I most regret not noticing my daughter’s deepest struggles. As much as I resent my mother, I duplicated our broken relationship with my own sweet Pearl and cost us dearly.
MARJI: I know all the prying hurts. But I can’t help but wonder what lie you believe?
BARRIE: It’s my fault.
MARJI: That must be almost unbearable. How about an easier question. What is one thing that stands out in your memory as a success?
BARRIE: As a mother scorned, I stood against all opposition and brought someone to justice.
MARJI: My deepest gratitude to Barrie Graeber for opening up like this. She is definitely an amazing character. Here’s a little more about her book, Mother of Pearl:
Barrie Graeber has two great kids, a loving husband, and a respected job as the high school counselor in her close-knit community. Without warning, everything unravels when her teenage daughter, Pearl, is betrayed by friends and lashes out.
Nothing prepares this mother for the helplessness that follows when her attempts to steer her daughter back on course fail and Pearl shuts her out . . . or when she discovers the unthinkable about her nemesis, the football coach.
Emotionally riveting and profoundly moving, MOTHER OF PEARL brings us into the heart of a mother bound by an incredible burden, who ultimately finds she must recognize her own vulnerability and learn to trust in something much bigger.
This book is brimming with deep emotion. It has 40 5-star ratings and is actually compared to some of John Grisham’s work. Not surprising! You can find Mother of Pearl on Amazon.
Here’s little more about Kellie:
Kellie Coates Gilbert is a former legal investigator and trial paralegal who writes with a sympathetic, intimate knowledge of how people react under pressure. Kellie’s books tell emotionally poignant stories about women in life-changing circumstances. She writes about messy lives . . . and eternal hope.
Please visit her online at www.kelliecoatesgilbert.com