2 Broads Abroad
Moms Fly the Coop
by Deborah Serra and Nancy Serra Greene
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GENRE: Nonfiction, Motherhood, Travel Memoir
When sisters, Deborah & Nancy, discovered that motherhood was a temp job they decided to run away from home. After packing up that last kid for college, and facing the sad stillness of their suddenly quiet homes, they decided to leave the country. 2 BROADS ABROAD: MOMS FLY THE COOP is a funny, irreverent, occasionally poignant travel tale of their impulsive road trip around Ireland.
In this witty warm-hearted adventure, they experienced some of Ireland’s quirkier history while sharing universally relatable stories of maniacal school coaches, neurotic neighbors, and tiger moms. Having kicked that empty nest into their rearview mirror, the sisters took off careening down the wrong side of the road, making questionable choices, getting trapped in a medieval tower, sneaking Chinese take-out into a famous cooking school, drinking way too much, and gaining a changed perspective on their lives ahead.
When we thought about the phases of our lives at each juncture of change: our own departure from home, our first real job, our marriages, the birth of our children, all of the big phases of change held out something new for us. This change was shaping up very differently. This change was loss – complete dissolution of the fundamental family structure forever and that was all. We had to plan. We needed to be proactive. The alternative was to be left standing frozen in time, in a life that had moved on without us, and to become observers and visitors in our kids’ lives. Not acceptable. So, we set our imaginations loose.
We considered our location. Now that we knew we were leaving – where could we go?
“Angkor Wat,” I said.
“Wat what?” Nancy asked.
“It’s the largest temple in the world, built in 1125.”
“Where is it?”
“Uh, huh. Deborah, I was thinking more along the lines of a bucolic vineyard in Tuscany. You know, stroll along the hills, sample the fruit of the vine, nectar of the gods?”
“Oh. Okay, how would you feel about a camel trek in Morocco?”
“Probably sore, smelly, and hot. And I understand camels are mean and they spit. They spit, Deborah. What about a civilized boat ride down the Rhine River in Germany? They have castles and I know how you like castles.”
“I do like castles, but don’t you think we should go more exotic?”
“This is our first trip together. I’d like to steer clear of nations at war, places we’d need to wear a burka, or can’t speak the language, or ride on an angry animal. Surely we can agree on somewhere.”
“I’ve always wanted to see where grandma’s family came from.”
“With a little research and a rental car we can see the entire island in a couple of weeks.”
“Perfect. Ireland it is!”
What is your favorite ice cream flavor?
My favorite ice cream flavor is Vanilla Swiss Almond. My sister doesn’t like ice cream, which seems crazy to me.
Which mythological creature are you most like?
I would love to be more like a Phoenix. A Phoenix is the golden bird that bursts into flames at the end of its life and then is reborn. How fabulous to soar through the skies, wings stretcher, head in the wind, and how dramatic to then burst into flames. Nothing wrong with a little drama now and then. I like the resilience of the Phoenix – that appeals to me.
First book you remember making an indelible impression on you.
The first book I remember reading was Charlotte’s Web. I was completely absorbed by the story and the characters. I believe the book fostered within me a deep empathy for animals that has influenced my entire life. I remember hearing a few years ago that E.B. White (the author) was reading the book for an audio, books-on-tape version and when he got to the part where Charlotte died it took seventeen tries before he could read it without crying. Yeah, I’m right there with him.
How do you develop your plot and characters?
For this current book, 2 BROADS ABROAD: Moms Fly the Coop we made little note cards of different events in our kids’ lives that we thought were humorous or universally relatable for other mothers. Then we followed the course of our road trip (which gave us tons of material, much of it embarrassing and unintentional) and juxtaposed the two so that the story lay out smoothly.
Describe your writing space.
My sister and I would meet and review our progress in one of our kitchens. When working apart, I worked in my son’s old bedroom. I have a tall wooden desk in there and it was nice to have a brand new purpose for that room. Deborah has an office space in her home off her bedroom; it has beautiful windows, light, and looks out onto a wooden area.
Deborah Serra has been a sought-after screenwriter for twenty-five years having written for NBC, CBS, Sony, Lifetime, Fox, and others. She was a recipient of the 2012 Hawthornden Literary Fellowship. Her first novel was a semi-finalist for the William Faulkner-William Wisdom Creative Writing Award given by the Faulkner Society in New Orleans, LA.
Nancy is a graduate of San Diego State University. She worked in medical sales before stepping away to raise her two children, at which point she became: Team Mom, Snack Mom, PTA member, Assistance League Volunteer, and the list is never-ending. Nancy was the editor and publisher of the Buffalo Hills Echo newsletter with a circulation of 1400. She also designed and managed her community website.
Deborah Serra and Nancy Serra Greene will be awarding a $50 Amazon or Barnes and Noble gift card to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour.