More Listening, Less Talking: An Interview with Rebecca Prenevost

Genuine literary citizens always impress me, and Rebecca Prenevost is one of the most impressive. She’s truly believes in supporting other authors and lifts them up via social media, both with her personal account and the women_authors_stories account. But her days aren’t all spent on other people. She’s also dedicated to writing, and she recently released Mom Walks: Sharing Failure. The book is the fourth in the women’s fiction Mom Walks series, which “follows a mom and her two best mom friends as they navigate the chaotic trenches of parenting tweens.” Much like Rebecca’s other three books, the fourth is finding its way in the world, and readers are enjoying it. One reviewer said, “It’s a real story that takes you on an inside look at a family that seems like they could be your neighbors,” while another wrote, “This would have been a really good book to read when I was going through this stage.” That’s the kind of feedback that authors like to hear. With Rebecca’s busy schedule, I’m glad she had time to answer a few questions for me.

Christina: Congratulations on the release of Mom Walks: Sharing Failure, which is the fourth in your Mom Walks series. Did you set out to write a series? How did you decide on four books?

Rebecca: Thank you! I actually didn’t set out to write a series. But as I drafted the first book, I kept thinking of additional storyline ideas, so a series started to make more sense. I came up with four main topics that I thought were large enough to carry an entire book related to parenting through the tween years (friendship drama, first crushes, materialism/authenticity, and social media), so that’s what I went with.

Christina: You took Toni Morrison to heart when she said, “If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” Since you “never in a million years” thought you’d be a writer, how difficult was it to write? Did you ever doubt yourself? Did you take any courses or attend conferences to help with your craft?

Rebecca: Writing for me was more like a fun puzzle or challenge than anything. Of course, there was a lot of doubt along the way, but having critique partners, beta readers, and editors go through my manuscript and help improve it made me feel more comfortable. I also took some writing classes, listened to a ton of writing podcasts, and read several craft books.

Christina: You mention that if readers liked The Baby-Sitters Club and Gilmore Girls, they might enjoy your books. Did The Baby-Sitters Club impact your adolescence? Did either of those series inform your writing at all?  

Rebecca: I loved The Baby-Sitters Club series when I was younger. Books like those or the ones authored by Judy Blume—where the characters were experiencing the same kinds of physical changes, academic challenges, and relationship struggles I was facing—were often the only things that made me feel like I wasn’t alone. That was a huge reason I started writing the Mom Walks series. I went looking for stories that were similar, but that were written for moms, and I struggled to find them.

Christina: On Instagram, besides your individual account, you also host women_authors_stories, an account that supports “women authors and their women-centric stories.” What was your intention with creating the account? How can we help support your mission?

Rebecca: Authors are such a supportive community, and I wanted to find a way to contribute, even if it’s in a relatively small way. Whenever authors do this, it benefits all of us.

Christina: Tweens are extraordinary in their complexity, and parenting them can be both frustrating and exhilarating at times. How much patience would you estimate one needs to parent tweens? Do you have any tips for your readers who might not have yet reached the age of parenting tweens?

Rebecca: I don’t think there is a silver bullet, but a lot of patience, empathy, and compassion help. Each kid is so different, even in the same family. Every parent has to find what works best for them. So far, for my kids, it helps when I’m doing a lot more listening than talking, being curious rather than judgmental, understanding when they mess up, and providing them with time and space to figure out who they want to be.

Christina: Of course, we were once tweens too (though that seems like ages ago for some of us). What struggles do tweens have today that parents might not have experienced? Is there a lesson you’ve learned from your own children that makes what occurred in your tween experience make sense?

Rebecca: Unfortunately, it feels like there are too many. Just the world events are crazy enough. My tween and teen years feel so simple compared to what kids are dealing with now. My kids are so much more aware of injustices and societal challenges that I was basically oblivious to when I was their ages. And then mix in the everyday relationship struggles, trying to do well in school, and manage their other activities and obligations. It’s a lot. I’m in awe of their resilience and compassion.

Christina: What’s next for you?

Rebecca: I just finished the first draft of the first book in my next series. Although there is still a ton that needs to be done to make it better (revisions, edits, and more edits), I’m looking forward to spending more time with my new characters and setting and also continuing to work on improving as a writer.

Rebecca can be found in multiple places!
Instagram: @rprenevost
Twitter: @rprenevost
Facebook: @rprenevost

Thanks to Rebecca for agreeing to this interview! If you know of an author who’d like to be featured in an interview (or you are an author who would like to be featured), feel free to leave a comment or email me via my contact page.

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