My Favorite Character in UP AND IN by Deborah Disney – Guest Blog and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Deborah will be awarding an eCopy of Up and In to 3 randomly drawn winners via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Which Character in Up and In is your favourite?

Over the course of promoting Up and In, I have been asked a number of times which character is my favourite. Most authors will tell you that that question is about as hard to answer as having to choose your favourite child. There are aspects of all of them that I love. Actually not Caitlin so much.

I really love the Bea character. She was so much fun to write. I think Maria is very amusing but she is also extremely flawed and while I understand neurotic – she takes it to a whole other level. Susannah is the voice of reason in the book, and probably a representation of my more grounded side. Interestingly, in this book that is about women and female relationships, it seems to be Maria’s husband, Joe, who has been the most popular with readers.

Another common question is whether any of the characters are based on people I know. The answer is yes and no. I have met people LIKE my characters, but none of them are based on any one person I know. Because I have two daughters who play netball, when I was publishing I was a bit paranoid that people would think that Maria is really me. And let’s face it – as funny as she can be, she is really a bit of a nutter, so I wasn’t that keen on people thinking that I think like she does. But as crazy as she sometimes sounds, at her core she is a loving mother who just wants her children to be happy.

I think readers are bound to know people like the people in Up and In – I have had readers from all around the world tell me that they know people just like these women. I actually think the social hierarchy that often infiltrates the school gates environment is something that happens in all sorts of situations where people from different backgrounds are thrust together and forced to spend time with one another – from the workplace, to social clubs, to in-laws. And I think that is why Up and In has resonated with so many people, whether they have children or not.

MediaKit_BookCover_UpAndInDistinctly middle-class parents, Maria and Joe have committed every bit of available income to giving their daughters Kate and Sarah the best education possible, which to them means attending the most exclusive girls school in the state. But when Kate befriends the spoilt and moody Mirabella, Maria finds herself thrust into a high society of champagne-swilling mother-istas she hasn’t budgeted for. Saturday morning netball is no longer a fun mother-daughter outing, but a minefield of social politics.

While the increasingly neurotic Maria struggles to negotiate the school mum hierarchy, Joe quietly battles a midlife crisis and Kate attempts to grow up as gracefully as possible (without having her life ruined by embarrassing parents).

For every woman who has ever felt she may be wearing the wrong shoes, this is a book that will remind you – you’re not alone.

Fans of Liane Moriarty and Fiona Higgins are sure to enjoy this debut offering from new Australian author, Deborah Disney.

Enjoy an excerpt:

There it was again. That damned full stop. How does so much passive aggression fit itself into such a tiny punctuation mark?

Fine with me.

‘Fine with me, full stop.’

‘Fine with me full stop, no x.’

‘Fine with me full stop no x, no way am I ever going to let you think you are in any way deserving of the lathered-up, flattery-filled, signed-off-with-a-kiss kind of email I always send to everyone else on this email list.’

And there you have it. That is what she was able to say to me with one little full stop.

Of course, if any of the obsessively-stroking-and-simultaneously-self-aggrandising netball mums on this email list ever decided just to hit ‘Reply’ instead of ‘Reply all’ to the coach’s weekly email, I probably wouldn’t know that this little full stop means that I am absolutely, categorically, no longer in the fold. Unfortunately, because I am still on the email list, every week my inbox fills with messages ending with ‘x’ – not emails addressed specifically to me, just a plethora of inappropriately ‘Reply all’ emails sent to every woman with a daughter in the Red Rockets Under 10 Division 1 netball team. Every ‘x-ending’ email I have read over this netball season has served to reinforce the knowledge that if I were the object of Bea’s contrived affections her response to my offer to organise a group gift for our daughters’ netball coach would instead have gone more like this:

(Reply all)

Oh Maria, you are always so thoughtful. Of course I had been planning to find Linney the perfect gift – she has done such a stellar job with the girls this season! Sadly, I am just run off my feet this week. With putting the finishing touches on the gala, and having the nanny taking time off for her final exams, I just haven’t had a chance to even think! You are a life saver! Truly. I can’t wait to see what you choose – you have such impeccable taste! By the way, where did you get those absolutely to-die-for wellies you were wearing last week? I absolutely covet them. I just have to have some. Anyway, I must press on, I have a hundred emails to get through. I see another one just popped up from the Governor’s Office. Did I mention that the Governor and his wife will be joining us at the gala? I have known him forever, of course. Just adored his Christmas card last year! Remind me to tell you about it. Thanks again for organising the gift. You are an absolute gem! Bea x

I guess, in a way, ‘Fine with me full stop’ is in fact a lot easier than the alternative. Back when I actually gave a damn what Bea thought of me, the alternative would have filled me with insecurity. What kind of ‘perfect’ gift would she have chosen for Linney? Did she really like my wellies? Would she ever choose them over her Louboutin ballet flats to go to an Under 10’s netball game – even when the grounds were covered in mud like when I wore mine the previous week – or did she really just plan to sit them on the porch by way of decor at her thousand-acre ‘hobby’ farm up the coast? How would I confess that I actually bought them at Kmart? And shit, shit, shit, the Governor is coming to the gala? It was bad enough that I had to hide from Joe that it was costing us $500 a head just to be at the gala, but now I would have to somehow convince him to pay a grand for a decent new dinner suit as well?

I have to wonder, though, if it was really such a relief to open up her fine-with-me-full-stop email, instead of receiving one of the phoney rambling prop-ups she sends to all the other netball mums – the ‘lower-case beas’ – then why did it feel like I had just had my face slapped?

Admittedly, I cared a hell of a lot less than I once would have. Before I realised that my name had been wiped off the Bea-list, ‘Fine with me full stop’ would have spiralled me into days of tortured analysis. What did I say that I shouldn’t have? Is she upset that I invited Lauren’s daughter for a play with Kate instead of asking Mirabella? What is it? What did I do? Did she wave to me in traffic and I missed it? Did Kate do something to upset Mirabella? Is it because Kate got a better score than Mirabella at the eisteddfod?

After being off the Bea-list for almost six months now, though, I have started training myself to see things differently. When I think about what got me wiped off the Bea-list in the first place, my reaction to her flagrant snubbery is now more a mixture of amusement and incredulity, rather than feeling any sense of self-recrimination.

About the Author: Australian author, Deborah Disney, grew up in the regional city of Toowoomba and now lives in Brisbane with her husband and two school-aged daughters. Deborah has a BA/LLB from the University of Queensland and practised as a solicitor for a number of years prior to having children. She chose to specialise in litigation law as that seemed like the best preparation for what is now her looming battle – mothering her daughters through the teenage years. Deborah’s first novel, Up and In, is a satirical look at the interactions of school and sporting mums.

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  1. Thanks for hosting!

  2. What is the best gift you have been given?

    • Deborah Disney says:

      A car. My husband is a motor dealer and when we were dating, he gave me a car. I’d never owned a car (I was 26 at the time) and he thought I should stop taking the bus …

  3. Deborah Disney says:

    Thanks so much for featuring Up and In today!
    Deborah X

  4. Do you write every day? Do you have a word goal for each day you write?

    • Deborah Disney says:

      Hi Peggy – definitely! Facebook posts, comments, emails, school notes … As for my current novel, no. I only write creatively when the urge strikes. Thanks for the question 🙂

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