About the Book
Title: 2 Broads Abroad: Moms Fly the Coop
Authors: Deborah Serra & Nancy Serra Greene
Published: November 6th, 2015
Publisher: Library Tales Publishing
Genre: Humor, Travel, Motherhood
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.
About the Author
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.
1) Describe your relationship with a good book.
Relationship is an apt description. We do form a relationship with the books that touch us: sometimes with a particular character, sometimes with a story, and sometimes with the author. I’ve felt a bond with so many characters over my reading life. And if I really love a book that relationship makes it hard to say good-bye; consequently, I find myself slowing down as I near the end. I recently re-read The Prisoner of Heaven by the brilliant Carlos Luis Zafon and I flew through it until I saw only a few pages remaining…then, I dragged my feet, not reading for a day or two, picking it up, putting it down, not wanting it to end, not ready to say good-bye.
2) When did you first start writing and what was the first thing that you wrote that you were proud of?
I’ve been a writer all my life. This book 2 BROADS ABROAD: Moms Fly the Coop I co-authored with my sister. While I’ve been proud of many things I’ve written over the years, none was more fun than this book. Laughing our way around Ireland on this badly planned road trip was a joy, and then writing that story together, allowed us to experience it twice!
3) Please describe your work ethic as an author.
I am a full-time professional writer. I get up. I make coffee. I write for six hours, which can mean staring into space for periods of time, but I do not give up – then, I go about the rest of my life.
4) How do you balance your work as an author with the other aspects of your life?
Writing 2 BROADS ABROAD was a significantly different experience than my other writing assignments. I’ve never worked with a co-author. It certainly lightened the load since we were passing pages back and forth and so there were nice breaks. For my other writing endeavors, I simply worked the entire time my kids were in school. That’s a solid block of time five days a week. What that means is a lot of the things mother’s generally do during that time I had to fit in later: marketing on the way back from carpool, cleaning and laundry at night. It can be done. It is one of the few jobs in the world where you can be a full-time mother and have a full-time career (if you’re energetic and committed).
5) Why did you write this book?
When my sister and I realized our last child would be departing for college the same week we admitted to each other how incredibly sad we were to see motherhood slip away. All our kids were out of the house – the home was quiet and lonely. We decided to run away, told our husbands we were taking a sister’s road trip around Ireland, and left the country. Along the way, we shared funny stories about raising our kids, and about our own childhood together, and in the end, we realized that our trip was an adventure worth sharing – the antidote to empty nest: get outta town!
6) What experiences from your past do you find yourself drawing upon repeatedly for inspiration in your work?
For 2 BROADS ABROAD so much of the inspiration came from the traveling itself. There is nothing as inspirational as being in a new country with your best friend and Ireland was a hoot: fairytale castles, gregarious locals, ghosts, and lots of great pubs, but as we were told with stern determination by the Visitors Bureau, absolutely no leprechauns. We laughed our way out of serious situations and seriously laughed at everything else.
7) What do you hope to accomplish in the next five years, both as an author and in your outside life?
My sister and I have been talking about taking another trip. We would like to write 2 BROADS ABROAD: Moms on the Run, Part II. We both love to travel – the trouble is our idea of a good time is very different: I want to be tested in a foreign/perhaps slightly dangerous world, and she wants a foot massage on the beach. I want three shots of tequila and she wants your best chardonnay. Ah, but that’s what makes coming along with us so much fun.
8) Since you are a storyteller, please tell one good lie about yourself.
Last night, I was walking to my car from the bookstore. It was late because there had been an author reading event and I’d bought six books so my arms were full. As I approached my car in the parking lot, I could feel someone was following me. You know, that creeping up your spine sensation when you know someone’s there. I couldn’t decide what to do. I tried surreptitiously to glance back, but I didn’t want to be obvious. I definitely saw a figure tracking me. I started to panic, because you know in your gut when something’s not right, you can feel it all the way to the bone. I looked around left and right and did not see another person anywhere. I didn’t want to stop and open my car door because I was afraid he would jump in with me. By this time, my brain was racing for a safe exit. What? What is my best option? That’s when I realized I was holding all those books. I spun around and started hurling them at him!… yeah, or none of that happened.
“Your youngest is leaving for college? Aw, empty nest?” Then, sappy eyes followed by a plaintive grin and, “What will you do?”
Before my sister and I decided to run away from home we were bothered by that question. There was something minimizing about it, minimizing and not completely untrue. Motherhood had been so deceptive, the greatest paradox in life: every single bleary-eyed day felt a month long, and the years went by in an instant. They flashed by like lightning and left a desiccated scorch mark wearing my clothes. It was disagreeable to imagine what life would be like childless: there would be the family tree, and there would be the mom who’s the center of the family tree, standing leafless, bare (and it has been a while since I looked good bare). There was some solace as I glanced around me to see my younger sister, Nancy, would be standing there bare as well. We were embarking on this progeny-shedding calamity simultaneously as both of our youngest daughters, Nicole and Olivia, were leaving for college the same week.
I knew that Nancy hadn’t really focused on it yet. And then, we met at Fashion Island in Newport Beach near her home to get a birthday gift for our mom. We ran into two of Nancy’s neighbors, Vicki and Susan.
“Nancy,” Vicki asked, “doesn’t Nicole graduate from Corona Del Mar High School this June?”
“Yes,” Nancy said. “She’s going to the University of Washington.”
“Oh,” Susan lifted her eyebrows, “you must be devastated.”
“What?” Nancy looked confused. “No, actually I was happy for her. She worked really hard. It was her first choice school.”
“But so far away!” Susan added in that annoying singsong tone.
Nancy shifted her feet, a move I knew well as her sister. It was something she always did when she was being told something she did not like to hear.
“It’s not that far.” Nancy said.
“It’s a plane ride. You need an airplane to see your daughter.” Susan said loudly.
“Yeah.” Nancy turned to me in an effort to change the subject. “You remember my sister, Deborah?”
“Of course.” Vicki smiled. And we exchanged hellos. Vicki seemed normal, but I had an inkling that I might have to slap Susan.
Susan continued on with her one thought. “With your son gone already, and soon Nicole, well, Nancy, I guess you’re all alone now.”
Nancy shifted her feet again. “I’m still married, Susan.”
“Sure. Sure. Right. So that’s better than nothing, huh?”
Nancy and I both froze. Did she just say that?
“You know,” Vicki tried to cut off Susan, “when Terrie’s youngest left she bought a Chihuahua puppy. Cutest thing you’ve ever seen. And the Walkers gave a room to an exchange student from Sweden,” she explained happily.
Nancy nodded. “That sounds like a good plan.”
Susan opened her mouth to speak again and I wasn’t sure whether I should just smack her now and be done with it, or let her continue. I made the wrong choice.
“Remember Pam Winthrop?” Susan leaned in. “When her son left she started eating a pint of Ben & Jerry’s every day until she put on 60 pounds. Sad, really, tragic. Even her kneecaps were fat.” Then Susan turned to me, “So, Deborah, isn’t your youngest graduating, too?”
“I’m leaving the country,” I said.
Susan cocked her head. “What?”
“I’m leaving the country,” I repeated matter-of-factly.
“So am I,” Nancy said. I looked at her. I saw the decision in her eyes. “I’m going with Deborah. We’re taking a long trip together – a sisters trip.”
“You are?” Susan sounded a little thwarted, which Nancy found gratifying.
“Yup, in the planning stages.” Nancy smiled at Susan who was clearly disappointed that we were not miserable as anticipated. “Nice to see you though, Susan, Vicki. Got to go. In the middle of booking flights and stuff. So much to do!”
We turned away and strode with purpose toward the door.
I whispered, “Susan’s a real gem.”
“She did me a favor.”
“I’ve been so busy I just wasn’t thinking about it.”
“And I haven’t been able to think about anything else,” I said. “When I’m awake in the middle of the night it runs over and over in my mind.”
Nancy said, “When I heard that crap Susan was dealing, all of a sudden I realized, there’s no way am I plodding into that sunset with fat kneecaps carrying a Chihuahua.”