Fans of Nicola Moriarty’s special brand of storytelling found in last year’s debut, The Fifth Letter, will be delighted with the latest from Jaclyn and Liane Moriarty’s little sister. Those Other Women is a feel-good novel that provides a refreshing and funny take on modern motherhood and non-motherhood.
Those Other Women is the story of an online war between mothers and child-free women, which spills out into the real world. Poppy is a woman in her mid-thirties whose life has been tipped upside-down when her husband leaves her for her best friend and then she finds out they’re expecting a baby. She becomes friends with Annalise (through work) and the two of them instantly click. Annalise is instrumental in helping Poppy move on after her heart-break. They start an online group (NOP – non-mums online in Parramatta) for women like themselves who don’t have nor want children in defiance of a local online mother’s group (MOP – Mums online in Parramatta). It’s a place for them to connect over their shared life choices and also maybe to complain just a little about the mothers of the world who let their noisy children take over cafes and restaurants or as an excuse to leave work early.
Meanwhile, Frankie is a mother of 2 who works alongside Poppy and Annalise and a member of MOP. She’s sick of being judged by women without children who think she receives special privileges when she doesn’t. At the same time, she feels judged by stay-at-home mothers. She’s also keeping a secret about her work-life from her husband which is filling her up with guilt.
The dislike between NOP and MOP begins to escalate and eventually, it translates to real-world conflict when women start confronting one another face-to-face about their differences. And to make matters worse, it seems that there is an imposter within NOP, a member who isn’t who she says she is.
What made you want to write this book?
I feel like the subject of judgement between women is very topical at the moment. Mothers judge one another for the different ways they choose to raise their children, women judge one another for differing life choices. They’re judged for choosing career or lifestyle instead of having kids and / or for choosing to have children over their career. Basically, we can’t win. And at a time where women should be more united together due to things like the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements as well as gender equality in the workplace and the gender pay gap, for some reason we’re still tearing one another down instead of sticking together and supporting one another. It seemed like something I just had to explore.
What sort of writer are you? Do you write to schedule or do you fit it in whenever you can?
I used to just write whenever I could fit it in and whenever I was feeling creative, but now that I have actual deadlines to meet, I set aside specific times to get my writing done and I usually find I need to get out of the house so that I’m not distracted by other things that need to be done! In terms of the actual writing, I much prefer to let the words flow, that way, sometimes the writing can surprise me and I absolutely love it when that happens. Then on the second draft I go back through to see which bits don’t make sense or need to be moved around!
What do you hope people take away with them after reading your work?
First, I want them to use my book to escape from the world for just a little while. And then I want them to be left with that feel-good glow, even if it’s just for the rest of the day after they finish reading. Finally, I want them to be hungry for more words – and not necessarily just my words!
What types of books do you prefer to read yourself?
My preference is for always reading feel-good books. When I read, I want to escape from the real world, and I want to be left feeling contented – I like all sorts of genres (Including thrillers, crime novels, drama, romantic comedies and fantasy), but I generally want a happy ending!