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Award-winning Humorist Robin O’Bryant Preaches the Merits of Ketchup

From every street corner, from blogs far and wide, from rooftops and ridges, just about any place you look, you can hear Robin O’Bryant’s fresh new voice. She’s proclaiming the joys of motherhood with great wit and candor to the belly-laughing delight of those lucky enough to have discovered her.  You may have been introduced to her first through her widely syndicated columns and blog ROBIN’S CHICKS.

Now, her first book, KETCHUP IS A VEGETABLE, and Other Lies Moms Tell Themselves, is taking off on the bestsellers lists! If that’s not enough, this weekend she released a follow-up ebook, A SECOND HELPING: A Collection of Best-Loved Columns of Robin’s Chicks and guess what? It shot right up the list behind it’s predecessor.

Are we surprised? None of those who read and know Robin even batted an eye. She’s speaking for the mamas, saying what we’d all say for ourselves if we were this funny, or this honest. And she’s receiving high praise.

“With the humor of Bombeck and the warmth of a best girlfriend, Robin O’Bryant gives every mom permission to not be perfect. The chapter on road-tripping with three tiny children and a flu-stricken husband was one of the funniest things I’ve ever read. Pour yourself some “mommy juice” and enjoy meeting Robin and her “chicks.” -Celia Rivenbark, NYTs best-selling author of “You Don’t Sweat Much for a Fat Girl.”

“A book about motherhood that will make you nod with recognition, while simultaneously reminding you to schedule a hysterectomy.” -Jenny Lawson, The Bloggess

I’m delighted to host Robin this week and if I could, I’d send every one of you a copy of your books. She makes the world a brighter place with her wonderful perspective on the hardest, most rewarding job of all.

Welcome, Robin!

So IS Ketchup a Vegetable or no?

It is at my house, even though technically speaking a tomato is a fruit… so I guess that would make ketchup more like a fruit smoothie? *Gags a little.* Either way, it’s sustained my seven-year-old’s life since she started taking solid foods, assisted mainly by Cheerios and chicken nuggets. Occasionally I’ll make her eat something green– which she then slathers in ketchup then dramatically gags down. You do what ya gotta do. That’s what Ketchup is a Vegetable is really about: figuring out how to get by without losing your freaking mind, and for some reason it’s a lot easier to laugh at yourself when you realize you aren’t alone.

Who do you hope will read this book?

I wrote it for moms in the trenches. Because what we do can be so isolating that you start to feel crazy. I remember distinctly being in the grocery store in Savannah, Georgia when I had a two-year-old and a newborn. The butcher made the mistake of making eye contact with me and asking, “How are you?” I told him. And told him. And told him. Then I realized he was just being polite and that I hadn’t spoken to another adult in weeks.

I think anybody who likes to laugh will enjoy it though. My self-syndicated humor column, Robin’s Chicks, has a really varied demographic and I love when I get an email from a guy in his 20s telling me that he and his childless girlfriend read my column out loud every week. I guess it’s good birth control.

How did you get started writing?

I’ve been an avid reader and writer my entire life. I’ve journaled since I could write a complete sentence and throughout my life I have been told repeatedly, “You should write a book.”

I wanted to be a writer but I had no idea what to write about. I was good at expressing myself in words but I wasn’t creating new worlds or going all J.K. Rowling in my free time. Reading and writing were private passions until my third child was born. Three daughters in four years, it’s all a blur.

I was writing about my kids extensively, and sending out massive emails to our families because we lived hundreds of miles from home.  And I heard it again, “You should write a book.” (Please note: this doesn’t always mean you should and I realized that this was my mom and she might be a little biased.) I thought I might have an audience when my family members started forwarding my emails to everyone in their contact lists and I began receiving feedback from people I didn’t know. I started a blog and somehow convinced the editor of our local paper to let me write a weekly family humor column, which I’ve since self-syndicated.

The outline for Ketchup is a Vegetable, poured out of me. When my older daughters were busy playing I would pick a topic and write as long as they would let me. I found my agent, Jenny Bent, and she really helped me to focus on my writing strengths. After about a year and a half of editing, I had a book.

What’s your best advice for aspiring writers?

Do it. Just write. Write anything and everything. Read books about writing: Ann Lamott’s Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life, and How to Become a Famous Writer Before You’re Dead by Ariel Gore are two of my favorites.  There are so many great resources online. Join Twitter, there is a HUGE community of writers, agents and editors who are constantly on Twitter talking about writing and publishing. They are amazingly supportive and kind– and hilarious.

What’s your best advice for mothers?

The only expert opinion that matters is your own, everything else is a guideline. You know what’s best for your kids.

Savor it. I know it’s all cliché to be like, “They grow up so fast! Enjoy every second!” But it’s true. The laundry and dirty dishes will always be there, your kids won’t. Laugh at the sheer absurdity of parenting and at the curveballs your kids throw your way, it really is better than fiction.

Thanks, Robin!

If any of Robin’s answers struck a chord, drop us a line! Robin loves comments. You can BUY her books by clicking on any of the links or images above and you can follow her on her fabulous blog Robin’s Chicks for more hilarity or to see when her book tour might bring her near you!

And…here’s the part where YOU get to enter to win a signed copy of Ketchup Is A Vegetable And Other Lies Moms Tell Themselves!I have only ONE copy, so enter fast!

How to enter:

  • Make sure you follow my blog … Subscribe by Email in the sidebar or the RSS feed.
  • Leave a comment on this post by midnight on March 2nd.
  • I’ll announce the winner on my blog on March 3rd, so make sure you check back!

Important: If you enter the giveaway, make sure you check back on the 3rd. Winners will have 24 hours to email me to claim their prize; otherwise somebody else will get the grins and giggles!

Can’t wait for the giveaway? Here’s another shameless link for it on Amazon. It’s available in paperback and Kindle versions!

March 8, 2012 - 4:26 pm

Jolina Petersheim - This is just the post I needed, Kim and Robin! Having been an official mother for eleven days, I have already brushed shoulders with sleep deprivation and been sprayed with my princess daughter’s mustard poop, which caused me to laugh until I cried. Thank you for the reminder that this time is fleeting and that some of the best writing comes from personal — albeit sometimes painful — experiences!

February 28, 2012 - 7:24 am

Melissa Crytzer Fry - Love your site, too, Kimberly. What a wonderful author to debut with your new look. My husband and I don’t have children, but I agree, Robin, the fact that 20-something kidless males are responding to you is testament to your abilities. And you’re right: everyone needs a good laugh.

February 26, 2012 - 6:45 pm

Kristen Czarnecki - I never read a book more than once and I have read both Ketchup is a Vegetable and A Second Helping twice now! I subscribed to Robin’s Chicks and laugh (yes…out loud) at the humorous spin she puts on situations that seem so simple yet turn out to be disastrous! I feel less crazy about the madness in my house and am glad there is AT LEAST one other person who gets the sleepless, thankless, peed-on, puked-on madness! Thanks Robin!

February 25, 2012 - 1:24 am

Mavis Mason - Oh please let me win!! Loved loved loved this book!!!

February 24, 2012 - 9:17 pm

Tracy Guebert - I loved your book and would be thrilled to have an autographed copy!!

February 24, 2012 - 8:19 pm

Erika Robuck - What a lovely interview! It sounds like my kind of book. Count me entered! 🙂

February 24, 2012 - 7:33 pm

Jennifer Self - Okay so I know most of us can honestly say “been there, done that” we just don’t have the guts to ever fess up to it…and tell the world!! Kudos to Robin for putting her big guhl panteez on and telling the world!! I have never been a big reader, but I could not put either book down. Definitely gonna make it a point to meet up some day and share a glass of wine :)))

February 24, 2012 - 6:44 pm

Lori Parker - Great interview, Kimberly, and congratulations to you both on your novels. Robyn, yours sounds hilarious! I know many a momma who have earned some true belly laughs. Can’t wait to read!

February 24, 2012 - 4:04 pm

Laura Kay - Loved the interview! Had me laughing, so I’m definitely going over to check out Robin’s blog! This book sounds so fun! Wishing you much success and I hope to win a copy!

Kimberly-I agree with Hallie love your site!

February 24, 2012 - 2:47 pm

Erika Marks - Hi Robin! Hi Kimberly!

Robin, I LOVE the story of you spilling your guts to your butcher–been there, dearie! I can just see the look on his face.

I suspect my mother (and others) might say I could stand to give a little more time to those laundry piles, but I live that motto of “enjoy your babies” to the fullest. Can’t wait to read more of your thoughts and spot-on humor. And a huge congratulations on the success of your books!

February 24, 2012 - 2:46 pm

Hallie Sawyer - Where have you been hiding Robin?! I feel like ” A Child Left Behind”! She sounds fantastic and I loved the interview. I am off to check out her blog! Can’t wait to read her book.

LOVE your site, Kimberly. It is like a warm cup of tea with a friend. The background rocks.

February 24, 2012 - 2:36 pm

Tracy Minke - Hi!
I would love to win a copy! Sounds like a fantastic read and one all mother’s can relate. Thank you for sharing!

February 23, 2012 - 10:01 pm

Jessica McCann (@JMcCannWriter) - Hello from the motherhood trenches! Great interview, Kim. And Robin, I love your advice for both writers and mothers. You nailed it. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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