Writerhead Wednesday: Featuring Meg Mitchell Moore

Welcome to Writerhead Wednesday, a weekly feature in which a brilliant, charming, remarkable author answers three questions about her/his writerhead…a precious opportunity for looky-loos around the world to sneak into the creative noggins of talented writers and (ever so gently) muck about.

Please give a warm writerhead welcome to Meg Mitchell Moore, author of The Arrivals. Very excited to have Meg here today for many reasons…including the fact that she spends a good bit of time writing in my favorite library.

(Ooh, also…giving away 2 copies today! Just leave a comment to enter! Complete guidelines below.)

The Scoop About The Arrivals

It’s early summer when Ginny and William’s peaceful life in Vermont comes to an abrupt halt.

First, their daughter Lillian arrives, with her two children in tow, to escape her crumbling marriage. Next, their son Stephen and his pregnant wife Jane show up for a weekend visit, which extends indefinitely when Jane ends up on bed rest. When their youngest daughter Rachel appears, fleeing her difficult life in New York, Ginny and William find themselves consumed again by the chaos of parenthood—only this time around, their children are facing adult problems.

By summer’s end, the family gains new ideas of loyalty and responsibility, exposing the challenges of surviving the modern family—and the old adage, once a parent, always a parent, has never rung so true.

 The Buzzzzzzzzzzz

“An empty nest fills back up with alarming speed in Moore’s promising debut….Moore finds a crisp narrative in the morass of an overpacked household, and she keeps the proceedings moving with an assurance and outlook reminiscent of Laurie Colwin, evoking emotional universals with the simplest of observations, as in ‘the peace you feel when you are awake in a house where children are sleeping.’” ~ Publishers Weekly

“A tender portrait of a tangled, complicated, all-too real family, The Arrivals left me teary and fulfilled. A sparkling, page-turning debut.” ~ New York Times bestselling author Allison Winn Scotch

“The novel is told from multiple points of view, always a tricky maneuver. But Moore handles the shifts in perspective with ease, nimbly evoking the reader’s sympathy for each family member.” ~ Entertainment Weekly

First Sentence

“It was eight thirty in the morning, June, a Saturday, and the sunlight was coming in the kitchen window at such an angle that William’s granddaughter, Olivia, had to shield her eyes with one hand while she bent her head to sip from the straw in her glass of orange juice.”


And now, Meg’s writerhead

1. Describe your state of writerhead (the where, the when, the how, the what, the internal, the external).

There are certain places where writerhead is more likely to occur for me. My house, once the kids are off for the morning and the beds are made, is one. (I will admit, lamely, that I could never experience writerhead when the beds aren’t made.) A study room in my public library is another. You sign up for these rooms for two-hour increments, and you can close the door and therefore play music softly, but one rule is that the room must remain occupied by at least one person for the duration of the two hours, or you lose your slot. I am a rule follower, and a little bit scared of librarians, so I don’t leave the room. This is a great way to force myself into writerhead. Certain songs can bring it on too. I happen to be a huge Josh Ritter fan. When I wrote my second novel, out next May, I started every single writing session listening to a song of his called Lantern because it seems to me to be a song that speaks to the themes of the book. For my work in progress, it’s another song of his, Orbital, that is working for me. I can’t get started, and I can’t get into writerhead, without playing that song.

2. What happens if someone/something interrupts writerhead? (a spouse, a lover, a barking dog, an electrical outage, a baby’s cry, a phone call, a leg cramp, a dried-up pen, a computer crash, etc.)

If a kid is crying but it’s not my kid, no problem. Ringing phones I try not to answer. But mostly I set myself up for very few interruptions if I really want to write. I don’t do a lot of (any) real writing when my kids are around. I can’t multitask that way; it’s really hard for me to get into the right state when someone can’t find her blue headband or someone else decides it’s time to practice the treble jig in hard shoes for Irish dance class. I can block out a lot when I’m concentrating, but Irish hard shoes are really loud. If I’m hit with a real interruption, I take it as a sign that it’s time for a break, and that the good, messy stuff has come out and needs to simmer for a while before being reworked.

3. Using a simile or metaphor, compare your writerhead to something.

I am a fairly competitive runner. For me, writerhead is a little like experiencing a “runner’s high”: the feeling that everything is lining up for a few magical moments and that I am doing exactly what my body (running) or mind (writing) is meant to be doing. I don’t achieve this high every time I run, and I don’t achieve it every time I write, but experiencing it every now and then is enough incentive to keep going with both endeavors.


Meg Mitchell Moore worked for several years as a journalist. Her work has been published in Yankee, Continental, Women’s Health, Advertising Age and many other business and consumer magazines. She received a B.A. from Providence College and a master’s degree in English Literature from New York University. The Arrivals is her first novel. Her second novel will be published by Reagan Arthur Books in 2012. Meg lives in Newburyport, Massachusetts, with her husband, their three children, and a beloved border collie.

If you’d like to learn more about Meg and The Arrivals, pop on over to her web site. You can also greet her on Twitter (@mmitchmoore) or Facebook.


Q4U Readers / Writers / Moms / Dads / Jugglers Extraordinaire: Anyone else find the time/space to slip into writerhead in the library?



Today—Wednesday, September 28, 2011—I’m giving away 2 copies of Meg Mitchell Moore’s The Arrivals.

RULES: To enter, all you have to do is leave a comment for Meg right here on WRITERHEAD. Show her some love!

*Comments must be posted before the clock strikes midnight on September 29, 2011. (That’s Eastern Standard Time U.S.)

**This contest is open internationally.

***Winners will be drawn on Thursday, September 29. Be sure to check back to see who wins.

****Though I welcome all charming comments, only one comment per person will be counted in the contest. (I know, I know…but this isn’t “American Idol.”)

*****The winner will be drawn randomly by the highly scientific method of my 3yo pulling a name out of a hat (or some other convenient container…blocks box, [unused] cereal bowl, sand bucket, etc.)


17 Responses to Writerhead Wednesday: Featuring Meg Mitchell Moore

  1. this is a great concept for a book. at first i’d have no interest, as i come from a large irish catholic family and have no need to read about it. HOWEVER, this has an aspect of warmth, emotional caring and an uplifting ending! Yahoo! Nice work Meg!

  2. Congratulations, Meg! Looks like you’ve dipping into Writerhead quite a lot…debut novel, second already slated for publication, and working on your third? Woohoo! I’d love to get my hands on “The Arrivals.”

  3. I’m curious if you get up to go to the bathroom during your two-hour slot in the library room? I swear that question popped into my head.
    I am def interested in reading your book – a friend read it and posted on Facebook a few weejs gi how much she loved it. So congrats!

  4. Ha! Good question. Only in a serious emergency would I leave the room for the bathroom. I try to go before, keep the liquids to a minimum and hope for the best. Thanks for hosting me here, Kristin, and to everyone else for your kind words.

  5. I’ve been wanting a copy of “The Arrivals” since it came out! I left hints for my birthday earlier this month, but no books. By the way, Meg, I was so happy for you to hear about your next book. Can’t wait to read that one too!

  6. I do my best work in the library. When I know I must get something done, I go to the library. My house is not loud – there are four adults living in it, but I am way more distracted. There are things to organize, crafts to do, Mom might need help with something or there are errands to run. If I’m at the library, it’s like being at the office at work and it’s easier to say no to a friend for lunch or coffee.

  7. I love the idea of getting a room at the library to write, I had never thought about this! I will have to try to do this!

    I know I say this all the time, but The Arrivals is on my wishlist (really it’s on my Nook wishlist, which is huge!). I can’t think of anything more interesting to read than family dysfunction and the dynamics. There is usually one character I find in some small way I relate to in a book. As an author is there one character you relate to? Or small aspects of many? Or I guess maybe none? 😀

    Thanks for the opportunity to win a copy!

  8. Meg,

    How exciting—Your 1st novel!!

    I, too, like Jane above, come from a large Irish-Catholic family. So the chaos of the plot in “The Arrivals” sounds very familiar & compelling to me.

    I also enjoy reading about your requirements for writing—i.e. little distraction. I unfortunately require few distracations to REALLY get down & focus.

    (Oh, and glad I wasn’t the only one who wondered about the library “breaks”. Thanks for the answer!)


    Pick my Tully!!

  9. I think The Arrivals sounds like a terrific, complicated, and very real family story — the kind of story I love. I was especially intrigued to read the review that compared your work to Laurie Colwin — whose work I loved. Big congratulations on your new book!

  10. Thanks again, everyone. What a delight to be here. Happy working to all you writers out there. I wish you few distractions and appropriately timed bathroom breaks.

  11. Katrina Salka — I’ve been trying to track you down to let you know you won a copy of Meg’s THE ARRIVALS. Please contact me asap. If I don’t hear from you by Friday, October 7, I’ll have to choose another winner. 🙁