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April book of the month: The Cows by Dawn O'Porter. Read the book and join the author webchat on Weds 25 April, 9pm

(103 Posts)
RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 03-Apr-18 17:52:22

We're delighted to announce our April book of the month is Dawn O'Porter's novel The Cows.

The Cows is columnist and TV presenter Dawn O'Porter's first foray into adult literature. Her YA novels Paper Aeroplanes and Goose received praise from critics for her humour and ability to capture the very essence of adolescent life. In The Cows, Dawn O'Porter captures the lives of millennials with the same vigour and humour. It's a fearless novel about female friendship, motherhood and finding your own voice in a world where it's often the social norm to follow the herd.

Find out more about the novel, read or listen to the first chapter and find read the Mumsnet bloggers' reviews. Buy a copy of the book and join us on Weds 25th April when you'll have the chance to chat to the author during our author webchat with Dawn O'Porter.

cakeforme Wed 04-Apr-18 20:50:27

Just ordered! Still on march’s book though blush

SallySwann Wed 04-Apr-18 20:53:20

Looking forward to it

Clawdy Thu 05-Apr-18 16:25:49

Wish we could still apply for a free book though, I really miss those days!

VileyRose Fri 06-Apr-18 21:57:49

Read this on our drive to Scotland

GeekyWombat Sat 07-Apr-18 02:08:59

I miss the free books too - although that said pleased to find this was only £1.99 on Kindle. Bargain!

Mytrustybucket1 Tue 10-Apr-18 13:42:41

Read it and loved it! smile

Millipedewithherfeetup Tue 10-Apr-18 20:35:50

Downloaded to kindle and reading now...not far in but so far so good !

halfgirlhalfturnip Wed 11-Apr-18 07:16:39

Great - loved it!

NapQueen Thu 12-Apr-18 08:15:25

Read this book when it first came out and loved it. Its been passed around the family and friends too who all enjoyed it.

Millipedewithherfeetup Thu 12-Apr-18 10:23:53

Have now finished reading I really enjoyed it it was funny in places and had me squirming for some of the characters involved. It's a well written book.

NapQueen Thu 12-Apr-18 11:25:51

Theres something happens to one of the characters towards the back end of the book which genuinely shocked me. Completely blindsided.

GinandGingerBeer Thu 12-Apr-18 17:42:56

Me too NapQueen! My mouth dropped to the floor for several minutes!
I loved this book. Do get it on audio version if you can as it's narrated really well.

balljuggla Fri 13-Apr-18 10:29:36

Have also started reading, it's brill. Makes me want to check out her YA stuff too even though that's not a genre I normally go for.

VileyRose Fri 13-Apr-18 15:02:40

I didn't enjoy it. The characters felt empty sad

WhatWouldLeslieKnopeDo Mon 16-Apr-18 15:25:51

I'm about a third of the way through and really not sure what to make of it confused partly because I'm quite prudish!

My local library has several copies so worth a look if you don't want to buy it.

FernieB Tue 17-Apr-18 19:57:44

Just finished it today. Napqueen - that event threw me too! Very sudden and completely unexpected. I would have liked to have known more about the reaction of a certain other person to that event (trying not to give anything awaywink), but felt it was well dealt with.

Vileyrose - i can understand what you mean about the characters feeling 'empty'. I felt they were all very single-minded and each woman seemed to just have one purpose in the narrative, so possibly weren't as well-rounded as characters as they could have been. However, as the book was narrative driven rather than character driven, I didn't feel anything was lacking in terms of character.

I enjoyed the book very much. It was witty, well-written and moved along at a good pace. It's scary to think how lives can be ruined by the internet, particularly how vicious people can be when hiding safely behind usernames!

PavlovaPrincess Sun 22-Apr-18 11:21:49

Just finished this today. Started it expecting to hate it but actually raced through it in a couple of days.

I will say that Tara is just a vile human being and not some kind of feminist heroine.

RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 23-Apr-18 17:51:02

Just to remind you that Dawn O'Porter is joining us on Wednesday (25th) April between 9 and 10pm on this thread to answer your questions about The Cows. Everyone who joins the discussion will be entered into a draw to win of 10 copies of next month's book of the month The Awkward Age by Francesca Segal.

If you're unable to join us on Wednesday evening, post up a questions in advance for Dawn on this thread.

Ritzsaltedcrackers Mon 23-Apr-18 19:50:55

I didn’t really enjoy it. I thought the scene which led to Tara’s humiliation was utterly unbelievable. No one would do that on a tube carriage. No one normal, anyway. It was hard to empathise with her. And Cam was insufferable. Again, it was impossible to believe that her vacuous self centred ramblings would attract such a following.

FernieB Mon 23-Apr-18 23:07:05

Ritz - I agree about Tara's actions. Who would do that? Also, I did find it odd that no charges were brought against her. If that was a man, he'd have been charged with indecent exposure and the same women who defended Tara would have been attacking him through the media.

Ritzsaltedcrackers Tue 24-Apr-18 05:39:41

Yes, if a man had done that he’d have been charged. And rightly so!

PavlovaPrincess Tue 24-Apr-18 06:52:11

I agree @Ritzsaltedcrackers Tara's excuse was she thought she was alone in the carriage.

Not sure how alone you can reasonably expect to be in a public place though. There would have been no excuses for a man caught doing that.

WhatWouldLeslieKnopeDo Tue 24-Apr-18 11:17:50

It made me physically uncomfortable. And I think it all worked out rather too neatly. E.g. Cam and her mum - years of tension resolved with one talk?!

But I'm glad I finished it as it's good to get out of one's comfort zone every now and then. I was mainly intrigued to see which event NapQueen and FernieB were talking about, so thank you for spurring me on grin

My question for Dawn is, the three main characters are quite different - do you have a favourite, or one that you identify with most?

Helmetbymidnight Tue 24-Apr-18 14:32:07

Really enjoyed it- loved the strong messages about female solidarity and speaking out. A really positive and modern fable.

Gosh I didn't find Tara a vile human at all- I liked her v much- I found her mistake uncomfortable reading- had to cover my eyes - but it spoke a lot about Internet culture/shaming and bullying. One moments stupidity = life time of insults.

I'm so glad she and Jason got together.

Helmetbymidnight Tue 24-Apr-18 14:36:17

Ok, a question for dawn:

I'm interested in books about female friendships- actually started a thread on here bout them somewhere- we got: the elena ferente novels, three things about Elsie, the animateurs, not much else, do you have any recommendations on that subject- or any in general?

I was glad that while there was some romance/happy ending it's not all about that- is that a deliberate choice and have you ever been encouraged to end/edit differently?

Also, what are you writing next?

PavlovaPrincess Tue 24-Apr-18 14:51:10

I think if a man had done that on a train, he would have been branded a pervert and given a criminal record. Also, it's interesting that Tara's daughter was only 6. If she'd been at senior school, this would have been a completely different story, although I still think Social Services would have been involves somehow.

I also didn't like how she brushed aside Annie's father. That was totally selfish on her part. If she found him six years later, she could've found him when she was pregnant. Her daughter has a right to know who her father was/is.

WhatWouldLeslieKnopeDo Tue 24-Apr-18 14:57:49

Yes, it was weird. It's not really just a "mistake". It's pretty extreme.

And once she did contact the father it was especially awful to then backtrack confused she should have told him about the pregnancy from the start and given him the choice of being involved or not.

ImAGoofyGoober Tue 24-Apr-18 17:17:37

Loved it!
I have a question for Dawn - Do you think Kate did the booby ears on purpose?! grin

Youhaditoncebutnowitsgone Wed 25-Apr-18 14:49:42

Hi Dawn, thanks for the webchat! Can I ask what you think of Tara? Do you like her?

carriemumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 25-Apr-18 20:19:10

Hi Dawn

I laughed and cried. I sobbed at the Facebook message from Stella's sister. I lost my mum to BC when I was Stella's age and my sister and I have both had it recently so that plot line really resonated and made me rather melancholy, even though her behaviour was a bit far fetched - to say the least! But I wondered where that story line had come from and - please don't answer if you don't want to - but whether you had experience of BRCA - it's just not something that crops up often in novels.

I also read it with certain movie actresses playing the roles in my mind (Cameron Diaz for Cam anyone? or is that just a terrible lack of imagination on my part because of the name?!). Do you have a visual portrait of the characters when you write and - cliche question alert - who would you want to play them in the movie/ netflix version?

Thanks for coming onto Mumsnet and congrats on the book.

CorbyGirl Wed 25-Apr-18 20:58:46

Hi Dawn, I thought this was a wonderful book! Just hilarious and almost impossible to put it down. Do you see parts of yourself in the three main female protagonists? Regarding Cam’s desire not to have children, did you share similar ambivalent feelings before you became a mum? Or maybe still do?

RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 25-Apr-18 20:59:38

A warm welcome to Mumsnet Dawn O'Porter. Thanks so much for agreeing to join us this evening? Morning ? First question: What time is it there? As you see so many Mumsnet book clubbers have joined us this month in reading The Cows - it seemed such a perfect novel for our book club. There's already lots of questions and discussion up there, so I'll hand straight over to you....

DawnOPorter Wed 25-Apr-18 20:59:47

Hi Everyone, thanks for having me on Mumsnet. I've read quite a few of the comments that have already come in, and see there was a very mixed reaction to The Cows, which I find thrilling. I wrote this book to spark debate, and judging by many of the comments...it worked. I'll try and get through as many as I can. I want to ask you not to hold back, but I already see that a lot of you aren't;) So I wont either...OK, here goes...

AbsLouise Wed 25-Apr-18 21:00:47

I absolutely loved this book! I think every woman should read it.

DawnOPorter Wed 25-Apr-18 21:02:54

CorbyGirl

Hi Dawn, I thought this was a wonderful book! Just hilarious and almost impossible to put it down. Do you see parts of yourself in the three main female protagonists? Regarding Cam’s desire not to have children, did you share similar ambivalent feelings before you became a mum? Or maybe still do?

Hey CB!

Thank you, I'm so pleased you enjoyed it. Yes, there is a little bit of me in each of the characters. I wanted to write a book about three women who didnt have children for various reasons, as I was never one of those women who just knew it was what I wanted to do. But soon into the process of writing it I had my first kid, it was impossible for me not to have motherhood as a theme, so I went back to the start and gave Tara a child. The book really started to take shape after that, but I'm not sure I could have written bout motherhood before I had done it myself.

littlerose12345 Wed 25-Apr-18 21:04:53

Loving the book so far! Only 50% in but have already warmed to the 3 main characters.

How long did it take to write and is there a character that you felt most drawn to or that is similar to you? X

DawnOPorter Wed 25-Apr-18 21:06:22

carriemumsnet

Hi Dawn

I laughed and cried. I sobbed at the Facebook message from Stella's sister. I lost my mum to BC when I was Stella's age and my sister and I have both had it recently so that plot line really resonated and made me rather melancholy, even though her behaviour was a bit far fetched - to say the least! But I wondered where that story line had come from and - please don't answer if you don't want to - but whether you had experience of BRCA - it's just not something that crops up often in novels.

I also read it with certain movie actresses playing the roles in my mind (Cameron Diaz for Cam anyone? or is that just a terrible lack of imagination on my part because of the name?!). Do you have a visual portrait of the characters when you write and - cliche question alert - who would you want to play them in the movie/ netflix version?

Thanks for coming onto Mumsnet and congrats on the book.

HEy Carrie!

I'm so sorry to hear about your mum. I lost my mum too, so I used a lot of my own emotional experiences to draw the character of Stella. I was tested for the BRCA gene and it was negative, but it didn't take much to imagine the result being different.

As far as me playing one of the characters...no way..there is only space for one actor in a marriage;)

ButDoYouAvocado Wed 25-Apr-18 21:07:47

Hi Dawn, the book has three very strong female characters. I wondered which of them you most udfntifird with and why?

Love2read22 Wed 25-Apr-18 21:09:08

Hi Dawn
I'm a big fan and loved the book. It was great to read something so contemporary and in our world (I'm a blogger). Do you ever feel like you spend too long on social media? And do you worry that you over-share your life? Have you ever had to delete a comment for fear that it would cause problems or go viral?

DawnOPorter Wed 25-Apr-18 21:10:09

PavlovaPrincess

I think if a man had done that on a train, he would have been branded a pervert and given a criminal record. Also, it's interesting that Tara's daughter was only 6. If she'd been at senior school, this would have been a completely different story, although I still think Social Services would have been involves somehow.

I also didn't like how she brushed aside Annie's father. That was totally selfish on her part. If she found him six years later, she could've found him when she was pregnant. Her daughter has a right to know who her father was/is.

Hey Pavlova!

Many people have written comments along these lines so I'll use yours to answer a few...

It's very interesting about what would have happened to a man, I thought about that all the time. I don't know if he absolutely would have got into more trouble. The facts are...this person was alone. They didn't aim this sex act at anyone...if you think you are alone, if it is obviously not intended to hurt anyone, then is it so bad?

I don't know what the answer is, but I don't think Tara was a terrible person, or weird. I just think she got carried away.

I'm typing so fast, hope it's fast enough. I'll reply to someone else to answer the other bits....

annalouise85 Wed 25-Apr-18 21:11:18

Thank you for this book.
As a woman in her early thirties (without children, yet) I really enjoyed Cam's character who was so 'ok' about the life she had chosen.

Celama Wed 25-Apr-18 21:11:41

Hi Dawn
Ive found this an interesting read - it's not something that I would normally pick up and I would hesitate to say I love it because some of the content but it was certainly a refreshing change. I found Tara in particular a very angry/defensive character and I couldn't take to her from the very start of the book after she accosted Annie's friends mum over the party invite as it seemed such an extreme reaction and very unfair on Annie if it hadn't gone the way she wanted. However, I maybe just need to broaden my horizons a bit!

Out of all the different writing that you have done, what is your favourite style? Fiction, young adult, non fiction, columns or broadcasts?

Bookn3rd Wed 25-Apr-18 21:13:08

Hi Dawn

Congrats on the book - I really enjoyed it!

I found it interesting that the internet and social media was used to connect people and bring them together (Cam's blog), but also that it could also destroy someone's life within a few hours (Tara's public shaming). Has it changed your view on social media at all?

ButDoYouAvocado Wed 25-Apr-18 21:14:46

Cam seems able to distance herself from criticism as part of her status as a blogger. As a figure well known on social media, how easy is it for you to rise above the ridiculously high standards social media holds cekebrities up to and not let it get go you? Did your experience within this sphere help shape Cam as a character?

DawnOPorter Wed 25-Apr-18 21:14:59

Ritzsaltedcrackers

I didn’t really enjoy it. I thought the scene which led to Tara’s humiliation was utterly unbelievable. No one would do that on a tube carriage. No one normal, anyway. It was hard to empathise with her. And Cam was insufferable. Again, it was impossible to believe that her vacuous self centred ramblings would attract such a following.

Hey!

You say no 'normal' person would do this...but this is how I got the idea...
Once a very good friend of mine told me (and it really was a friend, I am not covering up my own actions) she was in an airport and was overcome with INSATIABLE horniess. She said she was like a wild animal, searching for a mate. She thought about approaching strangers and making a proposition, but she isnt really that sort of person, so she just went into the toilets at the airport and had a good old masturbate. After that, she was perfectly 'normal'.

She's now a happily married woman with two kids...nothing odd about her at all. I think that sometimes any human has the capacity to get so turned on they can't control themselves...if it doesnt harm anyone, and if you dont put someone in a horrible situation...is it so bad to masturbate somewhere other than the privacy of your own home?

I dont think so.

Paulastribe Wed 25-Apr-18 21:16:51

Hi Dawn, I wondered how much your life has changed since becoming a parent. What do you find the most difficult thing about having kids and what's the biggest thing you wish you had known before becoming a mum?

RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 25-Apr-18 21:19:06

Can we put to you the Mumsnet questions that we put to all our authors:

What was your favourite childhood book?

What was the last book you gave to someone as a gift?

What was the last book you read?

Can you describe the room(s) where you wrote The Cows?

DawnOPorter Wed 25-Apr-18 21:19:37

WhatWouldLeslieKnopeDo

Yes, it was weird. It's not really just a "mistake". It's pretty extreme.

And once she did contact the father it was especially awful to then backtrack confused she should have told him about the pregnancy from the start and given him the choice of being involved or not.

Hey Leslie!

I think that you're right. Kind of. But I also see where Tara was coming from. She had a one night stand, which people do, and isnt something to be judged for. She didnt know this guy. it was just a moment. Some sex. Over in moments. I dont think we can underestimate how terrifying it would have been to tell him she was pregnant when she didnt even know him, and that she wanted to keep the baby. That guy would have had two choices, be an asshole or just suddenly be a dad. There is something that feels cruel about putting a man in that position. I AM NOT SAYING TARA did the right thing. I'm not sure I could ever have done what she did, but....She was a great mum. She didnt suddenly become a terrible mum because she touched her own vagina on a train. I kind of understand why she never told him...I think she MAYBE did the right thing....for her...the debate continuessmile

DawnOPorter Wed 25-Apr-18 21:21:42

annalouise85

Thank you for this book.
As a woman in her early thirties (without children, yet) I really enjoyed Cam's character who was so 'ok' about the life she had chosen.

Hey Anna

GREAT, I love hearing this. Society has a negative reaction to women who don't have kids. They are often referred to as tragic, cold or selfish. This isnt the case for almost all of my friends who are childfree. You do what feels right for you, and live your life your way. Having children is not what makes you a woman!

xxx

NapQueen Wed 25-Apr-18 21:23:48

Hi Dawn.

The "staircase" incident towards the end of the book caught me completely by surprise and had me sat, hands over my mouth, for a god few minutes. Blind sighted me completely.

Did you know you wanted that charaters story to go that way prior to starting, or did it evolve over the course of the book?

ButDoYouAvocado Wed 25-Apr-18 21:24:20

What advice would you have given Tara if she had called you up on thecday 'that' video hit YouTube,

DawnOPorter Wed 25-Apr-18 21:25:15

Youhaditoncebutnowitsgone

Hi Dawn, thanks for the webchat! Can I ask what you think of Tara? Do you like her?

Do I like Tara? Yes, I think fundamentally I really do. But I don't care about writing about 'nice' and 'likable' characters. I have no interest in being that bland. I don't particularly like Stella. And although I would probably read Cam's blog, I don't think we'd have much fun if we hit the town. Tara is just a mum trying to do the best she can, like all of us. Her situation is unusual, but she makes it work. That is until she becomes a global internet sensation, and suddenly the life that she is managing quite well becomes public fodder, and everyone else decides she's terrible. But she isn't really, she really loves her kid and has provided a really great life for her.

I am typing so fast and not reading anything back...sorry for typos;)

NapQueen Wed 25-Apr-18 21:26:09

Is it blind sighted? Or blind sided? No idea.

7YearsaWife Wed 25-Apr-18 21:27:26

Dawn! I've been watching you forever it seems. You are the reason I bought a Brompton!

I digress, I read Paper Aeroplanes and really enjoyed it. Is the Cows similar or completely different, or influenced by your life in LA?

MamaCBear Wed 25-Apr-18 21:27:46

Hi Dawn,

Just finished reading this and really enjoyed it. Interesting subject matter but the thing that bugged me throughout - as someone who makes documentaries, why did Tara not start documenting what was happening to her and making a programme about public shaming? Seemed a missed opportunity for her to get her side across and show how hard things were for her.

Looking forward to your next book.

Cx

DawnOPorter Wed 25-Apr-18 21:29:31

Helmetbymidnight

Really enjoyed it- loved the strong messages about female solidarity and speaking out. A really positive and modern fable.

Gosh I didn't find Tara a vile human at all- I liked her v much- I found her mistake uncomfortable reading- had to cover my eyes - but it spoke a lot about Internet culture/shaming and bullying. One moments stupidity = life time of insults.

I'm so glad she and Jason got together.

Hey helmet? ;)

Ahh thanks! Glad you felt this way. And as for the love story, I'm so pleased you enjoyed them getting together. I've seen a lot of feedback about lots of 'strong female' books where people are annoyed about a love story being weaved in. I find this SO WEIRD. Love stories are a part of life. I think most people, at the end of the day, want love in their lives. I get a little tired of stories where women are depicted as only searching for love, without many other ambitions, but I dont think writers should ever deny a character a nice relationship, no matter who they are.

I see myself as highly independent soul, but my marriage and family are the most important aspects of my life. I reach for the stars in so many ways, but I'd drop everything to protect my nest. I love weaving that into stories. Independent woman are still allowed to want to be loved...I know I do x

DawnOPorter Wed 25-Apr-18 21:30:03

ImAGoofyGoober

Loved it!
I have a question for Dawn - Do you think Kate did the booby ears on purpose?! grin

I MEAN! I think she probably spend at least 8 minutes lining up that shot;)

AbsLouise Wed 25-Apr-18 21:31:01

*MNHQ note - SPOILER ALERT*

Hey Dawn,

Thanks for writing this book, it's fabulous and had me both laughing and crying! I think you explored such a multitude of themes brilliantly! smile

If Cam had lived would you liked for her to have ended up in a relationship with Mark or would you have preferred for her to stay single and never really 'settled down' in the sense where she might be in a committed relationship?

I loved Cam's character and I think part of what attracted me to her was because she reminds me of myself in a lot of ways. I think the fact that she was single, living by herself very independently, and loving her own company is something that isn't always painted in a positive light in other books/in the media and also just in general life. I think we're often shown that to be single is somehow to be lacking in something and I love how Cam was completely rocking life as a successful blogger and being self-sufficient with only herself to rely on!

DawnOPorter Wed 25-Apr-18 21:31:29

PavlovaPrincess

Just finished this today. Started it expecting to hate it but actually raced through it in a couple of days.

I will say that Tara is just a vile human being and not some kind of feminist heroine.

Hey Pavlova

I think vile is a BIZARRE reaction and very prudish and closed minded. I don't think she is a feminist heroine either, but she aint that bad! Chill ya boots!

Mayflowerblogs0610 Wed 25-Apr-18 21:31:57

Nap Queen, my reaction was indentical to yours!

DawnOPorter Wed 25-Apr-18 21:32:24

PavlovaPrincess

I agree @Ritzsaltedcrackers Tara's excuse was she thought she was alone in the carriage.

Not sure how alone you can reasonably expect to be in a public place though. There would have been no excuses for a man caught doing that.

NapQueen

Read this book when it first came out and loved it. Its been passed around the family and friends too who all enjoyed it.

LOVE THIS, thank you!

IdleDoughnut Wed 25-Apr-18 21:34:53

Hi Dawn,

Without giving too much away, I liked how all three female characters become a lot closer. Will you possibly be re-exploring the characters in a second book? pretty please grin

AliW72 Wed 25-Apr-18 21:35:20

**Note from MNHQ: SPOILER ALERT*

Hi Dawn,
I really enjoyed The Cows. I laughed, I cringed and I also felt sad. I loved Tara & Cam. The character that puzzled me the most was Stella. To begin with I felt sorry for her, then I found her rather disturbing and finished off feeling sorry for her once again. However my question is did you know from the start you were going to kill off Cam? I was totally shocked by that?? I look forward to hopefully more adult fiction in the future smile

DawnOPorter Wed 25-Apr-18 21:35:34

NapQueen

Hi Dawn.

The "staircase" incident towards the end of the book caught me completely by surprise and had me sat, hands over my mouth, for a god few minutes. Blind sighted me completely.

Did you know you wanted that charaters story to go that way prior to starting, or did it evolve over the course of the book?

Hey NapQueen (can you get my baby to nap?)

No, I didnt. Half way through I emailed my editor and said 'I THINK CAM NEEDS TO ***********). I dont want to ruin it for anyone who hasn't read it.

After I made this decision I wrote it a few different ways but it never felt right. The moment it happened came very quietly to me. It was about 10pm, I was in my office, and the scene just flowed out of me. I sat and cried at my computer (I have a baby and it was late...tears happened a lot).

I knew it was shocking, but it happens...life happens....

Fromage Wed 25-Apr-18 21:36:58

Hello Dawn.

I have no business being here as I have not read The Cows, but I just wanted to say your instagram stories about your cat peeing on your vintage chair had me crying tears of laughter for a full day.

How is the chair?

PS NO. I REFUSE TO BELIEVE THOSE ARE NOT KATE'S REAL BOOBY EARS AND THEY POPPED UP OUT OF HER HEAD, IT WAS NOT NOT NOT THE RAILINGS. Sorry for shouting but I feel very strongly about this.

DawnOPorter Wed 25-Apr-18 21:37:37

Paulastribe

Hi Dawn, I wondered how much your life has changed since becoming a parent. What do you find the most difficult thing about having kids and what's the biggest thing you wish you had known before becoming a mum?

Hey! I love being a parent. It's settled my feet firmly on the ground, given me a new kind of energy. A new perspective. I am tired, but thats OK. I can cope with that.

My only regret is that I didn't go on more holidays before I had kids. I never really did. And now there is nothing relaxing about holidays...if I could go back in time, I'd be in the Caribbean a lot.

NapQueen Wed 25-Apr-18 21:40:04

How have you found it juggling two small boys and your writing? Do you have a good support system in place to truly focus or do you just tune out the noise and do what you can? Either way the results are great!

Katiekirks76 Wed 25-Apr-18 21:40:20

How do you join

DawnOPorter Wed 25-Apr-18 21:40:28

Bookn3rd

Hi Dawn

Congrats on the book - I really enjoyed it!

I found it interesting that the internet and social media was used to connect people and bring them together (Cam's blog), but also that it could also destroy someone's life within a few hours (Tara's public shaming). Has it changed your view on social media at all?

Hey Bookn3rd!

When you are in the public eye (or not) and on social media, it's rollercoaster. You can offend So easily, and then receive a barrage of abuse and hate. I did a lot of research into people who's lives have been turned upside down and it was fascinating. Mostly, that in life you generally get the chance to explain, make up for it, say sorry. On Twitter, you fuck up and you are just SLAMMED. People are waiting for it, they LOVE it. You may get forgiven eventually, but they will remind you about it every day.

WHY do we do this to ourselves?

I am totally addicted to the drama of it all

Katiekirks76 Wed 25-Apr-18 21:40:56

How do you join the podcast to listen in?

PavlovaPrincess Wed 25-Apr-18 21:41:37

I'm quite chill already thanks, Dawn.

I don't think finding somebody masturbating on a train vile, is prudish or bizarre though. But thanks for replying. And I found Tara most vile for what she did to her daughter. Thanks for replying though.

Have a good evening.

RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 25-Apr-18 21:41:43

Katiekirks76

How do you join

Hi KatieKirks76 - you've joined! Welcome! Post your Qs for Dawn in the message box asap as Dawn is with us until 10pm. Shout if you have any other questions about how it works.

DawnOPorter Wed 25-Apr-18 21:46:09

Celama

Hi Dawn
Ive found this an interesting read - it's not something that I would normally pick up and I would hesitate to say I love it because some of the content but it was certainly a refreshing change. I found Tara in particular a very angry/defensive character and I couldn't take to her from the very start of the book after she accosted Annie's friends mum over the party invite as it seemed such an extreme reaction and very unfair on Annie if it hadn't gone the way she wanted. However, I maybe just need to broaden my horizons a bit!

Out of all the different writing that you have done, what is your favourite style? Fiction, young adult, non fiction, columns or broadcasts?

HEy Celma

I think you're right, her reactions was terrible ad unfair. However I will say this...I think I am a reasonable human. Generally polite, mostly able to be decent in social situations. But sometimes, I just can't contain myself. People have TERRIBLE days, where they feel like shit. Where stuff gets on top of them, and on those days, they do and say bad things. I think that is perfectly normal, yet if you are the recipient of those actions, we forget to consider that its just a bad day, or the stress they can be under. We just judge.

Tara was an important character, because she highlighted a very important point. Just because you are a mother, doesn't mean you are perfect. You are still a woman, with feelings, emotions, needs, ambitions. Sometimes, you put yourself first. Sometimes you don't stop yourself doing what you feel like doing because you are worried about how it might affect your kids.

I relate to that. I can't make myself perfect just because I have kids now. I still scream FUCK when I stub my toe. I still write embarrassing books about sex, that they will one day have to read. And I STILL drink way too much tequila and put them to bed in their clothes sometimes. But I am STILL a brilliant and devoted mum with very happy children.

Just like Tara and Annie.

DawnOPorter Wed 25-Apr-18 21:46:30

NapQueen

Is it blind sighted? Or blind sided? No idea.

LITERALLY no idea;)

DawnOPorter Wed 25-Apr-18 21:48:05

MamaCBear

Hi Dawn,

Just finished reading this and really enjoyed it. Interesting subject matter but the thing that bugged me throughout - as someone who makes documentaries, why did Tara not start documenting what was happening to her and making a programme about public shaming? Seemed a missed opportunity for her to get her side across and show how hard things were for her.

Looking forward to your next book.

Cx

Hey Mama

Just like it's sometimes impossible to follow your own advice, it's sometimes not obvious when an opportunity passes by you. Also, I honestly think Tara wanted to disappear. She didnt want ANY of that attention. She loved being behind the camera, if what happened hadn't have happened, she would never have put herself into the position of 'the subject.

AliW72 Wed 25-Apr-18 21:48:16

Oh shit....I’m so sorry I think I gave something away in my previous post. Massive apologies I’m a complete virgin to this 🙈

DawnOPorter Wed 25-Apr-18 21:48:45

GOODNESS ME, my fingers are aching. From typing (PROMISE). I wish I could write this much when I have a deadline;)

DawnOPorter Wed 25-Apr-18 21:49:58

VileyRose

I didn't enjoy it. The characters felt empty sad

Hey

Fair enough! I have often read books that other people have raved about and not understood AT ALL. If you don't relate, you don't relate. Luckily, there are other books!

Helmetbymidnight Wed 25-Apr-18 21:50:38

It's blind sided you numpties grin

DawnOPorter Wed 25-Apr-18 21:50:59

IdleDoughnut

Hi Dawn,

Without giving too much away, I liked how all three female characters become a lot closer. Will you possibly be re-exploring the characters in a second book? pretty please grin

Hey Doughnut

Ahh thanks. No, the story ends there...but thank you for enjoying it!

DawnOPorter Wed 25-Apr-18 21:51:35

WhatWouldLeslieKnopeDo

I'm about a third of the way through and really not sure what to make of it confused partly because I'm quite prudish!

My local library has several copies so worth a look if you don't want to buy it.

Hey!

YES, SUPPORT LIBRARIES!!! Always x x x x

DawnOPorter Wed 25-Apr-18 21:53:04

Helmetbymidnight

Ok, a question for dawn:

I'm interested in books about female friendships- actually started a thread on here bout them somewhere- we got: the elena ferente novels, three things about Elsie, the animateurs, not much else, do you have any recommendations on that subject- or any in general?

I was glad that while there was some romance/happy ending it's not all about that- is that a deliberate choice and have you ever been encouraged to end/edit differently?

Also, what are you writing next?

Hey again!

Hmmm, I don't know many either...maybe that's why I like writing them...

I JUST came up with the plot for my next novel...it's very different and I am so excited to write it. It will be out Summer 2019.

xx

VenusStarr Wed 25-Apr-18 21:53:31

Hi Dawn!

I loved the book, had me laughing and crying. I've not read your books before but will definitely be seeking out your other books smile

What's next in the pipeline?

Ps: love your instagram stories too, feel like a bit of a cyber-stalker! ;)

Celama Wed 25-Apr-18 21:55:18

Thanks for answering Dawn, I'm probably just a wee bit jealous that I do worry about what people think of me too much!

RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 25-Apr-18 21:55:27

AliW72

Oh shit....I’m so sorry I think I gave something away in my previous post. Massive apologies I’m a complete virgin to this 🙈

Don't worry! It's really hard not to but we;re just aware there may be some folks watching who have yet to read.

DawnOPorter Wed 25-Apr-18 21:56:03

LOVE THESE..

RachelMumsnet

Can we put to you the Mumsnet questions that we put to all our authors:

What was your favourite childhood book? - The Witches, Roald Dahl

What was the last book you gave to someone as a gift? - The Rules do Not Apply, Ariel Levy - a brilliant memoir. Join in my Instagram book club if you can @The_Cold_Water_Book_club. it's out non fiction book of the month.

What was the last book you read? - That one...

Can you describe the room(s) where you wrote The Cows?

- ALL OVER THE PLACE...I started it in an apartment in the West Village in New York...but I deleted everything I wrote there, because it was terrible.

I wrote the majority of it in an Airbnb in London. But I finished it in a communal work space in LA, where I was generally screaming 'STOP PLAYING FUCKING PING PONG' at freelancers who didn't have much to do.

NapQueen Wed 25-Apr-18 21:56:22

Dawn, if they asked, would you play Eleanor Oliphant? Sorry not your book but your bookclub choice

DawnOPorter Wed 25-Apr-18 21:56:58

VileyRose

Read this on our drive to Scotland

DON'T READ AND DRIVE!

DawnOPorter Wed 25-Apr-18 22:00:32

Thanks everyone, that was fast and intense. Sorry I didn't answer more.

I really mean it that I love all feedback to my work. If someone finishes one of my books and has anything to say at all, I see that as a job well done. I don't try to write books that people love, I just try to write stories that offer an honest take of how ridiculous real life can be.

Thank you to anyone who read The Cows. I'm so proud of it. As any of you with kids will know, doing anything in the first year of motherhood is a real challenge, so the fact that I wrote anything at all still feels like a miracle. Eternally grateful to anyone who takes the time to read my work. It was always my dream to write novels, and I hope I get to do it forever. Sleep well, Dawn x x

RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 25-Apr-18 22:01:45

Dawn - you'll be pleased to hear you managed to get through more questions than the legend that is Lionel Shriver who was with us last week.

Sadly, that brings us to the end of the hour - what a shame - we really could have gone on for another couple of hours. Thanks to everyone for joining and to Dawn - a massive thank you for your full and honest answers. That was a brilliant webchat and we have all loved the opportunity to chat to you about The Cows.

Please will you join us again?

May book of the month is Francesca Segal’s The Awkward Age and we’ll be selecting 10 people who joined us tonight to receive free copies. We’ll be announcing the winners shortly.

RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 25-Apr-18 22:22:48

Congratulations: CorbyGirl, Napqueen, ButDoYouAvocado, MamaCbear, AbsLouise, PavlovaPrincess, Helmetbymidnight, Venusstarr, Celama and FernieB who has each won a copy of May book of the month: The Awkward Age by Francesca Segal.

We'll Message you to confirm and ask for your address so we can organise for the books to be sent out to you.

DawnOPorter Wed 25-Apr-18 22:23:51

RachelMumsnet

Dawn - you'll be pleased to hear you managed to get through more questions than the legend that is Lionel Shriver who was with us last week.

Sadly, that brings us to the end of the hour - what a shame - we really could have gone on for another couple of hours. Thanks to everyone for joining and to Dawn - a massive thank you for your full and honest answers. That was a brilliant webchat and we have all loved the opportunity to chat to you about The Cows.

Please will you join us again?

May book of the month is Francesca Segal’s The Awkward Age and we’ll be selecting 10 people who joined us tonight to receive free copies. We’ll be announcing the winners shortly.

Of course Thanks for having me. I'll email Lionel and let her know I am better than her!

THANKS FOR HAVING ME x

NapQueen Wed 25-Apr-18 22:24:41

Oooooo Ive never won anything before!

littlerose12345 Wed 25-Apr-18 22:30:15

Well done to the winners and those who had their questions answered 😭

VenusStarr Wed 25-Apr-18 22:31:01

Woohoo! smile thank you!

RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 25-Apr-18 22:38:40

If you're interested in joining Dawn's bookclub on instagram @the_cold_water_book_club here's a link to the non-fiction title she talked about:

The Rules Do Not Apply by Ariel Levy

I would totally recommend it - I knew very little about it when I picked it up last year and it blew me away. An incredible, moving and honest memoir.

Belo Thu 26-Apr-18 07:13:48

I didn't join last night as I thought the book was easy to read, but nothing special. Too many coincidences, single dimensional characters and all a bit too much like 'chic lit'. I felt uncomfortable being on a chat with an author if I didn't like their book.

Maybe I'm only critical as we read this after reading 'Stay With Me'. Definitely one of the best books I've read in a long time.

RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 26-Apr-18 10:22:52

littlerose12345

Well done to the winners and those who had their questions answered 😭

Aw, sorry you missed out on getting your question answered littlerose. In Dawn's defence there was a huge amount to get through. I've just found a copy of The Awkward Age on our office bookshelf and will send it over to you. I'll be in touch on PM to get your address. flowers

RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 03-May-18 16:40:56

Just wanted to link to this great interview with Dawn O'Porter conducted by MN book club blogger Five Little Doves

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