It was just a squashed grape on the kitchen floor. Hardly a reason to get upset, right?
But six years of motherhood has left Lisa Stratton feeling like a skivvy. Every morning before she's opened her eyes, she starts her mental inventory of jobs to do. And just like yesterday, the day before and every day since she became a mum, she's woken up knackered.
So when her husband deliberately steps over the grape because it's 'her responsibility' to run the house, it tips her over the edge. He wasn't always like this - they used to share everything. Then the kids came along and he saw it as an excuse to sit back. But this time things are going to change. Lisa has made a decision. She's going on strike.
Today I’m thrilled to be a part of the blog tour for Laura Kemp’s new novel ‘Mums on Strike’ which was released on the 16th of January! ‘Mums on Strike’ is Laura’s second novel and, just like her successful debut novel ‘Mums Like Us’, it focuses on the topic of motherhood. When I was contacted about a possible review copy of the book and the chance to do a Q&A with Laura, I couldn’t say ‘yes’ fast enough, because I straight away loved the sound of the blurb and couldn’t wait to start reading!
Lisa Stratton has been a mother for about six years and she could never have expected the big changes she would have to get used to after becoming a mum. Somehow, she has found herself in a marriage where it is solely her responsibility to keep the house clean, to make sure the kids get to and from birthday parties, and everyone has enough clean clothes to last them through the week. Before the arrival of the children, Lisa and her husband used to take it all on together, as a couple, and she sees no reason why it shouldn’t go back to the way it was. So, Lisa decides there’s only thing for her to do if she wants things to change: a strike.
Even though I’m not (yet) a mum myself, I always love reading novels about motherhood and the challenges that come with it. ‘Mums on Strike’ has an original idea at its core which I thoroughly enjoyed; you often hear about mums who feel there is still a rather old-fashioned idea out there in the world that it is the woman who has to do the ironing and keeping the house clean, instead of this being a team-effort. Laura Kemp used this idea and managed to turn it into a funny and captivating read that focuses on a mum going on strike and forcing her husband to rethink the task division in their home, including the troubles and difficult moments that come with this decision.
Lisa is a lovely heroine and a true example to many female readers, I think. She is strong, ambitious (I really liked how she wants to be a great mother and a wonderful wife, but also an independent woman who has her own dreams and ambitions) and she stands up for her beliefs. Laura Kemp shows both sides of Lisa’s strike; the pro’s and con’s and how it influences everyone around her, including her young children, which is part of what makes this novel good. ‘Mums on Strike’ is an entertaining, funny and feminist read and I wouldn’t be surprised if this will put ideas in the heads of wives and mothers all around the world!
I'm excited to have had the chance to interview Laura Kemp about her new release 'Mums on Strike' as a part of this blog tour!
1) Can you tell us something about your novel, ‘Mums on Strike’?
It's about a working mum who is so sick of being taken for granted she goes on strike in a bid to get her husband to share the housework. But more than that, it's about love, marriage, friendships and the power of women!
2) Where did you find the inspiration for ‘Mums on Strike’? Is it based on your own personal experiences?
The inspiration came from my mum, who decided to stop making my dad's sandwiches to take to the office when she got a job. The idea has bubbled away and then came to a head after I started writing when my son was a toddler - even though I was back working, my husband was very happy in his traditional breadwinner role and didn't think to help out with any of the chores. He is still spectacularly useless but when I went on 24-hour strike, he realised how much I do, how boring it is and why he should help out more!
3) There’s a great mix of characters in the novel. Which character did you most enjoy writing about and why?
Oh, I loved the mother-in-law the best. She is a lovely woman but very dated, her heart's in the right place though, so it was interesting to explore her relationship with my heroine, Lisa, and see how they make things work when the strike progresses.
4) In your previous novel, ‘Mums Like Us’, you also tackled the subject of motherhood, just like in this new novel. Why did you decide to write about being a mum?
Because I found it such a shock - going from being an independent working woman to being responsible for another life was utterly overwhelming. I was lucky enough to meet some like-minded mums but I heard plenty of tales about terrifying mother superiors who approached motherhood as a competition and so the book was born!
5) Can you perhaps tell us something about your future plans as an author? Are you already working on a next novel?
I am working on my next novel - a sexy comedy but that's all I can say at the moment!
6) Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?
Persistance is the main thing, be it sitting down to write or trying to get an agent. The knocks can be soul-destroying when you've put so much into a piece but they're inevitable. Have a cry and a glass of wine, then get back up again!
7) And last but not least, if you had to describe ‘Mums on Strike’ in just three words, which words would you pick?
Funny, feminist and warm.
Thanks so much to Laura Kemp for taking the time to answer these questions! :)