Author Interview: Mandy Behbehani Discusses The Blasphemy Box

We always love to learn more about the authors of the books that we enjoy.  This week we had the wonderful opportunity to talk about The Blasphemy Box and get to know its author, Mandy Behbehani.  
AMCOTW:  What was your inspiration for The Blasphemy Box?  When did you begin writing it? 

Mandy Behbehani:  I wrote The Blasphemy Box over three weeks in July 2010. I didn’t plan it. I didn’t plot it out. It just appeared on the screen before me as I typed madly away. Smart, funny and poignant at equal turns, it recounts the tale of Maddy Nelson, a nice, attractive, educated woman who wakes up one day to find her husband leaving her for a woman half her age and half her size for no other reason than that she is fifty and he wants a younger, more exciting romantic partner. And it’s also the story of what women of her age and in her position are often forced to go through.
After finishing the book, my editor in New York read it and called to say it was the most brilliant, fabulous book he had ever laid eyes on, and then told me to go sit down at my desk and change everything in it.

Many (and I mean, many) drafts later, it was done and it took a few months to go through the publishing process.

Inspiration is a hard thing to trace, but I would have to say that seeing myself getting older, (and not liking it one bit!), in part encouraged me to write this story about one woman’s experience with love, loss and, in particular, aging. I believe this is a story many women will identify with, because while there are so many novels out there for hip, young women, there are very few for the women they become: their older, better selves

AMCOTW:  Tell us about the cover art for The Blasphemy Box. Who designed it? Why did you choose it?

MB:  I worked with Createspace, an Amazon-owned company which formats and designs a paperback for you, inside and out.

I came up with the image I did because, in my novel, the name of the blog written by the heroine, Maddy, is The Blasphemy Box, the same name she dubs a wooden box that her uptight husband Steven recently set on the kitchen table into which she was to drop a quarter every time she said something off color. (As Maddy says, “I’m from England where cursing is the second language.”)

To Maddy, that box symbolizes everything that is wrong with her marriage, so instead of having a quarter drop into the slot of the box, I have her tossing her wedding ring into it, signifying that the marriage is over, and the healing has begun.

AMCOTW:  Who is your favorite character from your book and why?

MB I would have to say Maddy is my favorite character. She shows a lot of dignity in a very trying, humiliating and terrifying situation, while simultaneously managing to take care of and protect her kids. That’s a good mother. 

AMCOTW:  Who is your least favorite character from The Blasphemy Box and why?

MB:  Probably Anita, Maddy’s  mother in law. Instead of trying to build a symbiotic relationship with her daughter in law and appreciating the fine person and mother Maddy is, she resents her and pushes her away from the beginning. How many mothers in law do we know like that?!!

AMCOTW:  What is something interesting about The Blasphemy Box that your readers and ours would like to know?
MB:  My husband says that while writing it, I became alive.

AMCOTW:  Tell us a little about yourself when you are away from writing.  

MB:  I design jewelry using semi-precious stones, Swarovski crystal, sterling silver and gold vermeil. I had a jewelry design business for some years and did quite well with it, but writing always called me. My greatest pastime is to read. I particularly love history and have just read about eight books on the Lincoln assassination and the manhunt for and trial of the conspirators. I also love to travel, and I like to hike in the open space around where I live with my yellow Lab Lalou, who runs  my house and runs my life. In fact I am crazy about dogs in general and the happy byproduct of that is it has allowed me to make so many new friends, both human and canine.  

AMCOTW:  What is most rewarding about your role as an author--and as the author of The Blasphemy Box?

MB:  The most gratifying part of my role as an author is getting in touch with my inner, creative self and then seeing readers connect with the result. 

AMCOTW:  How can readers contact you or find out more about your books? Is there a fanpage, website, etc. that readers may not know about? 

MB:  I would love to hear from readers and encourage them to contact me. There is nothing that is more worthwhile for an author than for her to have communication with people who have read (and, hopefully, liked!) her book.  Readers can connect at the following sites: 

On Twitter @mandyscribeista

My blog. 

AMCOTW:  What can your readers expect from you in the future?  What projects are you working on?

MB:  I am thinking about a sequel to The Blasphemy Box and I might try to finish my romance novel that’s currently sitting in my computer doing nothing.

Learn More and Buy the Book:  If you would like to learn more about this book and Mandy Behbehani--follow the blog tour where you will find reviews, excerpts and guest posts from the author as well as additional interviews.  You may also enter to win a signed copy of the book or a lovely bracelet designed by the author herself!

Purchase The Blasphemy Box 

 Kindle /PaperbackPaperback

Disclosure:  I received a complimentary copy of The Blasphemy box as background for this post.

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