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Beast Mom: An Interview with Author Kim Imas

In her latest novel, Beast Mom, author Kim Imas confirms that nothing compares to the strength of a mother. The story follows Harriet "Harry" Lime as her anger over a series of escalating events causes her to transform into a massive, toothy monster. She is now tasked with preventing the manifestation from occurring again, determining why mysterious uniformed men are flocking to her little Oregon town, and, well, being a mom. Witty, captivating, and a pure delight, Beast Mom is a must-read.

To learn more about the story behind the story, read A Good Book To End The Day’s interview with the author below.

Tell us about Beast Mom and the story world you've created.

Beast Mom is about Harriet Lime, a mom from Oregon who—after being neglected as a kid—has coped by being stoic, poised, and quietly sarcastic her whole life. So when she finally gets super pissed off, it’s kind of a big deal for her. Especially when she transforms into a giant, toothy monster as a result.

As she struggles in the aftermath to figure out why that happened, she’s also got to keep up with the grocery shopping, carpooling, cooking, and so on, while also dodging some mysterious uniformed men that have begun popping up around her Portland suburb.

Through a series of adventures, Harriet (or “Harry”) must also wrestle with other, more introspective issues. For example, does she like being a monster, so much that she’s willing to put her so-called “normal” life at risk of total decimation? Why does she care so much about keeping her monster a secret from her own family? Is it more advantageous for her to be a cute monster or an ugly monster? And many more.

What inspired the idea for your book?

Near the end of 2017, as the #MeToo movement was exploding into a universal phenomenon, it occurred to me to wonder: If half the population is this enraged, and has been for some time, why haven’t we been collectively reckoning with it? I decided to write a book about a woman who got super angry—with supernatural consequences. And I wanted her to be a mom, as I had been a mom for four years by that time and had been shocked time after time by how difficult life in the United States is for mothers. Like the massive changes that happen to a person’s body during and after pregnancy. Like the fact that we live in a society that doesn’t value a mother’s time and well-being, which shows up in a lack of guaranteed leave, relatively weak employment protections, poor support for breastfeeding, and more. These things make moms vulnerable, emotionally, physically, and economically, and women elsewhere in the world don’t have to put up with it. It makes me mad, and I think it makes others mad, too.

What message do you hope readers take away from the book?

There are a few key messages in Beast Mom. First, that having regular, face-to-face time with other people in our communities matters a great deal, for us as individual humans and for our collective health. But in American society, it’s well-documented that group activities have been dwindling for decades. This has contributed to a sense of isolation and even public divisiveness, realities that many of us feel acutely—and that plague moms in unique ways.

Second, we should publicly discuss women’s unique health and medical matters to a greater degree. There’s a stigma—and to some extent, even disgust—when it comes to talking about menstruation and uterine health and the like, but not talking about them contributes to a widespread ignorance that harms women over time. This ignorance also, I believe, makes it easier for politicians to get away with drafting harmful and intrusive legislation that aims to control what women can and can’t do with their bodies.

And third, we should do a better job listening to women in general. We live in a world that was built for able-bodied, straight, white men but our record is mixed at best when it comes to evolving to accommodate other people. I think we’re failing women in part because we’re so dismissive of women’s stories—in court, in media, in everyday conversation, and elsewhere.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned about yourself while writing Beast Mom?

I learned that I probably have a limit to how long of a novel I can handle writing. Beast Mom is probably a bit past that threshold, in fact! I really struggled to finish it and while part of that may be due to some kind of second-book curse (anecdotally, I’ve heard from other authors again and again that one’s second book is much harder than the first), my gut tells me I’m better suited to a lower page count.

What does literary success look like to you?

I think that when Beast Mom readers are discussing—on social media, in book clubs, around the kitchen table, anywhere, really—the topics that are examined in the book, I will feel like I’ve made a difference. It would be especially affirming if media outlets used Beast Mom as a jumping-off point for deeper and more frequent discussions around the structural inequities in our society, particularly as they impact women and mothers.

I’ll be honest and add that getting positive and/or kind reviews, and maybe the occasional award, would feel very nice, too!

Do you have any other projects in the works at this time?

I’m currently wrapping my head around what a sequel to Beast Mom would be like. I hope the book’s ending answers enough questions about what’s been happening to Harry and other women in Straussville so that readers feel satisfied, while also remaining interested in uncovering more in a second book. I hope to begin the outlining phase soon.

I’ve also been working on a TV pilot based on Beast Mom, which continues to be a challenging learning experience, as I haven’t done this sort of writing before. The process is also interesting in that it’s helped me understand my characters better and even conceive new plot points that may appear in a sequel to Beast Mom.

How can readers keep in touch with you?

Readers are welcome to send me email at kim@kimimasauthor.com and can follow me on Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, and Twitter.

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