“This book came about directly from an episode of the Oprah Winfrey Show,” says Paula Daly, author of Just What Kind of Mother Are You? Daly was heartbroken by the story of an overwhelmed mother who accidentally left her toddler daughter in the back of her car while she was at work. Tragically, the girl died of heatstroke.
Daly says, “I, too, was once so overstretched that I could have made a similar mistake. The more I thought about this awful turn of events, the more I wanted to write about it. But it wasn’t until I met a particularly difficult woman that the story popped into my head: what if you were so busy, that you took your eye off the ball and her child went missing? This terrified me.”
Daly wrote Just What Kind of Mother Are You? in five months while working part-time as a physiotherapist. Each day after her last patient left, Daly committed to writing 1,000 words before getting up from her chair. And thus Lisa Kallisto was born: a stretched-thin mother of three whose best friend’s 13-year-old daughter disappears on her watch—the second local girl to vanish in two weeks.
The domestic thriller came to Grove/Atlantic from Jane Gregory at Gregory & Company. Corinna Barsan, senior editor at Grove Press, says, “We all had the same instant reaction: that sinking-stomach feeling over the premise. It’s not only a nail-biting read, it’s such a real portrayal of modern family life and daily pressures. As much as we strive to be, we’re not superheroes, and Paula asks that daring question: what happens when you push too hard, take on too much, and make a terrible mistake?”
What Kind of Mother Are You? will be published in 10 other countries, including by Transworld in the U.K. and Doubleday Canada.