The Arrivals Interview
The idyllic life of empty nesters Ginny and William Owens is shattered when all three of their adult children suddenly return home to stay - indefinitely. First, eldest daughter Lillian arrives with her two young children in tow, her once happy marriage in tatters. Next comes son Stephen and his fiercely ambitious, BlackBerry-addicted and very pregnant wife Jane, who is forced to extend a grudging weekend visit into a month's bed rest after an emergency dash to the local hospital.
When their youngest, Rachel, appears, nursing her own secret behind fleeing her life in New York, Ginny and William find their once peaceful home transformed into the chaos of their child-rearing days. Only this time around, their children are facing adult problems. At summer's end, when a mother is faced with her worst fear, each Owen has learned their own lesson in love and loyalty, and what really matters. And the old adage, once a parent, always a parent, has never rung so true.
A former journalist and non-fiction writer, Meg Mitchell Moore lives in Newburyport, Massachusetts, with her husband and three young daughters.
Harper Collins Australia
Author: Meg Mitchell Moore
Interview with Meg Mitchell Moore
Question: What originally inspired you to write The Arrivals?
Meg Mitchell Moore: The Arrivals grew out of an novel I was working on that I abandoned. That book was about a husband whose wife died suddenly, leaving their two young children in his care. The children were dispatched to their grandparents' house.
That book didn't work for a lot of reasons but I really liked the dynamic of the children and the grandparents, and in the process of "revising" that book I created the Owen family and their various reasons for ending up back at their parents' house.
Question: What research did you do for The Arrivals?
Meg Mitchell Moore: The Arrivals didn't require much research; the characters and their situations were familiar to me. I did have to make sure I had the details of Jane's pregnancy complications down, so I talked to a friend of a friend who is an OB about what would be a reasonable scenario. My second book (now completed) and my third book (which I am just beginning) both require more research. I'm finding that enjoyable.
Question: Do you have a favourite of the Ginny and William Owen's children?
Meg Mitchell Moore: I have a real soft spot in my heart for Rachel. While I didn't go through the exact same experiences that she goes through, I very clearly remember working in New York City in my twenties and feeling a little lost and definitely pretty broke. I remember constantly pondering the question of, "What will become of me?" I think a city like New York can beat you down in some ways when you're trying to figure things out, but it can also open up opportunities you might never have elsewhere.
Question: Are any of the characters based on anyone you know?
Meg Mitchell Moore: Not really. I think there are little snippets of each character that are familiar to me in some ways, but nothing conscious. Olivia, the three-year-old girl, shares similarities with each of my three daughters when they were that age. Actually, that's not really true. My youngest was only one when I wrote the majority of the book, so it's more that she has grown into her similarities with Olivia, which is even stranger!
Question: There are several issues raised in this book. Was this deliberate or did the story evolve this way?
Meg Mitchell Moore: It evolved that way. I started with the characters, as I always do, and the situation of adult children returning home. Everything else came from there organically. I sometimes wish I were better at plotting ahead of time, because I think it would save a lot of work and heartache later in the process, but I'm just not.