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Author Q & A with Kelly Harms

Cindy Burnett
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The Seven Day Switch

The Seven Day Switch is out today and tells the story of two moms who switch places for a week.

I have always loved the movie Freaky Friday, in which a mom and daughter switch places, and enjoy stories where people swap places with each other. In The Seven Day Switch, author Kelly Harms creates a story where two moms switch places with each other, something I am sure every mom has wanted to do at some point.  

Kelly Harms has worked in the publishing industry for over 20 years; first as an editor at HarperCollins, then as a literary agent, and now as a USA Today, Washington Post, and Amazon Charts bestselling author of five novels. The Seven Day Switch is her latest novel, which publishes today. I hope you enjoy our Q & A. 

Tell me a little bit about your book.

Here’s a very little bit, and it really does sum it up: Freaky Friday only with two moms switching places instead of a mom and a daughter. I mean, who really wants to port into a teenage body at this point anyway? No, if I’m going to walk in someone else’s shoes, I hope they’re comfortable enough to chase kids in.

What comes first, the plot or the characters?

On this one the plot came first, because I spent some time wishing my life was different when my son was very little and everything felt very hard. I made a note to that effect on a scrap of paper and tucked it away years ago. I found the note some time later and Wendy, the working mom in my story, just popped into my head and said: I’ll take it from here. 

I would love to hear about your research for this one.

Kelly Harms

Kelly Harms worked in the publishing industry for years before becoming an author.

We were on lockdown, so all research was homebound. Still, I had a great time pinging all the moms I know with the funniest questions about their day-to-day life. Luckily, they’re used to me, so weren’t offended when I asked the working moms if they ever slept in their cars in the driveway for ten minutes before starting the second shift or the stay-at-home moms if they ever posted something on social to make their life seem better than it really was. (Answer: yes to both.)

Something that did throw me for a loop was that I like to revisit my story’s locale after I finish the first draft and use that trip to inform edits and make sure I’ve used all those details that put you into a story. Considering I love fun settings, this means a trip to New York, Coastal Maine, the Northwoods, or ski country - hardly a sacrifice for me! This time, though, travel was a no go, so I had to very quickly sand down some of the location specifics and tell a story that could be set in nearly any suburb. (That said, there is a hint to the actual setting of the book if you read closely. I think the people who live there will notice it right away.)

What were the key challenges you faced when writing this book?

Perhaps ironically for a mom book, it was the demands put on moms over the last year, because of our global crisis, that challenged me most on this story. I thought it would be hard switching women’s bodies and minds, writing a story with a magical element for the first time, and making sure everything was very clear to the reader in those challenging POVs. It was, at times.

But what I really struggled with were the many moments when my heart was hopping around the nation’s hotspots and then the world’s, seeing so much suffering, keeping my family safe the best I could, and homeschooling all the while. Now, with so much hope on the horizon, I’m glad I stuck in there and did the writing and editing it took to be putting a happy, uplifting book into a world that definitely deserves a lift.

For more book recommendations and bookish thoughts, see Cindy’s monthly Buzz Reads column, her Thoughts from a Page Podcast or follow @ThoughtsFromaPage on Instagram. Find upcoming Conversations from a Page events here.

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