Friday, March 11, 2016

2 Broads Abroad: Moms Fly the Coop by Deborah Serra and Nancy Serra Greene @goddessfish @2_BroadsAbroad


By Deborah Serra

I believed that I needed silence to write, and was surprised to learn that wasn’t exactly true.  After my sister, Nancy, and I finished writing our humorous travel memoir 2 BROADS ABROAD: Moms Fly the Coop, and while we were searching for a publisher, I won a literary fellowship. I was offered an attic room in a 16th century Scottish castle for a month of intensive writing. I was ecstatic about the silence and the solitude.  I couldn’t pack fast enough.

There were three other writers at the castle retreat, but we were only allowed to speak to each other for one hour during dinnertime.  There were no newspapers, no phones, no TV, and no Internet.  There was you, yourself, and your brain – questionable company at best.

Initially, it was thrilling.  I love old buildings and I was inspired just sitting there inside those old stone walls.  Then, as the time wore on, I’d wake up and face sixteen hours with only one hour of contact, day-after-day, week-after-week, I started having trouble concentrating and it began to feel a little like a minimum-security prison. Frustration at not be able to turn out acceptable pages grew as the walls in my room closed in.  It wasn’t that I was longing for conversation, I wasn’t.  I was feeling distracted, and it was affecting my ability to think, and hence, to write.

This situation was stunning to me.  I had maintained a successful TV screenwriting career, while simultaneously raising three boisterous kids, a crazy Wheaton Terrier, and a husband who also needed care and feeding.  All I had ever longed for was solitude and quiet hours to write at leisure:  a break from the daily energetic chaos that was my home – or so I thought.

It wasn’t until I started sneaking off the castle grounds, climbing over the castle wall, and hitching a ride on a local bus that took me half an hour into Edinburgh that I realized I needed a particular kind of chaos to be productive.  Sitting upstairs, in a tiny old café, with people coming in and out, I found concentrating much easier.  I turned out pages instead of staring at the garret wall. 

So, what did I learn about work space?  I don’t want actual interaction, but I do need activity – energy.  I could not work if someone nearby was having a loud conversation, or if the music was playing a song I knew, but white noise, a general, non-specified rumble…ah, that’s the way for me.  It was so easy to concentrate in the café, knowing no one would know me, or speak to me, and the coffee was hot and ever-ready.  It was invigorating to feel all that life around me, but still be alone.

To find the perfect workspace you must experiment.  Don’t assume you know what it is - experiment.  Spend a week in one room, then a week out on the patio, then a week in a busy café – you get the picture.  In one of those places you will feel yourself sink into it – that sinking feeling is what you’re striving for: a sense of being pulled toward the page, lost in it.  Maybe you are lost when in your bedroom, or lost in a crowd, or lost in the library.  Gertrude Stein wrote in her car, Maya Angelou keeps a hotel room in her hometown, and the great screenwriter Dalton Trumbo used to write in his bathtub.  There is no perfect work place to write.  There is only your perfect place.


2 Broads Abroad: Moms Fly the Coop
by Deborah Serra and Nancy Serra Greene

GENRE: Nonfiction, Motherhood, Travel Memoir


When sisters, Deborah & Nancy, discovered that motherhood was a temp job they decided to run away from home. After packing up that last kid for college, and facing the sad stillness of their suddenly quiet homes, they decided to leave the country. 2 BROADS ABROAD: MOMS FLY THE COOP is a funny, irreverent, occasionally poignant travel tale of their impulsive road trip around Ireland.

In this witty warm-hearted adventure, they experienced some of Ireland’s quirkier history while sharing universally relatable stories of maniacal school coaches, neurotic neighbors, and tiger moms. Having kicked that empty nest into their rearview mirror, the sisters took off careening down the wrong side of the road, making questionable choices, getting trapped in a medieval tower, sneaking Chinese take-out into a famous cooking school, drinking way too much, and gaining a changed perspective on their lives ahead.


When we thought about the phases of our lives at each juncture of change: our own departure from home, our first real job, our marriages, the birth of our children, all of the big phases of change held out something new for us.  This change was shaping up very differently.  This change was loss – complete dissolution of the fundamental family structure forever and that was all.  We had to plan.  We needed to be proactive.  The alternative was to be left standing frozen in time, in a life that had moved on without us, and to become observers and visitors in our kids' lives. Not acceptable. So, we set our imaginations loose.

We considered our location. Now that we knew we were leaving – where could we go? 

“Angkor Wat,”  I said.

“Wat what?” Nancy asked.

“It’s the largest temple in the world, built in 1125.”

“Where is it?”


“Uh, huh. Deborah, I was thinking more along the lines of a bucolic vineyard in Tuscany.  You know, stroll along the hills, sample the fruit of the vine, nectar of the gods?”

“Oh.  Okay, how would you feel about a camel trek in Morocco?”

“Probably sore, smelly, and hot.  And I understand camels are mean and they spit.  They spit, Deborah. What about a civilized boat ride down the Rhine River in Germany?  They have castles and I know how you like castles.”

“I do like castles, but don’t you think we should go more exotic?”

“This is our first trip together.  I’d like to steer clear of nations at war, places we’d need to wear a burka, or can’t speak the language, or ride on an angry animal.  Surely we can agree on somewhere.”

“I’ve always wanted to see where grandma’s family came from.”

“Me, too!”

“With a little research and a rental car we can see the entire island in a couple of weeks.”

“Perfect. Ireland it is!”

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Deborah Serra has been a sought-after screenwriter for twenty-five years having written for NBC, CBS, Sony, Lifetime, Fox, and others. She was a recipient of the 2012 Hawthornden Literary Fellowship. Her first novel was a semi-finalist for the William Faulkner-William Wisdom Creative Writing Award given by the Faulkner Society in New Orleans, LA.

Nancy is a graduate of San Diego State University. She worked in medical sales before stepping away to raise her two children, at which point she became: Team Mom, Snack Mom, PTA member, Assistance League Volunteer, and the list is never-ending. Nancy was the editor and publisher of the Buffalo Hills Echo newsletter with a circulation of 1400. She also designed and managed her community website.

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Deborah Serra and Nancy Serra Greene will be awarding a $50 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

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