Kim Imas received degrees in engineering and urban planning, from Duke and Harvard respectively, before pursuing a career as a writer. Her work appeared in Boston Magazine and The Boston Globe Magazine before she turned to longform fiction. Her first novel, a romance, was initially published under a pen name and earned praise from Publishers Weekly for its “smooth prose and witty dialogue.” A former Oregonian, Kim now lives with her family outside New York and tries to do in novels what Dolly Parton does in song: deliver stories of women’s struggles in a way that’s too damn delightful to ignore. She loves a good crossword. Meet Kim:
What is your most recent book and what inspired you to write it? My new book is called Beast Mom and it explores the ways in which women deal with their anger, and the consequences they encounter when they dare to express it.
Women, you’ve probably noticed, have been pissed off for a long time. Here in the US, our health care has long been a political football. An avowed p***y-grabber was recently in charge. And moms still bear far more domestic responsibilities than dads—an imbalance made worse by COVID-19—and get far less postpartum support than moms in other parts of the world.
So why are we still watching a white guy—Bruce Banner, aka The Hulk—get crazy-mad and bust shit up? We’re hungry for a story where a woman gets to be hopping mad and crack some heads. In public, preferably, and with jokes.
That’s what Harriet “Harry” Lime, typical American mom and the quippy protagonist of Beast Mom, gets the chance to do. I think a great many readers will be curious to see what she and her friends do with their new superpowers.
How do you hope your book uplifts those who read it? My favorite books are those in which the author creates a world that I love “spending time in,” so to speak. So I hope that’s true for Beast Mom readers. I hope that the challenges Harry faces feel relatable, that her adventures are thrilling, and that her triumphs bring all women some much-needed catharsis.
And I think if I’m really fortunate, the folks who read Beast Mom will help change the conversation about how we can make the world a little better for new moms. When I started the book, I’d been a mom for about four years, and was still experiencing shock after shock (after freakin’ shock) in terms of the difficulties that come with the territory. I’m talking about things ranging from the insanely high cost of preschool to the lack of guaranteed leave from work to the intense changes that happen to one’s body. (Droopy bladder, anyone?)
But discussions about pregnancy and motherhood in the media and on TV shows are still often superficial and even misleading. How wonderful would it be if Beast Mom leads more people to engage in more “real talk” about the complicated and often messy reality of these topics? I think that would be one way to uplift all parents, and moms and moms-to-be especially.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to succeed in your professional industry? Try to connect with other writers who are at a similar place in the writing or publishing process as you are. You can find them on social media, via hashtags (Twitter) and dedicated groups (Facebook). Another great way to meet these folks is in writing workshops, whether virtual or in-person. Be on the lookout for individuals with whom you feel comfortable exchanging critiques of your work, and with whom you can be open about your frustrations and your achievements alike.
Remember, too, that writing and publishing even one novel is less a marathon than it is an Ironman triathlon. The swimming leg is akin to the research, self-education, and networking you do at the outset of the process; the bike portion is the actual drafting of the manuscript; and the running part is all the pitching, querying, promotion, and so on that happens on the tail end. So if you’re working on a novel and you don’t hit your word count or complete the number of pages you’d hoped for on any given day, remind yourself that you’re in it for the long haul. Tomorrow is always a good time to reset and start fresh.
How do you hold yourself accountable and achieve the goals that you set forth? I have ADHD, so I struggle to set achievable goals, and even when I do, I’m almost never on track with them. But writing novels has taught me how important it is to be gentle with myself. And let’s be real: Even neurotypical authors miss deadlines and ask for extensions!
That said, I’ve learned that certain types of goals work better for me than others. For example, I have more success with weekly goals than daily ones. With weekly benchmarks, if I flub up one day—which I do, often—I’m comforted but the fact I can make up some ground on another day. It’s a more forgiving system.
I was also extremely fortunate to have an “accountability buddy” for part of the time I was writing Beast Mom. A writer friend (who lives 3,000 miles away from me!) and I would meet virtually, three times a week, to share our goals, write for a few hours, and then check-in regarding how much we achieved. We also laughed and vented to each other, which was a great bonus.
What book uplifts you? When I finished Chanel Miller’s memoir Know My Name, I went straight to Goodreads and wrote: There aren’t enough stars in the sky for this book. Simply phenomenal.
In it, Miller takes stock of a harrowing incident and its long and painful aftermath. Her persistence, as a person and as an artist, is inspiring in itself; that she came out of such a difficult time to produce this eloquent, moving book will amaze, and yes, uplift you.
Connect with Kim and buy her book via her website.
Images Courtesy of Smith Publicity, Inc.