Friday, October 19, 2012

Mother of Pearl by Kellie Coated Gilbert (Review & Interview)

Barrie Graeber has two great kids, a loving husband, and a respected job as the high school counselor in her close-knit community. Without warning, everything unravels when her teenage daughter, Pearl, is betrayed by friends and lashes out.

Nothing prepares this mother for the helplessness that follows when her attempts to steer her daughter back on course fail and Pearl shuts her out...or when she discovers the unthinkable about her nemesis, the football coach.

Emotionally riveting and profoundly moving, Mother of Pearl brings us into the heart of a mother bound by an incredible burden, who ultimately finds she must recognize her own vulnerability and learn to trust in something much bigger.


Mother of Pearl is a great story and it's hard to believe this is the author's debut novel - it is very well written. I was immediately drawn into the story and was able to read it in one sitting. However, a couple of things in the book First, the way Barrie's husband wouldn't listen to anything she had to say about a certain thing she believed happened to her daughter and would get angry at her for even trying to figure it out. Second, when Barrie sees someone she believes is in trouble and wants to help them, again her husband is adamant that she leave it alone and that she didn't see what she knows she saw. I just found this behavior to be strange. I could see him at first wanting to deny the things happened, but to be that insistent that it didn't and that she was completely wrong seemed weird to me. Later on in the story, during a trial, there were several times the defendants were referred to as the plaintiffs - which was kind of confusing to say the least. It is probably because of these things that I felt I couldn't give it a five star rating.

I loved Barrie's passion, devotion to her family, especially concerning her daughter, and the fact that she didn't let anybody's doubts and, at times, anger stop her from uncovering the truth about what happened.

Mother of Pearl was an enjoyable read and it is one I would recommend. I am looking forward to future books by this author.

***I received a complimentary copy of this book to review. I was asked to give my honest opinion of the book - which I have done.***

If you found this review helpful, will you please click yes HERE. Thanks!

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Abingdon Press (September 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1426733437
  • ISBN-13: 978-1426733437
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.5 x 0.8 inches
  • Available to purchase at: Amazon/ Barnes & Noble/ Christian Book/ Abingdon Press


Kellie, welcome to Hardcover Feedback! Would you tell us a little about yourself?
I’m a former legal investigator and trial paralegal who worked on many high profile cases, including the Jack-in-the-Box e-coli litigation in the mid-nineties and the largest cattle fraud case in the United States. People are often at their most vulnerable in these tense situations where much is at stake, giving me a unique perspective on the human psyche. Early in my legal career, I recognized there could be value in telling stories about people facing life-changing circumstances.

Currently, I live in Dallas with my husband and an adorable two and a half pound yorkie named Emmie Sweetpea. She keeps my lap warm while I’m writing.

What is a typical day like for you?
I often wake early and spend the first twenty minutes of my day talking with my husband before he leaves for work. Then, I spend some time reading the Bible before heading out for my morning swim. This is where I think through the upcoming scenes and plot points in my current manuscript.

After breakfast, I head directly into my office. My first attention is directed to Facebook and Twitter, connecting with readers and publishing folks. I try to start my actual writing no later than ten in the morning.

I enjoy a quiet, organized place to write with lots of light streaming through the windows. Often I have Pachelbel’s Canon playing and a steaming cup of tea on a coaster next to my Mac computer.

When did you begin writing Mother of Pearl? What inspired it and how much research was involved in writing it?
I write poignant and emotionally compelling stories about women. My stories are about messy lives and eternal hope.

I knew my first novel would focus on mothering and the perils women face in this role, especially during the teen years. I didn’t even know how many things there were to be afraid of until I had my first child. From the moment the nurse placed that tiny infant in my arms, a fierce need to protect bubbled from the deepest part of me.

As a novelist, I asked the question: What would a mother do if suddenly life took a turn and she learned the child she thought she’d protected had fallen into the hands of someone unsafe? And what if she found out too late?

Early, when the inception of this story was still noodling in my brain, I saw a sadly recurring event on the news, the story of a coach who had inappropriately been involved with a teenager. While the cameras honed on the major players, I couldn’t help but wonder if the girl’s mother was standing just out of view.
What was she feeling?

What or who made the biggest influence on you wanting to become a writer?
Like many authors, I am an avid reader. Strangely, I never considered a career as a novelist. Instead, I pursued a sensible legal career with predictable income (especially while my boys were in college). But in 2004, I attended my first writing conference and left with an overwhelming feeling that I was always meant to write novels. The experience is hard to describe, but I knew in the deepest part of me I would publish a novel.

So, I lifted an outrageous prayer and asked for the impossible.

What was the first book you ever wrote about and was it ever published?
My agent urged me to write romance to break into publishing. I did, and the novel sold. But that story was not one that burned in my heart as I wrote. When the publishing house switched directions and pulled back even before we got the contract to sign, the situation was an easy one to let go of.

I am meant to write stories for women that focus on relationships, and the deep places in life. People have many layers, and never more than in family dynamics and hard times. I’m intrigued with the coping mechanisms we employ to fill our empty places. These are the stories of my heart, the ones I was always meant to bring to readers.

Do you have any writing habits that people might find unusual?
When I get stumped, I head out to the pool. Something about floating on my back with my eyes directed to a vast blue sky helps story elements emerge.

Do you have a favorite character or one that is especially close to your heart?
I’ve heard it said that a first time novelist always falls in love with her protagonist. I’m not sure this is true, but I love Barrie Graeber. I admire her courage and drive to make things right, despite incredible opposition.

Do you have a favorite quote? If so, what is it and why is it your favorite?
St. Augustine tells my own story with this quote:

“In my deepest wound, I saw your glory and it dazzled me.”

I try to paint that sentiment on every page, but in a subtle manner. I want my books to appeal to all kinds of readers – those who sit on church pews and barstools alike.

Do you have a favorite Bible verse? If so, what is it and why is it your favorite?
I don’t have one favorite, but many. That said, I adore Isaiah 40: 11

“Like a shepherd He will tend His flock,
In His arm He will gather the lambs.”

This verse has special meaning to a gal like me who grew up on a sheep ranch.

What is the best gift you have ever received, do you still have it and who gave it to you?
My husband once gave me an elk tooth ring. You’d just have to know my man to understand that one.

What is something that you have always wanted to do, but just haven't gotten around to it yet?
Lose enough weight to wear size six jeans again. (more smiles)

If you were stranded on a deserted island, other than basic necessities, what three items would you hope to find in your suitcase to help make your time there more bearable?
These are great questions! A down pillow and two really thick novels.

What are you currently reading?
Man in the Blue Moon by Michael Morris, Tyndale Publishers

What is your all-time favorite book?
Choosing a favorite book (besides the Bible) is as impossible as choosing a favorite child. If forced to name just one, probably SAME SWEET GIRLS by CASSANDRA KING.

Who is your favorite author?
Ugh…same answer. I love Cassandra King and would run to buy anything she ever releases. Cassandra is Pat Conroy’s wife and his style shows up in her stunning stories about women.

If a TV show was based on your life, what type of TV show would it be (i.e., comedy, drama, suspense, etc.) who would you choose to play the leading character (you), and what would the theme song be? Why?
Goodness sakes, these questions make me dredge deep for answers!

I’d be a drama with Meryl Streep playing the lead (if she would go with television) and the theme song would likely be the old hymn “IT IS WELL WITH MY SOUL” (That, or maybe WILD THING by the
1960’s English band called the Troggs).

There you have it. You’ve pulled my deepest secret into the open…..I’m a wild girl, saved by grace, who still tends to live on the edge.

What do you like to do in your spare time?
I read. I golf. I cook (recipes from those fancy magazines with ingredients difficult to pronounce). But by far, my favorite pastime is playing with my nearly two-year-old grandson. He’s a delight. The little guy can’t yet say GRAMMIE so he just calls me “guh.”

Are you an early bird or a night owl?
Both, depending on the day.

What is your favorite TV show and/or movie?
I don’t watch a lot of television or movies, but I really enjoy Parenthood on television. The family dynamics are intriguing. Recently, I slipped out and saw the new Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones movie about a mid-life couple struggling to renew their love. The film was called HOPE SPRINGS and I loved it!

If you could spend the day with anyone (living or dead, real or fictional - excluding Jesus, family, and friends), who would you choose and how would you spend the day?
Oh fun! If I can choose someone imaginary, I’d sit down with my protagonist, Barrie Graeber, and ask her if I told her story well.

If you had the opportunity to go anywhere you wanted, at anytime in history, where would you go and why?
I’d definitely go back to the day before my Dad died. I’d sit with him, reminisce our stories and make sure I told him AGAIN how much I loved him.

Or, maybe I’d go back and tell my Gram I published a novel. That would tickle her so. She used to read to me for hours, holding the books with arthritic hands and telling me I could be anything I wanted.

What are you currently working on?
A story about three sisters who are looking for love in all the wrong places. Why is it women so often try to fill their broken places with men?

Where can people connect with you online?
on Facebook and on Twitter (links on the website)

Thank you so much Kellie for being on Hardcover Feedback!
Thank YOU! These questions were way outside what I’ve been asked in earlier interviews. Very fun!

Check out the other stops in this tour HERE.

1 comment:

  1. This is a FANTASTIC and Unique cover.... I can not wait to read this book- Thanks for the giveaway :)