Thursday, August 18, 2022

Kathleen M. Willett's "Mother of All Secrets"

Kathleen M. Willett grew up in New Jersey and London. She has a B.A. in English from Holy Cross and a M.A. in English Education from Columbia University. She taught English at the Beacon School in New York City for ten years. She lives on the Upper West Side of Manhattan with her husband, two young daughters, and a cat named Mr. Sparkles. She loves running, reading, and watching Office reruns.

Here Willett dreamcasts an adaptation of her new novel, Mother of All Secrets:
In the throes of the newborn phase, first-time mom Jenn has recently joined a new moms group in Manhattan. When one of the mothers in the group suddenly goes missing, Jenn becomes obsessed with her disappearance, eventually coming to realize that the women in the group are more deeply connected than any of them had realized. Though they don't know each other all that well, the moms quickly have to decide how much they're willing to risk to save one of their own, even if it means unearthing secrets that were supposed to stay buried forever.

What a dream come true it would be to see Mother Of All Secrets as a movie! I always pictured it as scenes while I was writing; in particular, the ending was so prevalent in my mind. I could really see them all in that apartment (no spoilers)!

For the lead, Jenn, I could picture Anne Hathaway or Anna Kendrick. They can both be sort of broody and neurotic, which I think would play well with Jenn's overthinking and anxiety about her baby. I could also see both of those actors throwing themselves wholeheartedly into a deep dive of Isabel's disappearance. Plus, Anne Hathaway actually is an Upper West Side mom!

For Jenn's husband, Tim, I pictured John Krasinski. Partly just because I really love John Krasinski, ha! But also because on the one hand, he seems like such a good guy. . . and yet, is there more to him? Tim is also frustratingly hapless when it comes to helping out with the baby. I think John Krasinski could play all of Tim's traits very well.

For Selena, I would love her to be played by Lauren E. Banks. She plays Siobhan on City On A Hill, and just like Selena, her character on that show is a poised, polished lawyer. Selena is confident and knows just who she is, and Lauren E. Banks plays that same self-possession beautifully as Siobhan.

A bookstagrammer called Katscreations614 sent me some casting choices, and I loved all of her picks-- she'd chosen Kate Bosworth for Vanessa, and I thought that was so ideal-- icy blond and simply too perfect, causing everyone else to feel inadequate. ...[read on]
Visit Kathleen M. Willett's website.

Q&A with Kathleen M. Willett.

The Page 69 Test: Mother of All Secrets.

--Marshal Zeringue