Aussie Author Guest Post: Motherhood in Fiction by Juliet Madison

Today on the blog, debut author with Escape Publishing Juliet Madison joins us to talk about mothers, children and families in fiction. As part of Juliet’s blog tour, you can win a $50 gift card by leaving a comment here or on any other blogs participating in her tour (see below for details).

juliet Juliet Madison is a naturopath-turned-author with a background in dance, art, internet marketing and perfume sales (yes, she was one of those annoying people in department stores who spray you with perfume). Nowadays she prefers to indulge her propensity for multiple careers by living vicariously through her characters. She likes to put these characters into extraordinary situations and take them on a challenging journey to discover their true passion and inner strength, weaving in some laughs, tears, romance and sometimes a touch of magic along the way.

Living near the beach on the beautiful south coast of New South Wales, Australia, Juliet spends her days homeschooling her son and running her internet business and her nights writing fiction while doing her best to avoid housework. Her debut novel, FAST FORWARD is published by Harlequin Australia’s Escape Publishing.

Connect with Juliet online via her website, blog, Facebook or Twitter.


As a mother myself, I enjoy reading books with characters who are mothers. However, it seems a lot of popular books have single, childless women. Maybe this is because it allows the focus to be on the woman’s journey, and if a romance, her relationship or impending relationship with the hero of the story. Kids can provide a great source of conflict and emotional challenges for characters, but they can also get in the way! I still enjoy books without parents, but I relate better to the challenges faced by characters with parental responsibilities.

I always find it interesting to see how motherhood is portrayed in books. The theme of the struggling single mother seems to be a common one in some romances, and the divorced mother sharing custody of her children with the ex-husband. For some reason, or maybe it’s just the books I’ve happened to read, but many children in books seem to be around the age of five to seven years old. Maybe it’s the whole cute-kid appeal; the fact that they’re still young enough to be adorable but old enough to talk and create havoc. They also tend to go to bed earlier, leaving time for the main characters to interact!

Despite being fiction, I think books with an authentic portrayal of motherhood in all its diversity have the potential to be of benefit in the lives of mothers. Many writers draw on their own experiences, and the nature of a story – the goal, conflict, and resolution – can provide inspiration to readers on getting through challenges involving motherhood. True-to-life portrayals can help mothers feel less alone, more understood, and even celebrated. Positive stories can also be a motivating factor for mothers to create some kind of positive change in their lives. Motherhood is a bond that many women share, and something that is hard to understand unless you’ve been through it, so fiction can be one of those bridges that connect mothers to each other.

Not every story I write has a mother character, but I really enjoy writing them. I love using my own experiences as fodder for scenes and plot twists. I also love hearing about other mother’s experiences so I can use them as inspiration for my character’s experiences, and I love showing how a character’s life has or will change as a result of motherhood. In my newly released book, FAST FORWARD, I took it to the extreme and created a character who didn’t think she wanted children, and then launched her into the future where she suddenly found herself the mother of two grown children! There are many movies that show people becoming parents and dealing with the dramas of a newborn baby – sleep deprivation, crying, feeding, changing…etc, but what about the challenges of grown children? Sure, they are independent, but having grown children can create a whole new set of issues for parents.

In other stories I’ve written, I’ve created a mother character that had three children in her early twenties and feels she missed out on some things in life and on discovering her own identity. Her struggles are about trying to find that balance between being a good mother and having time for herself to follow her own dreams. Another mother character I created had a baby at age sixteen and gave her up for adoption. When the daughter reappears as a teenager, the mother suddenly has to deal with guilt, feelings of inadequacy, and hope that she can still be someone her daughter will look up to. There are endless contexts to which motherhood can be explored in fiction, and I love discovering new and well-done stories that show realistic portrayals of mothers, whatever their age or background.

What about you… Do you like reading stories with mothers in them? Are there themes or scenarios you’ve seen too much of in fiction? Do you enjoy writing them as characters? What do you think are the pros and cons of having mothers (and fathers) and children in contemporary fiction? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Leave a comment and go in the draw for a $50 Amazon gift card or the runner up prize of a $25 gift card. Comment on other blogs during Juliet’s February blog tour for more entries into the draw! Winners drawn 1st March.

>>Bonus Giveaway: To go in the draw for a bonus $25 Amazon gift card, forward your purchase receipt to fastforwardbook (at) gmail (dot) com – replace (at) with @ and (dot) with .


Aspiring supermodel, Kelli Crawford seems destined to marry her hotshot boyfriend, but on her twenty-fifth birthday she wakes in the future as a fifty-year-old suburban housewife married to the now middle-aged high school nerd.

Trapped in the opposite life of the one she wanted, Kelli is forced to re-evaluate her life and discover what is really important to her. Will she overcome the hilarious and heartbreaking challenges presented to her and get back to the body of her younger self? Or will she be stuck in the nightmare of hot flushes, demanding children, raunchy advances from her husband and hideous support underwear forever?


  • Karen rose smith also writes wonderful family based stories – maybe not on mothers only but her stories are always very heartfelt and very real. Personally I enjoy a story that you can relate to while reading at times, and some of your stories you mentioned I can certainly relate to. I have to giggle a little at your blurb for your book above !

    It sounds all so surreal !

    Good luck with the new release ..

    katrina 😉

  • Hi Juliet! I have FF on my iPad just waiting for the crazy to settle so I can read it!
    I’ve written many stories with the heroine being a mother but its never something I go into that consciously. The character comes to me and sometimes she comes to me with children and sometimes she doesn’t. And that’s the story I write.
    But kids sure can add to the conflict and the awww factor.
    I take my hat off to you for home schooling. Both my kids would have been dead a long time ago had I home schooled them….. :-/

  • I definitely love reading book s with mothers in them. I have a great relationship with my mother and I love reading about strong women.

    justjanhvi at gmail dot com

  • I love the sound of Fast Forward. It sounds like a mix between Me Myself and I, and Suddenly Thirty.

    Personally I love some books with mothers in them and can’t stand others. It depends on how authentic I find the mother with regards to her thoughts and interactions with her kids.

    • Thanks Kate, I’d forgotten about that movie, Me, Myself & I – I enjoyed it!
      I’m the same. If I read something that doesn’t ring true for me it can be a turn off.

  • I love writing about moms. There is an incredible amount of heartache and humor inherent in being a mom. Excited to read your book! Alli Sinclair gave me your info.

  • One theme I have seen a lot of, & this seems to apply mostly to YA, the absent, dysfunctional or deceased parent/s. This is NOT most people’s experience.

    I enjoy reading books where the Mother is a strong figure who would lay down her life for her loved ones.

    • Yeah that does seem to happen a lot. I guess it’s a way of making readers more sympathetic to the YA characters. But I agree, it’s great to read about strong mother characters. Thanks for stopping by 🙂

  • I enjoy reading books about mothers, it helps me relate to the characters even if they are completely different. Before I had my son I would say I still enjoyed them since I could relate thru experiences with my own mother.

  • Sounds really intriguing! There’s such a spectrum of experience in motherhood, so it’s good to see new takes on it.

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