We had the good fortune of connecting with Brandy Ferner and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Brandy, as a parent, what do you feel is the most meaningful thing you’ve done for them?
This is a big question and the answer is yet to be revealed by my children as they grow older and someday sit on a therapist’s couch! I don’t think my answer and their answer to this question will necessarily be the same, but one of the things I’ve done that feels important is expanding the idea of what a mother is for them – humanizing myself as a person with needs, hopes, and dreams separate from just taking care of others. This shows up in lots of different ways, but one specific way is me continuing with my interests, career, and creative pursuits while being a mom. When you become a mother, it’s easy to find yourself erased – your entire purpose in life silently switching to care-taking your family. It sneaks up on even the most feminist and independent among us. It’s been a challenge to find the time and space to do so, but I have shown my kids that I am more than their mom. I am also a woman. An author. A creator. An idea person. An activist. A communicator. I love being a mom, but my identity does not start and stop with that one role. I want my daughter to know that she doesn’t have to hand over who she is and what she enjoys in order to have kids someday. And I want my son to not expect his future wife to do so either. It’s hazy, but somehow I managed to write a darkly comedic novel about the relentlessness of motherhood while raising two small children. In hindsight, a masochistic choice. The road to getting published took years, but my kids saw me walk that path every single time I sat down to write, got yet another rejection, landed an agent, fired an agent, or wrote another draft of the manuscript. And the look on my kids’ faces when they finally held my finished book in their hands – and then saw it on a shelf at the bookstore, right above “The Great Gatsby” – was priceless. “Mom, you wrote this??” Yes, they watched me constantly stumble and get back up to achieve this huge goal, but they also witnessed me putting my energy into something that fulfilled me and only me, completely outside of care-taking or domestic duty, which feels just as important.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
One of the things I am most proud of with my writing, podcasting, and social media platforms is that I have stayed 100% true to myself. I love dark comedy, sarcasm, and sometimes inappropriate humor, but I also have this really tender heart that wants to help everyone. My readers and listeners get all of this from me, along with transparency. Even though I have a large-ish social media and podcast following and am frequently contacted by affiliate marketers, I just cannot turn on my followers and peddle needless products to them to earn a buck. I can’t betray them like that. I value the community we’ve built together and I think that’s hard to find these days.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I’m going to pretend we’re not in a pandemic to answer this, but first I would take them to my favorite restaurant ever, California Shabu Shabu in Costa Mesa. My mouth is watering just typing this. IT’S BEEN TOO LONG! I’m low-key and do not like going all day long, so there would be at least one nap. At some point, I would head to the walkway and beach in front of the Montage in Laguna Beach. That’s one of my favorite spots to go with a friend for a gorgeous backdrop for our conversation. Maybe we would venture over to the beach with the picturesque tower at Victoria Street and try not to get washed away by the high tide. Honestly, we would end the night by walking around Target without children, grabbing some Baja Fish Tacos to go, and that would be a stellar day. There is no way I could plan out an entire week. I’m already tired from merely thinking about ONE DAY.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My dear friend, Kathie Neff, deserves recognition for her support, loyalty, and mentorship to me as both a mother and a writer. Not only did Kathie read every single draft of my novel, giving inspired notes and catching typos no one else found, but she, a mother of seven, has been like my personal motherhood doula. Kathie unknowingly drops the biggest nuggets of wisdom, and I am so grateful I get to catch them.