An interview with Tricia Goyer,
author of the Moms’ Night Out novelization
Q: This book is a novelization of the new movie Moms’ Night Out, starring Patricia Heaton, Sean Astin and others. We’re used to novels being turned into movies, but not so much movies being turned into novels. How does the novelization of a movie work?
A novelization means a novel inspired by the movie. I was contacted in December asking if I’d be interested in this project. I’d seen the trailer, and (as a mom of six with a hectic household) I immediately said, “Yes!” They sent me the movie, and I watched it a few times just to get an idea of the story. I loved it! It made me laugh and really spoke to my heart. Then with the screenplay in hand, I watched the movie a scene at a time. I’d catch the dialogue, and then I’d go back and bring the characters’ actions to life on the page. So, yes, I can pretty much quote the movie as it plays!
Q: How many times did you have to watch the movie in order to write the book?
I didn’t count, but I’d say I watched each scene 20-50 times, depending on how much action or dialogue there was!
Q: How involved do you get to be with the movie premiere and all the excitement of a theatrical release?
I was so honored to be able to go to Hollywood to be part of the premiere on April 29. They listed me as “Talent,” and I got to ride to the TCL Chinese Theater in a fancy car, walk the Red Carpet, watch the movie sitting next to Alex Hendrick (an awesome movie star/producer) and then have a wonderful time getting to know all the cast better at the after party. It truly was a magical night!
Q: You’re the mother of six and a best-selling author and speaker. What advice do you have for moms who are trying to juggle their work schedule and their family responsibilities?
Know how much you can say yes to. This year the only extra-curricular activity my children were a part of was Awanas. I only have one weekly commitment other than church and our small group, and that is our Teen MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers Support Group). We spend a lot of time playing with the neighbors and hanging out as a family. I’ve been at the spot where I’ve been running place to place with kids’ activities, and that’s not fun! After raising three kids, I’ve learned having dinners together and family time is a priority. I also balance my work commitments. As a writer my work is steady, and I have to make sure not to take on too many projects. It’s hard for me! Just last week I had to cut out some projects I really like just for the fact that I can’t do it all.
Q: Moms really do sacrifice so much for their families; why is it important for moms to make sure they’re finding rest and encouragement?
I love the well-known phrase, “When Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” When I am exhausted and overwhelmed, my whole family suffers. When I have time for friends and I fuel up on God, then I’m such a better mom. When I’m encouraged, then I pour encouragement out. When I’m rested, I give of myself with patience and love. It’s hard to step away, but so important too!
Q: How often do you get to have a Moms’ Night Out? Do you have a group of mommy-friends you’re able to connect with regularly?
I’m part of a small group of women at our church. They meet monthly, and I’m able to make it about every other month. I also have some girlfriends I’ll meet for lunch. Sometimes it’s hard to justify paying a babysitter to go to lunch, but I always come back refreshed. I also lead a Teen MOPS support group. The attendees and leaders range from age 17–55. We care for one another, love one another and draw support from one another. I get just as much back as I give!
Q: What’s the most comical experience you’ve had on a Moms’ Night Out?
Once a group of writer friends and I had gathered to go to a writers’ conference. We all came to town early to eat dinner at a very expensive restaurant. We dressed up and enjoyed the exquisite gardens as we walked to the front doors, only to discover it was . . . closed! We drove around for a while and finally ended up eating at a hole in the wall barbecue pit with picnic tables (inside), red-checkered, plastic table clothes and plastic forks. Not what we had in mind!
Q: Raising kids can be difficult, but there are some funny moments along the way — share one of your funniest memories involving your kids.
I have one from yesterday. We laughed so hard! Our daughter (six) was riding in the back of the car.
Her: “Mom, Dad!” she called out. “Grandma was sweeping the front porch and a black, wet cat leaped out of nowhere and jumped on her!”
Me: “Sweetie, remember we’ve been working about not lying or not telling stories.”
Her: “I saw a cat.”
It’s just a balance to be creative and to be truthful . . . we try to guide our children in both!
Q: How does your husband help out in those moments when you just have to get a break, like the moms in the film Moms’ Night Out? Are there other people in your life you can turn to?
I have the best husband ever! John and I adopted two children from the foster care system, and they came with a variety of issues. On most evenings, he’d take over the kid duty as soon as he got home from work because he knew I’d had a long day. Then on Saturdays he’d load up the three little ones into his car for an “adventure.” I’d enjoy the peace and write during this time. I also have two wonderful babysitters and some great neighbors who I can reach out to for help. Yes, I am blessed! Having a support system is SO important!
Q: This movie and the novel are both very funny and lighthearted, but the day-to-day tasks of being a mother can become overwhelming. What advice do you have for the mom who is feeling completely overcome by her responsibilities?
Remember that God is there for you. You don’t have to do it alone. One of my favorite Scripture verses is Isaiah 40:11, “He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.” God wants to be there for you to guide you and assist you. Turn to Him. Even quick prayers, blubbered by an exhausted mom, make a difference.
Q: What advice would you give to dads about ways they can help alleviate some of the pressures moms feel?
I’d say that when it comes to helping, every little thing makes a difference. When my husband loads the dishwasher I’m so grateful! Also remind them often of their importance. Moms need to hear this most of all.
Q: Where can our audience find out more about the movie and book editions of Moms’ Night Out?