Genie Toledo is a spitfire who too young married the wrong guy, had a daughter, quickly divorced, and now, in her forties, has filled the emotional gap by throwing herself into her work and holding friends and family at arm's length-even her college-age daughter. The only person to penetrate her thick shell is Mick Crabbe, with whom she's had a decade-long affair. He's a charming guy - famous even, a well-known college basketball coach - but the fact that they live in different states and see each other only once a week, and that Mick is committed not only to his wife and kids, but also to his basketball team and all those fans, suits Genie just fine. She can take care of herself. She doesn't need him.
That is, until Mick becomes fatally ill and the nature of their relationship is forced to change. Genie sets her heart free for the first time and is ultimately altered by the experience. As she becomes intimately involved in Mick's care, and makes herself known to his family, Genie finally understands the importance of making connections with others, and earns, even from the outside world, the extremely moving validation of her significance in Mick's life.
Narrated with the warmth, humor, and compassion that readers have come to expect from Martha Moody, Sometimes Mine is an emotionally engaging story of learning to appreciate the value of the people in your life, and the realization that sometimes the most meaningful relationships are those that go unrecognized.
CommitmentNow.com: In Sometimes Mine, Genie Toledo, a successful cardiologist, has a twelve year-long affair with a married man, college basketball coach Mick Crabbe. Your novel faces this head-on; you don’t reproach Genie for this relationship, yet you show that certain characters in the book do. Was it difficult to write about an adulterous affair in such an open way?
Martha Moody: This was a challenge. In my novel Best Friends, the main character Claire gets divorced and then has an affair with her ex-husband after he remarries. I speak to a lot of book groups and I found that many women in these groups were upset by the affair. I began to think it would be interesting to write a book from a mistress’s point of view.
I am a doctor and when I was practicing medicine I came across several patients who were in this position. For example, a patient who was having surgery wanted someone to contact his mistress after the operation to let her know he was o.k. These relationships may not be right, but they’re there. Genie and Mick’s relationship was not traditional, but it had value.
CommitmentNow.com: You are a medical doctor and a novelist! Sometimes Mine, like your previous novel, The Office of Desire, features doctors, and contains details about medicine and medical procedures. How does your own medical background influence your fiction?
Martha: I wanted to write before I went into medicine – but I wanted another career in addition to writing. I love medicine even more than I thought I would. It allows me to see patients – and to learn.
CommitmentNow.com: By the time you published your first novel, you were a practicing physician with a family of your own. What inspired you to start writing?
Martha: I’ve been writing since I was a kid. I was in the poetry department in college. I traveled to South America with a professor to interview a South American poet – and it was there that I first thought about becoming a nurse, and then a doctor.
I published my first book in 2001 when I had already been practicing medicine for 15 years. I was a closeted writer!
CommitmentNow.com: In Sometimes Mine, Genie has her life carefully controlled and compartmentalized. And then things start to spin out of control; Mick becomes gravely ill. One of her medical partners mistreats a patient with horrible results. Her daughter gets involved with a man whom Genie does not like. Do you think this issue of control is one that many women face today?
Martha: This is a huge issue. I teach fiction writing and sometimes I use a character sheet where we list a character’s greatest fear, what would stress the character the most, etc. I did it for Genie – she loves Mick who is married, Mick is sick, she feels like she failed as a mother, she wonders if there’s a place for her in the world ….. Genie, like so many women today, is trying to balance –and control- all the areas of her life.
CommitmentNow.com: You are a doctor, a novelist, a wife and a mother of four. How do you balance everything?
Martha: I now volunteer as director of a medical clinic. When my first novel was published, I was working part time, and I was on call a lot and not seeing enough of my children. It took me six years to complete the book – I wrote it one paragraph at a time! After it was published, I thought maybe I would quit my job. I thought, I can do two things, but not three. I was practicing medicine, parenting, and waking up at 5:00 a.m. to write. A year later I was diagnosed with coronary disease so I couldn’t go back to work. Now, I balance writing, parenting and volunteering. I like being busy with things I enjoy.
Martha Moody was born and raised in Ohio. She graduated from Oberlin College and received her MD from the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, where she also completed her residency training in internal medicine. She has been married since 1985 to Dr. Martin Jacobs; they have four teenage sons and live in Dayton, Ohio. Moody was a private practice internist for 15 years. Currently she is retired from private practice and volunteers as medical director at a clinic for the working poor.
Visit Martha at www.marthamoody.net.
To purchase a copy of Sometimes Mine, click here.