BY STEPHANIE E. PONDER
WHEN AUTHOR Kathy
Hepinstall was new to
Facebook, many of her more
popular posts were about
things her mother, Polly
Hepinstall, said. In fact, says
Kathy, “[The posts] started
getting kind of a following,
and somebody said, ‘Why
don’t you do a Polly book?’ And it just kind of
stuck in my head.”
The result is this month’s book buyer’s pick,
The Book of Polly, the story of Polly Havens,
who, in her late ;;s, gives birth to daughter
Willow. Willow is obsessed with her mother’s
mysterious past and her health. As Willow
grows, so do her fears and her attempts to get the
answers she craves.
Hepinstall is quick to point out that the book
is not a memoir, but rather a work of fiction with
a main character who is infused with the person-
ality of her mother, Polly. The real and fictional
Pollys do share some traits. They can both flip
the bird with their middle toes and both hate
squirrels—and other garden-ruining critters.
They also both have a sharp and cutting wit. Of
her mother, Hepinstall says, “She was not par-
ticularly funny when we were growing up, and I
feel like she became more of herself as she aged.
Her wit is so quick.”
Hepinstall shares an anecdote as an exam-
ple. When someone asked the real Polly if her
ex-husband was dead, Polly replied, “Do you
mean dead to me or dead completely?”
Says Hepinstall, “You can’t write that kind of
stuff. She says mean things to me, which I think
are really funny. There’s a passage in the book
where Polly says, ‘Your heart is good, but your
mind is evil.’ That’s a quote from [my mom].”
(For more “unauthorized” quotes from the real
Polly, visit Hepinstall’s admittedly neglected
blog at kathyhepinstall.wordpress.com/unau
If there’s some of the real Polly in The Book of
Polly’s main character, one has to wonder if
Hepinstall turned inward for the character of
Willo w. She agrees that Willo w shares some sim-ilarities with the author and her younger sister,
Becky. “I do have an irrational fear that my mom
will die, but then again, that’s not really an irrational fear; she’s ;;,” Hepinstall says.
She adds that the two have a linked checking
account and occasionally the younger Hepinstall
will make a deposit and put “not dying” in the
memo. “I’m basically bribing her not to die, and
I tell detractors that it’s worked so far,” she says.
After earning a master’s degree in composition and literature from the University of Texas,
Hepinstall moved to California and started a
career in advertising. She’d taken an advertising
sequence and loved the field.
“I just love the creativity and the community
of advertising. So I’ve supplemented my income
heavily from advertising over the years, and it
really taught me to be a much faster literary
writer,” says Hepinstall. She now works as a freelance advertising writer three or four days a
week to give herself time to work on novels.
Before writing The Book of Polly, Hepinstall
(who writes adult fiction under her maiden name
and young adult fiction under her married name,
Kathy Parks) had written several historical novels. “They were rather serious books with a high
body count, and I never felt entirely comfortable
in that genre,” she explains from her home in
Colorado, adding that The Book of Polly is truer to
her sense of self as a writer.
“I feel like I am most at home writing a book
like The Book of Polly because I understand and
lived with [the story],” she says. “Those characters are from my world.” C
THANK GOODNESS for Polly
Havens! Rather, thank good-
ness for author Kathy
Hepinstall, who brings the
woman to life in this month’s
book pick, The Book of Polly.
Polly is more than a little
cantankerous, and it’s no sur-
prise, as a late-in-life preg-
nancy left her rearing Willow,
her precocious daughter.
Willow keeps Polly on her toes
as she obsesses about the
future of her mother’s health
and her enigmatic past.
I dare any reader to not be
charmed by Polly. I cannot
remember the last time a
character so made me want to
summon her into existence.
The Book of Polly (Item
#1226122; 2/27) is available in
most Costco warehouses.
For more book picks,
see page 99.
—Pennie Clark Ianniciello,
Author finds inspiration in her feisty mom
Costco has 50 signed copies of Kathy Hepin-
stall’s The Book of Polly to give away. To enter,
go to costcoconnectionbookgiveaway.com.
NO PURCHASE, PAYMENT OR OPT-IN OF ANY KIND IS
NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN THIS SWEEPS TAKES.
Purchase will not improve odds of winning. Sweepstakes
is sponsored by Costco Wholesale, 1045 Lake Drive,
Issaquah, WA 98027. Open to legal residents of the U. S.
(except Puerto Rico) who are age 18 or older at the time of
entry. One entry per household. Entries must be received
before the April issue is available online, which will happen
around March 26, 2018. Winners will be randomly selected
and noti;ed by mail on or before May 1, 2018. The value
of the prize is $16. Void where prohibited. Winners are
responsible for all applicable federal, state and local taxes.
Odds of winning depend on the number of eligible entries
received. Employees of Costco or Penguin Random House
and their families are not eligible.
SIGNED BOOK GIVEAWAY