Holly Wainwright

 

If you haven’t been living in a cave, you’d know that a “mummy blogger” is a mother who talks online about parenthood, her sprogs, and all things snotty and related. If she does it well, she makes a fortune.

Author Holly Wainwright knows this peculiar world intimately.

A UK-born, Sydney-based journalist, she’s head of entertainment at Mamamia, hosts a parenting podcast and has two small kids. She’s also very funny.

Somehow, she’s found time to pen chortle-out-loud novel, The Mummy Bloggers, about three rivals in cyberspace, and the lengths they’ll stoop to win new followers.

She chats to The Starfish:

mmm

What prompted the book?

mmm
I work in digital media, so I am no stranger to blogging and what we now call ‘influencer’ culture. Last year a co-hort of “Mummy Bloggers” were breaking out of mums’ groups and becoming bona-fide celebrities, covered by the mainstream press. That really sparked my imagination of how an “ordinary” person can become a celebrity just by sharing their real life.
mmm
The cover says: ‘Three Women. Three Blogs. So Many Lies.’ Can you elaborate?
mmm
The plot follows three different bloggers. Elle is an aspirational, ‘perfect’ Pinterest mum, with a dream home and abs to die for. Abi is a “hippie” who’s moved to the country, quit sugar and is home-schooling her teens. Leisel is an exhausted working mum who never really feels like she’s pleasing anyone. Their lives are all somehow connected, and they get nominated for a big Blogging award. In the competition to try to win the cash prize, they all have to up the ante, and the lies they tell to stay in the limelight get bigger, and bigger…
mmm
How far did you have to go to find inspiration for your characters and their blogs?
mmm
As far as my phone’s Facebook feed. The characters in the book are fictional, but they were inspired by the often-tribal mums’ groups I have frequented over the years. I think social media is our new back fence, and we all go there to share stories, find solace and feel reassured that we’re ‘doing it right’. It’s a place of great connection, and sometimes of pretty brutal judgement!
mmm
mmm

Holly with her kids Matilda and Billy

 mmm
Is the competition between bloggers really as cuthroat as depicted in your book?
mmm
In a word, no. Most bloggers are very collegiate. They have a common cause and passion. But what can sometimes happen is that their followers get very protective. There’s a point in The Mummy Bloggers when Elle’s followers ‘attack’ Abi’s, and vice-versa, and that’s certainly something that can happen in ‘real’ life.
mmm
What do you think readers will learn about the world of blogdom after reading this?
mmm
Well, it’s fiction, not a text-book, but I hope they learn that not everything you see on Instagram is real-life. We all use social media as a highly-selective, highly-curated representation of our lives, and we all do well to remember that really, none of us are as perfect or as funny or interesting or rich or beautiful as our digital avatars.
mmm
Tell us about your own life and job. What’s a typical day?
mmm 
I’m Head Of Content at Mamamia, and my work life runs at a crazy pace. Most days I’m at my desk about 8.15, and before then I will have made school lunches, half-dressed my children, broken up a few fights… At the office I work with a large group of mostly young women and we start every day by pitching stories about what’s exciting us right now. Then the day could involve recording a podcast or two, meeting with the video team about their latest seres, writing a column, gathering the editors together for brainstorms, and lots and lots of meetings. I usually make it home by 6.30 and back into family mode. My partner Brent works part-time and he carries the load of  a lot of the grunt work of child-rearing. I definitely couldn’t do my job without him. Life’s busy but I love it like that.
mmm
mmm

Holly with children’s presenter Jay Lagaiia

 mmm
m
And how the hell did you find time to write this book?
mmm
I took six weeks off work. That’s the truth of it. I had done bits and bobs of it before and I did plenty of editing afterwards, but the main body of the book was written in that break. I just treated it like a job and wrote solidly every day. It was heaven!
mmm
 What are some of your favourite blogs and why?
mmm
 I am a curious creature (which explains a lot about my career choices) and you will never hear me say that I think someone is oversharing, because the detail of other people’s lives fascinate me. When I was writing The Mummy Bloggers, I followed a lot of American mum blogs and one of my hands down favourite is The Freckled Fox. She’s this 27-year-one woman with five tiny children who lost her husband to cancer and then remarried. The blog’s insanely well-designed and the whole family is photogenic to the extreme. I became borderline obsessed.
mmm
mm
mmm
mmm
Do you spend more time reading books or blogs these days?
mmm
I spend way more time online that reading books these days and it makes me sad. I have always been a massive reader, but my phone is stiff competition, as for all of us. I am about to go on holiday for a week and I have a small mountain of books to dive into. Optimistic!
mmm
Who will love The Mummy Bloggers?(#Don’tbemodest!)
mmm
Well of course, everyone will love The Mummy Bloggers! I hope the book is a smart and funny look at the insane pressures of social media. You definitely do not have to be a “mummy” to enjoy it. It probably helps if you have a phone and are vaguely familiar with Instagram. As long as those things are in place, hopefully it’s going to make you laugh and be a pleasing distraction from the worrying world!
mmm
mmm

Comments

comments

Enjoyed what you read?

 Of course you did. Subscribe (it's free!) and we will send you our weekly issue of The Starfish.

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This

Share This

Share this post with your friends!

The Starfish straight to your inbox!

Sign up and receive the latest edition of The Starfish in your email in-box each week!

You have Successfully Subscribed!