The Press interviewed local author Kathryn Sanoden Pearson about her new novel, “Trailer Baby.” More details about the author and her book can be found on her website, kathrynsanodenpearson.com.
Q. Tell us a little about yourself.
A. My husband and I live in Vadnais Heights. We moved here from Isanti County, where we raised our three sons. We’re city people, so are thankful we could move back to the metro and be closer to our eight grandkids.
Q. Is “Trailer Baby” the first book you’ve written?
A. It’s my first novel. I wrote a couple of books that are used in schools to help children and teens manage their emotions. They teach children through stories how to identify and do something about bad feelings. I guess that was practice for writing my novel, but writing the novel was much harder.
Q. What was the inspiration to write?
A. During my years as a psychologist working with families, I learned that everyone has an important story to tell. If you listen carefully enough, their story explains why people do what they do. And I learned that even in the most dire circumstances, there is always hope for change. I guess I wouldn’t have worked in mental health for so long if I didn’t believe that. So, I wanted to write a story that didn’t shy away from the truth but also gives hope that people can change from old and harmful behaviors and find peace.
Q. Provide an overview of the main characters and plot.
A. Dr. Cary Taylor, a married psychologist in her 40s, is burned out with her job. Making things worse for her, she can’t seem to get any respect at home, particularly from her 15-year-old daughter Cessna. Cary’s newest client, Lily Ganser, is a welfare mom from a trailer park. Cary isn’t as prejudiced toward folks from the trailer park as her husband Ben is, but she doesn’t totally disagree with him, either. Then the bombshell drops when Cary learns that Cessna is pregnant, and the father is Jeremy, Lily Ganser’s son. The story is told from two points of view: Cary’s and Lily’s, and how everyone affected negotiates the changes in their lives.
Q. Are any of your life experiences reflected in the story or characters?
A. My work as a therapist allowed me to know many, many stories. So, these stories play a backdrop to the story of Cary and Lily but the families are entirely fictional. And I’m a mom, and I know all too well of the sometimes contentious relationships we have with our teens that are part of growing, maturing and being family together.
Q. What do you hope readers will gain from the story?
A. We can accept people different from us if we listen hard enough to understand their life stories and that every one of us deserves grace.
Q. Where can Press readers find the book?
A. “Trailer Baby” is on sale at Lake County Booksellers here in White Bear Lake. It is also available at Amazon, Apple Books, Barnes and Noble.com, Bookshop, Kobo and as an audiobook. I was pleasantly surprised that “Trailer Baby” was nominated for the 2021 Pushcart Prize for fiction.
Q. Who are your favorite authors?
A. I’ve been a longtime fan of Alexander McCall Smith, and recently have been reading Kate Quinn books. I like Jodi Picoult and Krista Tippett.
Q. Do you have any plans for future works?
A. I have a children’s book in the works, and some ideas swirling around in my head about another novel. I love connecting with readers and have enjoyed being a resource for book club discussions.