Marietta native pens humorous memoir

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Divorce, getting fired and faux pas with “stepmommying” are just a few of the issues Marietta native Amy Lyle tackles in her humorous memoir.

Lyle, now living in the Atlanta area, is a graduate of Marietta High School and The Ohio State University. Although she is a professional playwright, “The Amy Binegar-Kimmes-Lyle Book of Failures” is her first book. It’s available at Amazon.com.

Question: Can you tell me a little about the book?

Answer: It’s a collection of 45 years of my own personal fiascoes. The motto is ‘I am not a failure, I’m just having a little bit of trouble right now.’ The whole feel of it is that in a Facebook world where everyone seems so perfect, something in our lives is always going haywire, especially if you have a family.

The message is to lean on people. When you tell someone ‘Hey, I did that, too’ or ‘I’ve been there’ it’s like a weight is lifted from them. It’s about living an authentic life with kind of a ‘Bad Moms’ type of humor.

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Q: Was it hard to open up and reveal some personal things in the book?

A: The wonderful thing about the book is how people have reached out to me through the website and Facebook. I’ve gotten some beautiful, really touching emails from people going through divorce or someone saying ‘I’m a stepmom, too. It’s really hard.’ It’s very real.

I had two women, one a humorist/essayist and another who has written four novels, reach out to me and we got together at a Barnes & Noble. We hit it off and as a joke did this video about how we couldn’t find our books there since our books are sold on Amazon and we’re self-published. We said if you want to join our club, you can. There was no club but 55 people reached out to me, all women…bloggers, romance novelists, all genres. I thought it was amazing that in my small community there were so many women so supportive of each other and with so much talent.

Q: This is your first book. How did you decide you wanted to write it?

A: I’m a playwright by profession. I write funny children’s plays for a nonprofit. I wrote a screenplay called ‘Fake Mom’ and was trying to sell it. I was talking to an attorney in L.A. and he said I was a nobody and knew no one…and that I would have to write a book. I asked what I should write about and he said ‘Write what you know’ and hung up. It was very L.A.

Q: Did you feel like you needed to hold anything back in the book or did you just put it all out there?

A: Well, the book started out at 50,000 words and ended up 41,000 so my copy editor did cut a lot that didn’t fit. One thing she wanted to cut was about my sister. I lost my older sister and niece in a car accident a few years ago. The editor said it was supposed to be a funny book and it didn’t fit even though I told her it had a funny ending. She let me keep it in, though, which was important. It’s about my sister always having faith and seeing the funny side of things. The book is really a tribute to her.

Q: I know Marietta is mentioned in the book. How much of it takes place here?

A: The opening chapter, ‘I’m a River Rat.’ There’s also a part in the book where I’m kicked off the Marietta swim team. Some senior girls smuggled in some alcohol…it’s a long story. But I talk about how I grew up in a small town that’s very beautiful. My dad, John Binegar, still lives there and I have three aunts there. I come home for Christmas and sometimes for the sternwheel festival.

Q: Are your husband and children in the book? How did they feel about that?

A: We’re a blended family. I live with my second husband, Peter, four teenagers and one large dog. They are in the book and they’re completely humiliated. The kids say ‘Oh my gosh, that’s in there?’ and then ‘I’m on page 7!’

Q: What is the screenplay that you’re selling about?

A: It’s about a woman living in Manhattan in the financial world. She falls in love with a Georgia gentleman with four kids, she moves and their lives collide. It’s a clash–Manhattan versus suburbs. It’s working moms vs. stay-at-home moms in a really, really funny way. Can she adapt? It’s not a message film but if I were forced to give it one I would say it’s about those two types of moms getting closer because we’re all doing the best we can.

Q: Who would be in your dream cast?

A: I would love to cast a Second City troupe or a Groundlings troupe. They’re so funny and talented and so many aren’t known yet. I’m all about supporting women and giving new people a shot.

Q: What advice would you give others who may want to write their first book?

A: Everybody has a book in them and something they have a passion for. Write a blog–it’s free. Submit stories to magazines, watch on YouTube how to get started in self-publishing. Everyone has a story.

Kate York conducted this interview.

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