featuring guest authors; crafting tips and projects; recipes from food editor and sleuthing sidekick Cloris McWerther; and decorating, travel, fashion, health, beauty, and finance tips from the rest of the American Woman editors.

Friday, June 8, 2018


If you’ve ever read any of the Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mysteries, you know that I love my mother—when I’m not on the verge of killing her. Or killing author Lois Winston for instilling my mother with some very annoying traits. Mama can be extremely manipulative, but she’s got a heart of 24-karat gold when it comes to her grandsons and me, and that tends to negate much of her annoying side—sometimes.

Today we’d like to introduce you to another strong-willed but well-meaning mother, Maria Ruth “Mimi” Spinelli Harmony from Four Uncles and a Wedding. Mimi and husband Howard are the parents of Polly Faith Harmony, who claims her parents were stoned when they named her. They insist their daughter’s name couldn’t be more appropriate. Keep reading to find out why.

What was your life like before your author started pulling your strings?
Actually, I do believe Lois is firmly entrenched in my camp. She’s helping me find a husband for my daughter, and you know what they say, two heads are better than one—especially when it comes to my stubborn offspring.

What’s the one trait you like most about yourself?
I’m a go-getter. I set goals, work toward them, and don’t give up until I’ve achieved that goal. Nothing and no one gets in my way.

What do you like least about yourself?
Nothing, really. If there’s something I don’t like about myself, I work to change it. I’m a very positive person.

What is the strangest thing your author has had you do or had happen to you?
She created a rather unique family for me that gives new meaning to the word unorthodox. Howard and I met in Haight-Ashbury in the late sixties during a tune-in-turn-on-drop-out weekend escapade. We’re both the products of nonconformist parents. On my side, my parents came from the Lower East Side, only my mother was a Russian Jew and my father an Italian Catholic. You can imagine the Romeo-Juliet scenario their romance caused back in the late nineteen-forties.

On Howard’s side, his mother was a Boston blueblood who traced her Episcopalian heritage back to the Founding Fathers. So did his father, but he was a Unitarian—in other words, a heretic as far as his mother’s family was concerned.
Both sets of parents are long gone. Howard and I were only children, much to the relief of our grandparents, or so we were told. Our uncles are the only remaining family—Uncle Aaron Goldfarb, the rabbi; Uncle Francis Xavier Spinelli, the Catholic priest; Uncle Calvin Trusdale, the Episcopalian priest; and Uncle Ralph Waldo Emerson Harmony, the gay Unitarian minister.

This very unorthodox lineage explains the name we chose for our daughter: Polly Faith Harmony. And no, contrary to what Polly will tell you, we were not stoned when we named her. It was a very deliberate decision to honor all parts of her heritage.

Do you argue with your author? If so, what do you argue about?
I argue with my daughter far more than I argue with Lois. Lois and I are on the same wavelength most of the time.

What is your greatest fear?
That by the time my daughter makes me a grandmother, I’ll be too old to enjoy my grandchildren.

What makes you happy?
My life and my family make me happy. About the only thing I’m not happy about is my daughter’s refusal to find herself a husband and start making those grandchildren for me, but I’m working on it. As I said earlier, I don’t give up.

If you could rewrite a part of your story, what would it be? Why?
I wish Lois had given Polly some brothers and sisters. That would have increased my odds of becoming a grandmother before I wind up with one foot in the grave.

Of the other characters in your book, which one bugs you the most? Why?
Obviously, that’s my stubborn daughter. She turns her nose up at every eligible guy I introduce her to. She even created a list of The Top Ten Reasons to Call it Quits After the First Date. She never gives these men a chance.

Of the other characters in your book, which one would you love to trade places with? Why?
Any of my friends who have grandchildren.

Tell us a little something about your author. Where can readers find her website/blog?
Lois can be found at her website and lurking behind the scenes at the Killer Crafts & Crafty Killers blog.

What's next for you?
I certainly hope it’s grandmotherhood!

Four Uncles and a Wedding
Polly Faith Harmony is the ultimate ecumenical love child. Born to former hippies turned millionaire entrepreneurs, she’s one part Jewish, one part Catholic, one part Episcopalian, and one part Unitarian–hence her name. Could have been worse. Her flower power parents might have named her Polly Esther.

Aside from her joke of a name, her great-uncles, one from each side of the family, are all members of the clergy, not to mention golfing buddies and best friends. To keep harmony in the Harmony household, Polly has grown up alternately attending all four houses of worship.

When Polly’s feminist mother decides it’s about time Polly settles down and start providing her with grandchildren before her biological clock runs out, she enlists the uncles’ help. Polly and her friend Joni have penned the Top 10 Reasons to Call it Quits After the First Date, but Polly soon finds that thanks to her interfering relatives, the list is growing at an alarming rate. Worse yet, she learns that loving relatives on a mission rarely play fair.

Buy Links

1 comment:

Angela Adams said...

"Her flower power parents might have named her Polly Esther." -- If they had, Polly may have had grounds to definitely leave home (smile!).