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Saturday 10 April 2010

The Sunday Roast

Does this Expat Mum Sometimes Duel With Her Dual Nationalities?

No doubt we shall find out during the course of the interview, talking of which I note Toni has had a radio interview recently on BBC World Service, "Have Your Say."

This week I am pleased to introduce blogger Expat Mum,
also known as author Toni Summers Hargis.

. . . and yes, Tony indeed has Dual Nationality, currently living in Chicago, USA

Thank you for the interview, Toni

A very warm welcome to you and your followers

Here's the first of the standard questions. Why do you blog?

Why do you blog? - I have to admit, I started blogging because I'm selling a book; however, as anyone who reads my blog will know, I hardly ever mention it and blog about anything and everything. The blog Pond Parleys , which I co-host with author Mike Harling, is more US/UK based and makes more of the "author" thing. These days I blog because I love to write and the communication with my bloggy friends is fabulous. When I was little my dad called me "Mouth Almighty" and I'm not known for being shy - the blog is a great outlet!!!

What's the story behind your blog name?

It's a bit boring really but it's me. With three kids of varying ages, my life is very busy and I'm also an Expat. There's something about being a stranger in a strange land that gives rise to interesting stories and introspections, which in turn is good blog fodder. And of course the kids are ever present.

What is the best thing about being a blogger?

The chance to write frequently for no reason. Sometimes I post without much editing, and sometimes I try to write a really good piece - depends how much time I have. Also, the connection with readers and fellow bloggers. There is some really great writing out there and I love to read it.

What key advice would you give to a newbie blogger?

Apart from "get out there and comment", I'm a terrible blogger. I have never made the time to really learn the technology so any new blogger would be better served elsewhere. Also - you unless you're trying to make a living, you don't really need to blog every day although once a week loses you commenters. Keep it under control - it's easy to get sucked in!

What is the most significant blog post you've ever read?

I'm going to have to disappoint and say there isn't just one. I have read the most touching, joyous and dramatic posts which have touched my heart, made me cry and made me realise at times, how lucky I am. In contrast, I have a very stable life (jinxed) and I am thankful for that.

What is the most significant blog post you've ever written?

Most of my pieces are deliberately funny and not meant to twang at your heart strings. I'm not comfortable with putting my emotions out there unless it's annoyance at stinky people who wear pyjamas to go shopping, which I did recently. However, I lost a great friend in December and felt compelled to sing her praises. She was the first friend I ever made in the States, over 20 years ago, and fought a long, courageous battle against brain cancer. For me, that was a significant blog to write because it was really "me" - raw emotion and all.

If you were to suggest two blogs for roasting who would you pick, and why?

There are so many great ones I find it very difficult to single out just a few and I am sure you wouldn't want me to list them all. I have met a lot of talent in blogland.

That concludes the formal aspect of the interview but it would be nice to get to know you a little better while you are slowly turning on the roasting spit. So while you are screaming in agony above the open fire here are a few more questions for you.

Pick three things you can't live without (no you cannot have ice cubes to cool you down)

Decent tea, Pinot Grigio and warm snow boots (at the moment).

If we were to make a movie about blogland, what would it be and who would you cast in the leading roles?

I'm afraid I just don't have the creativity to do the movie thing. I know I"m supposed to be a writer but I'm really bad at fiction!

That's OK - a lot of bloggers have the same problem- it's only weirdos like me, Suldog and Knucklehead who seem to revel in such things, so you have two penalty questions instead if you want to ask me that question LOL.

If you could live your life again who would you be, and why?

I would come back as me and stand up for myself a bit more as a child, tell all those prat boyfriends just where to go and generally make a few better decisions. Not that I'd want to end up in a different place necessarily, but I'd love to go back to my early years with my 40+ year old head on!!!

Yes, wouldn't we all just love to have a chance to have an older head on our much younger shoulders and have a body which seems to be immortal? How many times have I said, "If only I could return, knowing what I know now!"

You have been given a wonderful talent from above. This causes you to make your mark on humanity and be world famous. In which area would prefer: a best selling novelist, a brilliant artist, a gifted musician, a fantastic singer, a charismatic leader, anything you choose, and why?

I'm a wannabe rock star so I would have to do something like Bono, where you get to perform at the highest level in front of adoring fans, then turn around and have world leaders listen to you so that you could make a difference to people who need your help!

If you were an ice cream cone, which flavour would you prefer and who would you most want to lick you?

Would have to have a coffee element but not over-powering. I would have my three kids (try to) lick me but they wouldn't even get close as I"m too ticklish and would have to smack them away!

Describe in one sentence your perfect day.

Warm weather, sandy beach, nothing to do.

Why Toni, I had no idea you were so lazy! Well why not, bring on the summer.

If you were a fictional writer which one would you be and why?

There's a woman over here called Laurie Notaro, who writes about her life but embellishes it. A lot like a blogger but she's been doing this a long time and is absolutely hilarious.

And finally if you have answered all these questions I invite you to ask me one in return - it's the least I can do. OK fire away!

What's the first thing you want to do with your new hip?

Well, we're a little late for the Canadian Winter Olympics with all those tripple axels and toe loops so maybe I'd better settle for learning to Irish Tap Dance or . . . . . . to Riverdance (ouch!). I've done silly a post on it HERE. But sensibly after 8 weeks this very day after my operation I am almost ready to throw my second stick way. I can drive again , I feel much stromger and have almost got my life back - so I am happy, knowing I will improve steadily from now on.

Thank you Toni for your interview

You mentioned you have written and published a book and I thought I'd complete your roast by giving this a little feature because I know readers on both sides of the pond will be interested. I note from the cover it is raining yet again here in England - that is entirely true as I look out of the window.

The full title is "Rules Britannia; An Insider's Guide to Life in the United Kingdom" by our very own ExPat Mum, alias Toni Summers Hargis. This is a book for Americans moving to or visiting the UK. Although we speak the same language our phrases and cultures sometimes are slightly different. I for one, if I was American, would need a book like this to prevent any possibility of me saying the wrong thing to those touchy, over sensitive, reserved and over-conservative Brits, thus risking me getting my face slapped or my nose punched LOL. Toni has a website Rules Britannia which explains all about the book and how to obtain a copy. I've read some sample pages on Amazon and they full of very interesting stuff. So if anyone from across the pond wants to visit me - get the book first, just in case! LOL


Today's Sunday Roast with Expat Mum is the 111th in a weekly
series of interviews with bloggers from around the world. ________________________________________________

This interview will feature in The Roll of Honour
for all published Roasts. To view press

Next week, A Canadian lady, Johanna of A Majority Of Two


  1. i am a wanna be rockstar that would do anything to be like bono...i think we may have been seperated at great interview eddie. hope you have a marvelous weekend.

  2. Wonderful interview!! I am with Brian...I want to be a rockstar too!! But I would rather be Gwen Stefani!! LOL!!
    Take care dearest kind to your new hip!

  3. Once again, a great interview.

  4. You have such a great interviewing style Eddie. Glad to hear you're well and truly on the mend and thanks for the roasting!

  5. Nice one Eddie. It is so good to put a person to a page, if you know what I mean.

    Hope you are now progressing well. Annie

  6. Another blogger that I know and like.
    Toni started blogging at around the same time as me...... or was it just before? Yes I think it was. I feel sort of connected just because of that but I do find her blog makes compulsive reading and is often funny.
    Expatmum likes to blog about toilets too! That didn't seem to come up in the interview.
    I really enjoyed that Toni and Eddie.
    Maggie X

    Nuts in May

  7. Oh, she is delightful!! I can't wait to check out her blog...what a thoughtful, and gracious lady she seems to be! Her warmth and humor seem to saturate her every word! I just know that this is one blog I will enjoy!

    And as always, my dear Sir, you are hilarious! I do hope you get to join Riverdance...I think you would take the production to new heights!!! Your sense of humor would certainly be an extraordinary addition...and you would delight audiences EVERYWHERE as you do all of us here! Another superb roast, my friend! Hugs, Janine

  8. Lovely interview Eddie. You're doing a great job of the Sunday Roast. I don't always get to read it, but today I'm mitching off band, so extra time- please don't tell on me!
    Hadn't met Expatmum before, but I'll oay her a visit.

  9. Maggie - I haven't done toilets for a while, but there is a mention of the door handles in an upcoming blog post!

  10. Sorry, ExPatMum for the rather poor response to this great roast - it is worthy of much better things although I know several key readers are away from Blogland at present. To be honest I am wondering whether to continue with this column. Thank you for this interview ~ Eddie

  11. Eddie, you're such a wonder. Thanks so much for the continuing look into the souls of so many fine writers. You do David's legacy proud!

  12. Nice roast, and I love your comment about the Winter Olympics! I have no doubt you could have at least taken a bronze...if there was category that combined wit and hobbling about with a cane!

  13. Great roast and interview! Tony is such a sweetheart and a published author, too! I am looking forward to checking out her blog and her book. You never know when I might just pop up on your doorstep, mon ami, and I would want to know the proper way to converse with the over-conservative Brits! lol I thought that she handled you rather well, cher Eddie! Merci beaucoup, to you both for a fabulous job!

  14. And how would you handle me, I wonder, cher Marguerite, perhaps one day I will have the pleasure of seeing your roast - how's it going? LOL

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