Katie Hafner, author of "Mother Daughter Me: A Memoir" (Aug 12-16)

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Katie Hafner, author of "Mother Daughter Me: A Memoir" (Aug 12-16)

aug 12, 2013, 8:05 am

Please welcome Katie Hafner, author of Mother Daughter Me: A Memoir (and other books). Katie will be here all week taking your questions. Have fun!

aug 12, 2013, 10:52 am

Jeremy, thanks so much for having me here. I'm looking forward to everyone's questions!

It's a cold, foggy -- which is to say, typical -- summer morning in San Francisco.

Just to give everyone a sense of where I'll be chatting from...we live on a hill overlooking San Francisco's Noe Valley. From my window I look out on the neighborhood's many and varied houses, and can see clear across the city to the San Francisco Bay Bridge, and AT&T Park just before it.

aug 12, 2013, 11:14 am

I loved Mother Daughter Me. The combination of insightful storytelling and personal revelation made it hard to put down. What was your biggest challenge in writing the book?

aug 12, 2013, 11:26 am

Hi SusanSF. Thanks for chiming in! And I'm so glad to hear you liked the book.

The biggest challenge came in forcing myself to dig deep -- that is, not just to report events as they occurred, but to really understand, for perhaps the first time in my life. In that sense, the book was very therapeutic to write.

aug 12, 2013, 11:29 am

Katie many women have "mother issues" but they are often not very forthcoming with them.
I have two questions
1) Why do you think this is? Do you think there is a stigma attached to not having the perfect mother/daughter union?
2) How did you deal with your own mother and your various relatives who might not have found this book a engaging as your readers.


aug 12, 2013, 11:36 am


thanks for the questions. And I'm so glad you liked the book.

1. I think it's not so much that women aren't forthcoming with their mother issues, but that it's hard to articulate one's way through those issues. I'm lucky in that I happen to be a writer, so have a way of sharing my own struggles.

2. This is a perennial issue when it comes to memoir writing: how will everyone else in your life respond? I had to write the book in the most honest way I could, and not let myself become paralyzed by constant worries over how others might react.

aug 12, 2013, 11:39 am

How about your daughter? What does she think of the book?

aug 12, 2013, 11:50 am

She likes it! (Even though she is portrayed very honestly, she has been very generous in her reaction.)

aug 12, 2013, 12:05 pm

Are you willing to attend or Skype or call in to book groups?

aug 12, 2013, 1:09 pm

Katie -- Am I one of the few readers who found a lot to smile at in this book? Sometimes the smile of recognition and sometimes the smile of "How can she be doing this?!?" If I had to pick one adjective to describe your voice, I woulkd say "wry." Lovely read, btw...

aug 12, 2013, 3:01 pm

SusanSF, yes, I would be very happy to attend local book groups, and to Skype in remotely to more far-flung ones.

And readingwidely, thanks for "wry."

I too had to ask "How can she be doing this?" but I wasn't smiling :-)

aug 12, 2013, 9:23 pm

I've very much enjoyed your retrospectives into the Internet and Cyberpunk history. Will you be working on more along these lines? Do you have a favorite "Wow, I didn't know that" moment from either book?

aug 13, 2013, 2:13 am

Hi KatieHafner, just wanted to say that I loved 'Where Wizards Stay Up Late' and, being from the software field, regularly read random sections of it for inspiration :)

aug 13, 2013, 10:19 am

Hi ArcaneRND. That's a great question. I had those "wow" moments the whole time I was working on "Where Wizards Stay Up Late," especially when it came to the technical underpinnings of packet switching, which is such a simple yet elegant concept.

The other revelation was the idea of simultaneity of invention. That is, packet switching was brewing in several people's minds at around the same time.

And PeterCat, I'm so glad you liked "Where Wizards Stay Up Late," too! I'm glad you get inspiration from it. The most inspiring part of writing that book was how human the whole enterprise was, from the very start. I'm still friends with a lot of the guys from that book, and I continue to be impressed and inspired by them!

aug 16, 2013, 5:05 pm

Hard topic to generaiize on,
but I wonder if you could
make a general statement on:
What you think of the current "revolution" in publishing
(Traditional> Online, etc.).
What is outstanding about the way it is now vs. the
way it was, say, in ca. 1998?
What are the most important differences to know about -- for writers
who grew up with traditional