Q&A with Randy Susan Meyers

Accidents of Marriage, by Randy Susan Meyers, is a compelling look at how traumatic brain injury can affect a family and how each member responds to the extraordinary crisis. Within the chapters Meyers discusses the different perspectives of each family member.


Elise Cooper: Congratulations on being the People Magazine pick of the week for September 12th. Is it because of the theme of the book?


Randy Susan Meyers: Thank you. I hope I am recognized for my writing style, which always has emotional honesty. I do not worry about character likeability. My characters are seen with good traits; yet, having flaws. I always try to present issues and relationships in a very layered way.


EC: One issue you deal with is interreligious marriage. Why?


Meyers: I have a lot of intermarriage within my extended family. My daughter is married to someone not Jewish. Ever since I was a little girl I was obsessed with reading about the Holocaust. As a child I grew up in a non-traditional home in New York and never received any religious training; although, I do identify with being culturally Jewish.


EC: You talk about the different dynamics that can affect a marriage. Can you explain?


Meyers: I have always been interested in “moods of a marriage.” Are you in a relationship or are just a manager? Ben and Maddy’s marriage is complicated. Ben is definitely a man with a rage issue, but I am hoping the readers will not dislike him because there are two views in any marriage. Sometimes the views collide. Hopefully what comes across is what is important in a marriage, the need to compromise and communicate.


EC: It was interesting how you dealt with Ben’s infidelity. Please explain.


Meyers: Ben is a powerful, good-looking guy. Women tend to gravitate towards powerful men who then become tempted. He reached out to an Intern during a moment of weakness. Although he came clean, I hoped I showed confession cleanses the soul but does not make everything better. Confession is often for the confessor. Is the pain taken away from them and then given to the spouse. People need to think about rage, love, and infidelity in this story. I thought an interesting statistic is that 70% of all marriages have someone committing adultery.


EC: How did you come up with the idea of having a character with TBI?


Meyers: I thought about the rotary near me and how terrible it would be if an accident occurred because of road rage and someone could be gravely injured. A friend of mine wrote a book, Professor Cromer Learns to Read, about her husband who went through TBI. He was injured from a fall after having a stroke. I find it fascinating how the marriage was affected. I did an enormous amount of research, vetting doctors, and different people who have suffered from TBI.


EC: How were your characters affected by TBI?


Meyers: Maddy will never be who she was. She will be different but not all of it is for the bad. She became more truthful to herself, empathetic to others, and had to slow her life down. Each member of the family became a support system. In the beginning of the book Maddy was a support system for the children. As the book progressed Ben was Maddy’s support system, Emma became the support for her siblings and the household, and then things turned around as Maddy became more independent.


EC: Why did you put these two quotes in the book, which any mother can relate too? “Maddy understood how one could end up saying yes to everything when children became teenagers. Energy was on their side.” AND “Pregnant women should be required to take classes in referee and negotiation skills…”


Meyers: Hopefully, anyone who has a teenager will smile at these. I remember when my children were of that age how hard I tried to maintain strictness. They actually feel better when there is structure. That is one of the reasons Maddy’s children fell apart. Before the accident she structured their life and suddenly the children were on their own like molecules bouncing around the house. I really believe moms have many professions including doctor, nurse, psychologist, teacher, and coach. It is the hardest job in the world and as a mother of grown children I can tell you it never stops. The saying is so true, “little kids, little problems, big kids, big problems.” I will always be “mom” and will continue to give advice.


EC: What do you want the readers to get out of the book?


Meyers: A page turning reading journey. Being brave enough to face the worst situations in our life. I write about topics I feel passionate about. I don’t have interest in writing bad man, good woman. What I want is for the reader to see we must take responsibility for our own actions. The way we act towards someone should not be based on how they react to us.


EC: Can you give a heads up about your next book?


Meyers: A woman finds out her husband’s fortune is based on a lie. What is it like to be that woman married to someone who is professionally similar to a Bernie Madoff? I did a lot of research with many cases where the wife had no idea what her husband was doing regarding his job.