Derry’s Serena Terry has taken the plunge into the world of writing with her new book – Mammy Banter: The Secret Life of an Uncool Mum.
Serena, 35, is the creator of TikTok sensation Mammy Banter, a social media account where she posts comedy shorts and more about her life.
The typical Derry-mammy, now turned professional author, has over 919,000 followers and 26 million likes on TikTok.
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It’s fair to say that Serena’s down-to-earth, ‘tell it like it is’ realness has resonated with fans around the world.
Speaking to MyDerry , she told us how she “couldn’t believe” that publisher HarperCollins approached her last year with the idea to write a new book.
“I was about a year into creating content as a hobby,” Serena told us.
“The social media accounts were just growing and growing every day and HarperCollins contacted me out of the blue and asked me whether I’d be interested in working with them.
“I was astounded. I couldn’t believe it,” Serena laughed.
“They told me that they had been following me for a while and that they loved my content and when they asked me whether I would want to write a book, I was like ‘what?!’ but I went for it.
“When I jumped on the call with them there was a full team of them. I don’t come from a writing background but so you can imagine how nervous I was about it, but the team were very helpful.”
Serena said the supremos at HarperCollins asked her to send a synopsis of what any potential book could look like – something that she had no doubt about.
“I was living and breathing Mammy Banter and I thought to myself, ‘Why should I go away from that idea?’
“It was going well at the time and everybody was finding it quite relatable and so I thought let’s just expand Mammy Banter and give it a bit more context, give her some background and introduce some character development on her children and her husband.”
“I just thought it would be good to give people more of a background than they were getting online because a lot of the videos are incredibly short.”
The comedian said the book, which is officially released on March 3, was one of the “most intense” things she had ever accomplished.
“Myself, the team at HarperCollins and Claire Allan, who is a local author, wrote the book in about eight weeks.
“It was really intense and it meant there was a lot of late nights but it turned out to be a huge learning curve for me because when I wrote down what I thought it one be like, they came back and told me how I would shape it together.
“That was completely new to me because I thought that I would just have to brain dump all of my thoughts into chapters but that wasn’t the case at all.
“But the help that I had was amazing, especially from Claire (Allan) because is local and I was worried that the local humour would be lost worldwide.
“She really helped me write for the masses and while she was brilliant at keeping the Derry elements in but making it broad so that people from around the world will know what the book is about.”
Serena hopes people will laugh when reading her book about the main character Tara Gallagher and her family.
She continued: “Tara is me and I am Tara. Tara is everybody. Everybody will see wee bits of themselves in Tara in terms of being able to connect with her.
“I know I can certainly connect to her, more than I care to admit at times, but it’s just being honest that we all have good days and bad days.
“It will be reliable to everybody and although it’s fiction it will put out a few home truths and it’ll highlight real life and things that everybody goes through.
“I did pepper in mental health in the book. Tara has anxiety and we also highlight bullying when it comes to teenagers and social media. I wanted to talk about patriarchy when it comes to women in the workplace.
“So, while the book is about humour, there are things in the book that will strike people from a serious standpoint as well.
“Tara is literally been called an uncool mum by her teenage daughter. She thinks she is cringe, embarrassing and so uncool. She feels uncool in her career and overall she is not feeling herself.
“We wanted to make sure that we were being brutally honest when it comes to some of the stuff that women go through when they get to their mid-30s, and that if you didn’t laugh about you’d cry about it.”
Mammy Banter: The Secret Life of an Uncool Mum is out March 3.
She added: “There have been times when I’ve taken myself subjectively out of the situation and thought if this wasn’t happening to me then it would be hilarious and that’s what I’ve written about.
Earlier this year, Serena also opened up about her mental health struggles through the false screen of social media.
The TikTok star previously told MyDerry how she suffered from her own anxiety and how she managed to cope with that.
She said: “I suffer from anxiety and all my research was leading towards cold water dipping.
“I documented my cold water dipping journey on the Mammy Banter Instagram and started to get hundreds of messages from people also wanting to try it out.
“I decided the most effective way to deal with the questions and queries about it was to set up Waves, a cold water dipping group.”
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Serena also hinted at what she wants in the coming months and years ahead: “We have already been talking about a second book.
“I don’t want to give too much away but the ending of this one leaves it open quite nicely for a second book.
“I am hoping that this will be a springboard for me and open up more opportunities. Loads of people from social media have written books and the feedback hasn’t been great but I don’t want that to happen in this case.
“I always want to make people laugh and I hope to give me those opportunities whether it’s in books or for TV.
“So, I’m excited about it and hopefully it’s going to be a bit of a wild read for everyone!”
Mammy Banter: The Secret Life of an Uncool Mum is on sale in bookshops and online from March 3. If you would like to order a copy of Serena’s new book, you can do so HERE.
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