Happy Mum, Happy Baby’s Giovanna Fletcher on how she’s keeping three boys under six entertained during lockdown and her anxiety about the now-famous interview with the Duchess of Cambridge
When Giovanna Fletcher found out she would be doing an interview with the Duchess of Cambridge for her podcast, Happy Mum, Happy Baby, any jubilation she initially felt quickly descended into fear.
“Even back in season one [of Happy Mum, Happy Baby], when I was asked who would be my dream guest I always said, ’the Duchess of Cambridge’. So when I was told she was actually going to do it, I think the fear sank in and I was like ‘What am I going to talk to her about?'” Fletcher tells us.
“When I started piecing together the interview I realised it’s just two mums talking, which helped calm things down. It was quite bizarre, the first time I realised what a big deal it was, was when we were in the recording studio and started talking so candidly about these personal things.”
The podcast, which was published in mid-February, was warmly received and is now widely regarded as the Duchess’ most candid interview to date, with the duchess opening up about her feelings of mum guilt and struggles with severe hyperemia during all three of her pregnancies.
Happy Mum, Happy Baby, which complements Fletcher’s book of the same name, is now into its fifth series (Prue Leith and Alesha Dixon are recent guests). Fletcher will start recording the sixth series this week – remotely, over Skype.
“It’s going to be interesting as it looks like we’re going to do the whole of series six in that way as I don’t think we’ll be ending social distancing any time soon,” Fletcher says.
“I think it’s an important time for people to hear and have those conversations about motherhood as it’s so difficult right now. We’re being kept indoors, dads can’t go to scans or even be at births in some cases, so I think as much support in those areas as possible is really important.”
Lockdown life for Fletcher, who’s married to Tom Fletcher of boyband McFly fame, has felt ‘manic and busy’. With three boys under six (including two school-age kids, Buzz in Year One and Buddy in nursery), the author says she is ‘never bored’.
“We get up early for the kids, we’ll have breakfast, then Joe Wicks has been kicking our days off nicely with his PE lessons,” Fletcher explains.
“It’s been a mission to try and get work done while also home schooling. We‘ve tried to stick to our schedule for meal times so we can give the boys their normal structure and also it means we have the evenings to get our work done. We try to get as much work done in the day when the boys are here but it’s so difficult and also just being able to allocate work time takes the stress away.”
Fletcher says their strategy as a parenting team during lockdown has been to ‘divide and conquer’.
“Because I have an office at home I’ve set Buzz up a little area in my office so I sit next to him,” Fletcher says.
“I’m meant to be doing my work but realistically I’m helping him with his school work and then doing emails when he’s doing other stuff.
“Tom does the same so we have a divide and conquer situation going on. I can’t imagine what it must be like for people whose kids are older, or have multiple kids at school age and they’re still trying to do their own work. It must just be so difficult to get on top of what each child has to do.”
With 10 titles under her belt so far, Fletcher has a thriving literary career in adult fiction and non-fiction, while Tom is a prolific children’s author. The pair have also collaborated on a YA novel series, The Eve of Man trilogy with the second book, The Eve Illusion, out this week.
Set 60 years in the future, Eve is the first girl born in half a century and the trilogy explores her take on this new world and the people trying to control her. “Book two starts with Eve realising what she’s seen of life isn’t real, so it’s about her trying to seek redemption for what has been done and her being able to kick start her life, take control and think about what she wants in life.”
The books are written in two voices, something Fletcher says has made the co-authorship easier.
“We found having those two voices works really well and for us it means we have great ownership over our character,” Fletcher continues.
“The way that we work is very different, so Tom plans out every single bit and I go into it knowing what the first word is going to be, I know what my context and characters are going to be like and then I just let them fly so I learn with them. But when you’re writing together you’ve got to plan a bit more because you need to know what the other person is doing. It’s been good for me to know it’s okay to have a plan.”
Fletcher is currently working on her next solo novel (“due in October or November”).
“I do like going with the flow but I’ve adapted some of the methods I’ve learned from writing a book with someone else. So I’ve done much more planning for this book. But I still like to be able to discover how the book will end up while I’m writing.”