Megan van Eyck lives near Seattle, Washington with her husband and children. Ms. van Eyck is promoting her first memoir, Memoirs of a Widowed Mistress.
It is a forthcoming, sometimes steamy, account of both the passion and the heartbreak associated with being a mistress. It takes an honest look at the futility of sharing a love while not sharing a life.
Megan van Eyck is reflective as she addresses her compelling and unusual personal history—one that made being the other woman an acceptable option. In her reckless pursuit of love, she makes no excuses for herself, her mistakes, or her betrayal of her seemingly indifferent and emotionally estranged husband. She wants everything, unabashedly.
But her priorities shift when Carlos, her lover, is diagnosed with Amyloidosis, a rare and incurable blood disorder. Her concerns shift from hoping for a life with him to hoping that he’ll be able to live through treatment.
In the end, van Eyck not only must come to terms with her loss, mistakes, and regrets, but she must come to terms with herself as well. Memoirs of a Widowed Mistress is must-read for anyone who has struggled with love, intimacy, or self-acceptance. It will captivate supporters, surprise critics, and change the perspective of those who have never considered having an affair.
Who/what inspires you the most within your book?
Beyond the illicit romance between me and Carlos, Memoirs of a Widowed Mistress is the story about how love saved me from myself.
I had a horrible childhood. My mother was a narcissistic bipolar hoarder who used me for child support checks and the roof over our heads. She neither cooked nor cleaned for me; I had to fend for myself. My millionaire father, meanwhile, was too busy dating a myriad of beautiful women to notice that my life was not as it should have been.
Consequently, I was a child with deep emotional wounds that bled through to my adulthood. I looked for love in every wrong place I could find it. I dated men who nurtured my vulnerabilities and I did not know how to love myself. I was in a marriage that was barely functional, but we tolerated each other for our kids.
One day fate offered me an opportunity to know something better when I sat next to a handsome married stranger on a flight to Hawaii. We became fast friends and soon entered into what would turn out to be a five-year affair.
What inspires me is that Carlos’s love did save me. Even at the end of my story, when my husband discovers my affair, that love was the thing that saved us.
Do you have a favorite line or excerpt from your book?
About two years into my and Carlos’s affair my mother passed away. In the weeks that followed I was stuck in a fog of murky sadness. In his effort to be caring, Carlos took me on a trip to Hawaii so that I could process my emotions without having to worry about getting dinner on the table or doing laundry. He understood that I needed space. I was so fragile and vulnerable at that time and I didn’t have the strength to muster my coy mistress pretences any longer.
That was the moment I knew I was in love with him — when I knew that he finally loved me for me, not for all of the things I always pretended to be.
The following in an excerpt from Chapter 14 covers that time:
I realized I had not reinvented myself within the context of my evolving mistress role. Rather, my grief and neediness had stripped me of every pretense and fabrication of my mistress character: I was just me. Carlos seemed to love the woman I was under my curls and smile. He did not notice that I had stopped making double entendres. I’d dropped my coquetted demeanor. I unabashedly told him I needed him. I wore my neediness on my sleeve like some sort of Girl Scout merit badge, next to the one with my heart on it. He was no longer loving the woman of my manifestations. I had stopped being the compilation character of my father’s lovers. I was just me — only me. And with that, there was relief, joy, and a new self-acceptance…I felt free to love him with my nubile heart.
If your current release were to be turned into a movie, who would you love to see play what characters and why?
Antonio Banderas would make a striking Carlos. He has the same raw yet tender sensuality I loved so much in Carlos.
Bradley Cooper would be perfect as my husband, Willem. They have a similar masculine goofy vulnerability.
I don’t think Emma, Carlos’s widow, would object Marcia Cross portraying her.
And who would I want to play me? Drew Barrymore. Hands down, Drew!
What are your favorite aspects of writing?
Writing seems like magic to me. I sit down to a blank computer screen and hours later I get up, having left strings of words and sentiments that will one day transport readers into my world. I am painfully shy, so this ability to share myself with others feels like a special kind of alchemy that transforms my memories to narrative form.
Your least favorite aspects of writing?
I am dyslexic, so the rules of punctuation and grammar floor me sometimes. My habit is to write like I think, inserting apostrophes and semicolons at will. Then give it to my editor so she can do her thing. I would be lost without her.
Who are some of your favorite authors/books?
I just finished Running with Scissors and I love Augusten Burroughs. I also like David Sadaris.
I have spent the past few years buried in one memoir or another. My favorites are The Geography of Love, The Glass Castle, Loose Girl, and Sickened.
Shakespeare knocks my socks off.
Shel Silverstein is an express trip to my idealism and frivolity.
Colleen McCullough’s The Thorn Birds is still my favorite summertime guilty pleasure.
What are you reading right now?
I am re-reading a crime mystery novel called Justice Rules. It is a story that makes you wonder what you would do if someone you loved had been subjected to a horrible crime. How far would you go to take justice into your own hands? It is fast-paced and hard to put down.
If you could have a dinner party and invite five authors – dead or alive – who would they be and what would you serve them?
I would invite Shel Silverstein, Emily Dickinson, Anaïs Nin, Norman Mailer, and Khalil Gibran to my intimate little dinner party. It would be incredible to sit back and listen to their exchanges on love, desire, and unrequited emotions.
As for what I’d serve, I’d call a caterer and leave it up to them.
What is a book that you wish you could say that you had written and why?
That’s a tough question. I keep thinking Green Eggs and Ham because my children loved it so much.
Writing a book is like sharing part of yourself. So saying that I wish I had written someone else’s book is like saying that I would rather have another story; be someone else. I have spent my life wishing to be anyone but me. Now I own my shortcomings and strengths in less than 310 pages.
What is the greatest piece of advice (for writing and/or just living) that you have heard?
I keep this posted on the wall next to my desk to remind me to be bold and courageous:
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we’re liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” — Marianne Williamson