After she was praised in the third grade by her teacher for a story she wrote, writing stuck with Molly Stroud-Smith.
Stroud-Smith’s first published novel, Dead Babies, was released last year. The novel follows the story of Doreen Rutherford as she struggles with motherhood while dealing with undiagnosed postpartum psychosis.
Stroud-Smith said the inspiration for the novel came partly from being a mother herself.
“I had babies when I was young and I actually really loved being a mom and really easily bonded with my babies,” Stroud-Smith said. “I studied the case of Andrea Yates, she was a woman with postpartum psychosis who drowned her five children in a bathtub. This was happening right around when I had small children.
“To think of a mother hurting her own kids was just something I couldn’t really wrap my brain around so I kind of wanted to see that mindset, and what things go together to create a woman who’s in that kind of pain.”
As she began writing the book, Stroud-Smith said she researched the Andrea Yates case quite a bit, and also researched postpartum depression and psychosis. However, while writing seemed to go smoothly for Stroud-Smith editing the novel is when things got hard for her.
“I do remember times, where I cried during editing just because writing it and reading it back is a different experience so I had to take breaks,” Stroud-Smith said. “I had to stop and literally wipe my eyes and continue.
“It took me three years in total and I kind of did it in stops and starts so definitely by the time I went back to edit everything there were things I didn’t remember. As I got more attached to those characters, then parts of it I had written I found a little more painful to read.”
Now that Dead Babies has been released, Stroud-Smith said she has gotten the odd negative comment about the book’s title, however, for the most part, the response to the story has been positive.
“I haven’t had anybody say anything mean or nasty about the book so far,” Stroud-Smith said. “All of my reviews have been good and people have been positive, I haven’t had any trolls on the internet or anything. It’s been really a positive experience.”