PW: You're mother and daughter, and you've written It's My Pleasure together. What was that experience like?
Maria Rodale: We actually had a lot of fun. We didn't have a single fight.
PW: But wasn't it hard to work with your mother when you were writing about things like sex and masturbation?
Maya Rodale: When I would sit down to write about that stuff, I made an effort to say, I'm not going to think about my family and my mom reading it and my friends.
I thought about the wider, anonymous audience that needed to hear it.
PW: So who do you see as the audience for the book?
Maya: We wanted it to be accessible to both of our generations. It's for women who want to live happy and satisfying lives and are interested in their place in the world both as women and as individuals. And we think romance readers should be able to get into it.
Maria: We really want to build a bridge between this vast underground body of romance readers and the feminist intellectuals. When those two groups start talking, then we'll really change the world. And have more fun.
PW: But wouldn't you need a lot of money to follow some of your recommendations?
Maria: One of the fundamental messages in the book is that the good things in life are free: love and passion and spending time with your children and people you care about, and spending time with yourself. There's a great book called The Progress Paradox that says the average person today is wealthier and eats better and lives better than royalty from 300 years ago. We're all affluent in terms of seeing our potential.
PW: Why did you choose not to publish the book with Rodale?
Maria: We both felt it was very important to us as writers to have the credibility and the honesty of working with editors who don't report to us. We didn't want it to seem like a vanity project.
Maya: I've already gotten the comment, "Of course you got a book deal. Your family owns a publishing company." This way I can say, "We sold this to someone else."
PW: Maria, how did it feel to go from publisher to author?
Maria: In my journey to find my own pleasure, I realized that I love writing. I won't say most of all, but it's right up there. Because all my other books were with Rodale, it was an even greater pleasure to have that validation from an independent source. When you own a business, there's always the question: Are they telling me this because they think I want to hear that? It's human nature. Even if you tell people, you can be honest with me, you still don't always get the truth.