Actress Josie Bissett has accomplished a lot in her lifetime. First stepping in front of the camera at age 12, she struck it big on the hit TV show Melrose Place, appearing in numerous television shows and films in between. The 38-year-old decided to slow down a bit once she had children — son Mason Tru, 9, and daughter Maya Rose, 6 ½, with ex-husband Rob Estes — and has since traded in magazine covers and awards shows for motherhood and book writing (she’s penned two parenting books, Little Bits of Wisdom and Making Memories). Josie’s latest venture is a children’s book, Tickle Monster, a story about a friendly monster who just can’t stop tickling! Josie recently spoke to CBB about her experiences as a mom, actress and author.
CBB: Why did you decide to start writing?
JB: When I was pregnant, I wanted to take some time off from acting but I still needed a creative outlet for myself. My first two books were created during my pregnancies and after giving birth to my first child. I’d always wanted and adored children, but nothing can prepare you for your own, until they are “your own”! I joined every baby group I could find and gained so much wisdom and insight being around other parents, that I decided to do an entire book dedicated to parenting tips. I asked parents around the world to write to me and tell me the one piece of advice or tip they would like to share with another parent. There are so many incredible parents out there and the experience was invaluable to my journey into motherhood.
Click ‘More’ to read about Josie’s newest book and learn why she left Hollywood for the Northwest.
Where do you find the inspiration for your books?
My children have given me the inspiration for all 3 of my books. My first children’s book, Tickle Monster, was inspired by tickling my son one evening. The story literally flew out of my mouth! I quickly wrote it down — as I do most of my writing ideas — but this one really stuck with me. As any parent knows, when you have children, you can’t seem to get things done the way you used to! It took me seven years to complete this book, but it was worth the wait and the commitment. It is by far my greatest achievement. Tickle Monster is an interactive book and by the nature of the story, bonds the parent and child through tickling and laughter.
How did you meet your illustrators and work together to execute your vision?
My publishing company narrowed down their favorites and then set up meetings for me to meet with them. Between the publisher, the illustrator and me, we all had our unique vision of what my furry friend would look like. It ultimately becomes one giant collaborative effort! Kevin Atteberry did a wonderful job with his illustrations and bringing the Tickle Monster to life!
How do you balance your time, with motherhood, acting and writing on your plate?
Ohhhh the balancing act! It’s difficult. For me, what works is being extremely clear on my priorities. If I keep them in line, everything falls into place pretty nicely. When I am doing one thing too much or not enough, I start to feel “off” and then know I need to take a look at what is out of balance and change it.
What’s it like to be a Hollywood mom?
I prefer to be a mother in the Pacific Northwest! I grew up outside of Seattle and personally find it to be the most beautiful place in the world. (I love rain!) I have a big family in Washington and my kids get to grow up swimming in lakes, hiking in mountains and playing with their cousins!
Are your children interested in the entertainment industry? Would you support them if they were?
My children are just now really grasping what their father and I do for a living. They’ve been on enough sets and photo shoots to see how it all works and much to my dismay, yes, they like it and have shown interest in performing. Here’s the thing: All I request is that they go to college and travel abroad for a year before they decide what they want to do. If they want to act, then I give them my full support!
What is your favorite thing about being a mother?
I had to close my eyes and really think about that question. Being a mother is my greatest blessing and it is difficult to list just one thing. I have favorites about each stage of their development, all the way back to feeling them kicking in my belly. Currently, my favorite thing about being a mother to a 6 ½-year-old and a 9-year-old is watching them figure out who they are, listening to them express their ideas, thoughts and fears and getting to be a sounding board for them. Being a mother makes me a better person and it gives me a purpose in this life.
How did it feel to win the Mom’s Choice Award? (Josie was selected as “Celebrity Mom of the Year.”)
That was quite an honor! I’ll take an award for being a great mother over an award for being a great actress any day!
To purchase Tickle Monster — and some tickling mitts of your own! — visit JosieBissett.com.