The Story Behind My Mother Next Door

Interview by
Natalie Simmons
Published on
October 27, 2021

In this episode...

Discover the story behind co-host, Diane's, soon-to-be released memoir, "My Mother Next Door." As interviewed by her own daughter and co-host, Natalie.


Diane Danvers Simmons

A British native and American transplant, Diane brings unique wit, humor, heart and candor to her storytelling through her written memoirs, articles, keynote speeches, and... wait for it… podcasts!


A week after Diane’s 16th birthday, her mother announced that she was leaving—and moving into the house next door. She planned to start a whole new life that happened to include a plethora of hot college students she had rented the home to. The shocking revelation changed the trajectory of Diane’s life. 

Diane’s book, “My Mother Next Door” is an exploration of their unusual relationship (and what led Diane’s mother to make the choices she did). In this episode of Mothers and Daughters Unfiltered, Diane and Natalie discuss the transformational journey of writing a book and what she learned about her mother—and herself. 

You will want to hear this episode if you are interested in...

  • [1:33] What is “My Mother Next Door” about?
  • [3:38] Diane’s mindset while writing the book
  • [9:30] Writing a book is the hardest thing Diane’s ever done
  • [14:55] The relationship between mother and daughter
  • [16:10] The context of My Mother Next Door
  • [23:26] How Diane’s experience influences who she is as a mother 
  • [25:54] Natalie’s perspective of “My Mother Next Door”
  • [29:50] The message Diane hopes readers will take away
  • [33:43] How to get a copy of Diane’s book

Diane’s mindset while writing the book

Diane set out to write what she thought would be a comedic story. She didn’t realize that she’d learn how powerful the impact of the relationship between mother and daughter can be on one’s life. The lessons we learn, the behaviors we see, and the pain we endure can develop from that relationship.

As Diane wrote the book, the layers of her mother/daughter relationship began to unfold. The book transformed into something completely unexpected. She began to write her mother’s backstory—including the trauma she endured—which began to explain how she became who she was. People do things because of what’s impacted them in the past—not always with the intention to hurt someone else, though it may be a byproduct. 

Writing a book is the hardest thing Diane’s ever done

Diane knew she wanted to stay true to her voice and her humor as she wrote her book. She wanted to write in a way that someone felt they were in the room with her, hearing her story firsthand. She learned that you have to go into the process with the confidence that you are telling your story the right way. Your way. That’s what makes it unique and special. 

Throughout the process, Diane felt a plethora of emotions. She would laugh hysterically and cry out angrily. She was full of questions. Diane dealt with overwhelming emotion through the process of writing the book. She dug into the depths of her soul and faced stories she had forgotten. She notes that as you tell your story, you begin to release those emotions. You’re forced to relive the pain and understand it differently. 

Diane notes that comedy is a very British way of dealing with things. It allows you to tell a real truth while shaving off the sharp edges so that it doesn’t stab you in the way it would without the lightness. Diane is grateful for what she went through. She wouldn’t be the woman she is today if she hadn’t gone through what she has.

The impact Diane hopes her book will have

Diane set out to share her story. But more than anything else, she hopes her readers will take the time to understand the foundational relationships in their lives. She encourages you to have conversations with your mother so you understand why she is who she is. 

Everyone has a different perspective. Everyone needs to take the time to hear someone. Take the time to research, understand, listen, and talk. If humanity could learn to walk in someone else's shoes, maybe there wouldn’t be so much hate and judgment in the world. 

Through the process of writing this book, Diane has been able to feel newfound gratitude. It’s allowed her to feel empathy, compassion, and love at a much deeper level. You can’t change what happened but you can change the way you live your life moving forward. It takes courage to let go and move forward without bitterness. 

Listen to the whole episode to hear how Diane’s experience influences who she is as a mother, the context in which the story unfolds, and Natalie’s perspective on her mother’s book. 

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect With Diane and Natalie

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