Katherine Cobb talks about her new novel, Fifty, Four Ways, and why she writes entertaining, realistic novels.

Fifty, Four Ways is an engaging spin about four baseball moms who begin reading the sex-fueled book Fifty Shades of Grey. As each mother delves into the book, she finds herself assessing her sex life, desires and satisfaction with her mate.

Kelli’s Armageddon-prepper husband would rather research guns and build bunkers than be intimate. Her best friend Mel desperately wants intimacy to pay off with her sexually hungry spouse, but struggles to overcome her shyness and body issues. Bombshell Candy, who any man would kill to be with, suspects her rich husband is having an affair. Country gal Lynn, whose candid confessions got the whole ball rolling, is desperate to take things to a kinkier level, but convincing her traditional mate won’t be an easy task.

Inspired by true events, my novel steps back in time to when the Fifty Shades series was released. In fact, I learned about the series when my son played high school baseball, and between my observations, experiences and assumptions, was able to create believable, funny, relatable women with four different stories to tell. (The number one question on readers’ minds: Which gal are you? And my answer: My lips are sealed!)

What’s unique about the story is it’s told from each woman’s perspective in rotating chapters, which makes everything move quickly while leaving readers itching to know what happens next in each mom’s timeline. What also interesting is readers and/or fans of the Fifty Shades series report loving this even more than the one that inspired it, but equally, those who held contempt for the series or never read it have also enjoyed it, saying they related to the moms and found it hilarious.

If I had to pinpoint why, I’d say it’s because the heart of the book is not sex, but more these ladies’ roles as wives, mothers and friends, not to mention sports parents — an entire category of its own. While intimacy and some tasteful steamy moments are a part of the plot, they are not the backbone. Fifty, Four Ways is meant to be pure entertainment (think book club/beach read/chick lit/women’s fiction), but still reveals emotions and scenarios any woman can relate to, feel empathy for, or connect with.

It was a fun challenge for me to create four separate personalities. I came to like and appreciate each woman for her strengths and attributes. The most outrageous mom was Candy, and her candid, creative vocabulary was just a joy to channel. I loved Lynn’s country upbringing and how she spoke and thought. Kelli’s sarcasm resonated with me, and Mel represented facets of many women I know. I didn’t sketch out the entire plot, so a lot of it happened organically, just as their separate personalities did. I loved how they each grew and manifested.

As a writer, it’s important for me to write believable scenarios and relatable characters. My first novel, Skyline Higher, was a young adult book (read by women of all ages) that dealt with some important and significant topics based on my (and my friends’) young experiences. It seemed long overdue to present a book that actually portrayed a more realistic experience of those tender years. High school is a chasm we straddle with youthful innocence on one side and on the other, adult actions and decisions—whether to have sex (if we even have a choice), imbibing in drugs and alcohol, fighting with parents and seeing friendships form and dissolve. It’s not easy. My books will always contain some mix of entertainment, relatability and poignancy.

My next novel, still in the early stages, explores how love and hate are two sides of the same coin. I can’t wait to dive in deeper and tell this story!

What happens when four middle-aged baseball moms with kids on the same team begin reading the sex-fueled book Fifty Shades of Grey? As countrified Lynn would say, they get “hotter than a June bride” and are catapulted into unexpectedly assessing their sex lives, desires and satisfaction with their husbands.

Kelli feels neglected by a spouse who’d rather prep for doomsday than be intimate. Her best friend Mel struggles to find the courage to overcome her shyness and body issues in the bedroom and reach the promised land. Candy, already isolated with her trophy wife status, suspects her husband is having an affair. Lynn, whose candid confessions in the concession stand got the whole ball rolling, wants to take things to a kinkier level but will have to convince her man to go along for the ride.

Inspired by true events and told from each woman’s perspective, you’ll experience their lives firsthand — including that delicious peek behind closed doors.

Katherine Briganti Cobb was born and raised in California’s Bay Area and currently lives in Virginia. She’s contributed to numerous publications throughout the mid-Atlantic region. Her editorial column, “It Is What It Is,” for The Journal won first place for Best Lifestyle Columnist by the West Virginia Press Association. Cobb has authored short stories and several books.


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