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Jillian Lauren

US best selling author + journalist

S2 Ep70

Jillian Lauren

Listen and subscribe on Spotify and itunes/Apple podcasts

I am thrilled to welcome Jillian Lauren to the podcast this week, a writer, investigative journalist, adoption advocate, rock + roll wife + mother of 2 based in Los Angeles, United States

Jillian grew up in Livingston, New Jersey and graduated from Newark Academy in 1991. She then moved to New York City as a 16 year old, where she studied acting at New York University. Soon after, she started exotic dancing in New York at the Kit Kat Club + became an escort. This led to Jillian being selected to join the harem of the Prince of Brunei for 18 months.

When Jillian returned from this incredible adventure, she attended Antioch University and graduated with an Masters of Fine Arts in creative writing. This saw the beginning of her writing career, with Jillian's work since appearing in The New York Times, Vanity Fair and Los Angeles Magazine.

Jillian is a New York Times Best Selling author of 2 memoirs Some Girls: My Life in a Harem, about her experience as The Harem Girl, and Everything You Ever Wanted about her journey of adopting her son Tariku from Ethiopia in 2009. Tariku came to the family as an 18 month old, and brought with him intense trauma responses and during the next few years Jillian learned so much about advocating for her child and trusting her instincts.

Jillian and her husband Scott Shriner (bassist from Weezer) added to their family in 2015 when they adopted through the US foster system their second son Jovi, who has a history of trauma and abuse, and has an autism diagnosis.

She has also written a fiction novel entitled Pretty and has an upcoming novel based on her personal account of confronting serial killer Samuel Little called Behold the Monster coming out in 2023.

Several of Jillian’s manuscripts are being developed into TV + Film projects the most recent being Confronting a Serial Killer released on STARZ. The five-episode series tells the story of the relationship between Jillian Lauren + the most prolific serial killer in American history Sam Little, and her work to bring out the truth and the identities of the 93 women he murdered, before he passes away.

**This episode contains discussions around infertility, pregnancy loss + miscarriage, childhood trauma, a serial killer and does contain a bit of swearing**

Visit Jillian's website

Podcast website / instagram

Music used with permission from Alemjo, Australian new age + ambient music trio.

When chatting to my guests I greatly appreciate their openness and honestly in sharing their stories. If at any stage their information is found to be incorrect, the podcast bears no responsibility for guests' inaccuracies.

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Podcast transcript at the bottom of the page

Thank you so much for tuning in to this episode of The Art of Being A Mum Podcast. I'm beyond honoured that you're here and would be grateful if you could take 2 minutes to leave me a 5-star review in iTunes or wherever you are listening. It really helps! This way together we can inspire, connect and bring in to the light even more stories from creative mums. Want to connect? Take a screenshot of this episode and share it on Instagram tagging me in with @art_of_being_a_mum_podcast

I can't wait to connect. And remember if you or somebody you know would like to be a guest on the podcast, get in touch! I love meeting and chatting to mammas from all creative backgrounds, from all around the world!


Thank you!


Alison acknowledges this Land of the Berrin (Mount Gambier) Region as the Traditional Lands of the Bungandidj People and acknowledge these First Nations people as the custodians of the Region.


Welcome to the Art of Being a mum, the podcast. It's a platform for mothers who are artists and creatives to share the joys and issues they've encountered, while continuing to make art. Regular themes we explore include the day to day juggle, how mother's work is influenced by the children, mum guilt, how mums give themselves time to create within the role of mothering, and the value that mothers and others place on their artistic selves. My name's Alison Newman. I'm a singer, songwriter, and a mom of two boys from regional South Australia. You can find links to my guests and topics we discussed in the show notes. Together with music played, how to get in touch, and a link to join our lively and supportive community on Instagram. The art of being a mum acknowledges the Bondic people as the traditional owners of the land, which his podcast is recorded on. Thank you so much for joining me today. I'm thrilled to welcome to the podcast Jillian Lauren. Julian is a writer, investigative journalist, adoption advocate, rock and roll wife and mother of two based in Los Angeles in the United States. Jillian grew up in Livingston, New Jersey, and graduated from New York Academy in 1991. She then moved to New York City as a 16 year old, where she studied acting at New York University and soon after started exotic dancing at the KitKat club and became an escort. This led to Jillian being selected to join the harem of the prince of Brunei, where she stayed for 18 months. When Julian returned from this incredible adventure, she attended Antioch University and graduated with a Masters of Fine Arts in creative writing. This saw the beginning of her writing career with Julian's work now appearing in The New York Times, Vanity Fair and Los Angeles magazine. Julian is a New York Times best selling author of two memoirs, some girls my life in a harem about her experience as the harem girl and everything you ever wanted about her journey of adopting her son tariku from Ethiopia in 2009. Tarik, who came to the family as an 18 month old and brought with him intense trauma responses, and during the next few years, Julian learned so much about advocating for her child and trusting her own instincts. Jillian and her husband, Scott Shriner, the bass player from Weezer, added to their family in 2015. When they adopted through the US foster system, their second son Jovi, who has a history of trauma and abuse, and an autism diagnosis. She's also written a fictional novel entitled prissy, and has an upcoming novel. Based on her personal account of confronting serial killer Samuel little called Behold The Monster coming out in 2023 Several of Julian's manuscripts are being developed into TV and film projects, the most recent being confronting a serial killer released on stars. The five episode series tells the story of the relationship between Julian and the most prolific serial killer in American history, Sam little and Julian's work to bring out the truth and the identities of the 93 women he murdered before he passes away. This episode contains discussions around infertility, pregnancy loss and miscarriage, childhood trauma, a serial killer, and it does contain a bit of swearing. If you're triggered by anything we discussed today, please reach out for help, either to those around you, or by seeking assistance online. I've compiled a great collection of international resources. If you're looking for a place to start, you can head to the podcast landing page, Alison The music you'll hear on today's podcast is from my ambient new age music trio, LM J, which is comprised of myself, my sister, Emma Anderson and her husband, John. I really hope you enjoyed today's episode. Thank you so much for coming on the podcast. Julian. It's a real pleasure to meet you.

It is so nice to be here. Yeah. And

it's funny. I feel like I kind of know I don't know you but I know so much about you through the memoirs that you've written. How did you first sort of get into writing?

Well, I have kept a journal since I was eight. So I always wrote always, like I had that, you know, muscle in place. But you know, I wanted to be an actor. I wanted to be director I want to be anything but a writer and it really took you know, a journey through some unusual places until I landed where I belong, you know, until I I said to myself, like, what is it that has been consistent in my life for all these years?

What do you think? What do you think you were sort of pushing back against the writing that you didn't sort of validate it really hard?

Really hard. It's, it's, it's hard to finish. It's hard to start. It's just hard. Like, if you can possibly choose anything else choose anything else?

Well, that makes sense. Yeah, that makes sense. And, and being a memoirist, it's, you're very, you're being very vulnerable, which I want to commend you for too, because the things that you're sharing, you know, people can relate to, and it opens these opportunities for conversations, which are really important. Did you find was that the first sort of style of writing that you went to? Like, I guess, because if you're journaling in your diary,

no, because I couldn't sell my first novel. Yeah. That's the memoir. To tell you the truth. I wanted nothing more than to never write that memoir. Yeah. Why to never write some girls, because I knew I knew was sensational. Like that it would get bought, very likely, you know, because I'm not the only woman who was over there. But, you know, I'm also a real writer. Yes. There are so many book clubs I go to where they're like, do you write your own book? I'm like, I'm the writer. Yeah. I'm not like a celebrity with a ghostwriter. Um, yeah, that's it. But it was really scary. And I knew what I was doing. And I tried very hard to eat much more New York curry. And that's always you know, how I saw myself, you know, at the Algonquin club or something, and I'm like, okay, given the times. And, you know, and they were like, nah, nah. And I had just gotten out of graduate school, and I started librarian school, I started to get my master's in library science, because I was starting to think like, you know, I need a plan B. And my husband was like, you know, when I said, I would support you through graduate school. That wasn't like, forever of graduate school. So, like, can you tell me what the plan is here? And, and I was like, you know, what gave me three months. Give me just give me three months, I have this one card left to play. And I talked to my agent. And you know, she's like, I can't sell this. I'm sorry. I love it. I can't sell it. And I was like, Well, you know, I've been thinking writing a memoir, this really interesting thing happened to me, I was the Mistress of the principle and I when I was a teenager, and she was like, what? Job was on the table, you know, like, how have you not told me this before? And I was like, I didn't want to write about it. That's why and, you know, and she was like, Well, do you genuinely feel like you're ready to write about it now? Like, consider all the consequences? Consider, you know, what it means to become memoirist. Consider you're going to be the heroine girl for the rest of her life. When she did you get to a certain point where you're like, okay, not so bad. Not so bad harem girl

but I that was actually a quote from one of the other women who was who was in printer, who I still keep in touch with and yeah, you know, she said, like, I mean, thank God, I just something crazy.

That's something like that. Not many people could say that. They've had an exciting experience like that. And it's such an exciting life.

There is definitely an element of, of edge pushing to my life. You know, I'm an adrenaline junkie. I'm super curious. I always want to see the things that people aren't looking at, you know, I want I want to see the man behind the curtain. Ilana, like, you know, just like I just have the urge to have that kind of bite out of life and it doesn't was winding up in the best places, you know. But it has given me some very interesting stories

the next memoir that I've read that you wrote was everything you ever wanted. Can you share with the viewers the sorry, not the viewers, the listeners, what that books about?

Everything You Ever Wanted is about the process of adopting my older son. He's 14 Now, his name is tariku. We call them T. And he was adopted from Ethiopia. And before that, we had an extensive history with infertility and that and miscarriages. A lot of miscarriages. We were just sort of reflecting on it the other day. Now that's so far in the past, and like, there was a minute, my period was late. And I was just like, oh, wow, like no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. Oh,

gosh, yeah, I do not have enough notice for this right now.

And we were just laughing and you know, of course, you know, we would have just accepted it as a blessing it was but yeah, and you know, whether it was miscarriage, just like period or whatever, like it hadn't happened in years. So we were reflecting on how painful that journey was. And, you know, now we have teenage boys, and it's not painful to me anymore, but I can remember.

Yeah, yeah, it felt like

and also like, your concerns get so different. Yeah, yeah. You know, try like listening with a glass trying to figure out who's a girlfriend? Yeah.

Yeah. Oh, gosh. Yeah.

Any wants to go to Annapolis? He must be like a navy combat pilot. Yeah, right. Yeah. No, and like, he's a whole person. But, you know, I wrote this book every day, I sat down and people criticize, I'm sure as you know, you know, people, women who talk about parenting, right about parenting, or podcasts about parenting mate material about parenting, like, we're exploiting our children. And I'm like, you know, parenting is as valid and experience you know, motherhood is as valid and experience as climbing Mount Everest, or anything else, or bagging groceries, or, you know, might be kowski worked at the post office. So what I was going through was early motherhood. And, you know, and adoption, which was, you know, really exciting, an interesting process, and I was dying to write about that. And, and our beautiful like, we consider our family that we met during that trip who really changed our life. We were there were nine families all together. And we really went through something together and not to like give any spoilers but for instance, they did our paperwork wrong. So we went through the whole week there and Addis transitioning him out of the orphanage you know how painful and difficult that was and of course I have 1000 funny stories about like, you know, like he's not pooping die people other people in the house that were already parents so they were Yeah, lets us but um you know, I mean, we all still keep in touch. Yeah, that's from and when our they had written your, we were like, supposed to adopt a child up to four years old. Like that. You You know, except they wrote four months old. Yeah. This the paperwork. So we're standing there like at the embassy, I am like, I have like the baby, and ergo, we're like ready to get on a plane the next day. There's nowhere to sit. It's just like, there's nowhere to go. Everyone else got their stuff. And they just kind of like walked away from us. And we were like

I mean, I was running around, like, it was, you know, like, like, there was like, an alarm that nuclear missiles were coming. Like, I was like, shaking people. They're like, where did that man go? That man who was right there? Where did that man go? Anyway, so the whole group had a chance to go home, you know, we would have had just stayed there. And they come back for us, obviously, we're going to stay there for a long time. And they all stayed with us.

Yeah, could pay for.

I mean, it was like, it was most unlikely group of friends. And we all still, you know, love each other kids still know each other's incredible process. So, you know, I wanted to write about that those friendships. And then, you know, realizing that T was, you know, had special needs. And there's been diagnosed and re diagnosed column what? calm a lot of things. You know, diagnoses aren't magic. They can just maybe help you communicate with people. Right? About what might help. You know, I mean, basically, everything. We're like, Alright, so for $5,000, you just told us exactly what we already know. Thank you so much. I'm just, you know, the screening, screening and just learning for me to settle into this, you know, acceptance, which we all do as mothers, but I'm like it, I am a very imaginative and a kind way to myself, but, you know, also sort of a controlling person, I would like to, I would like to, like, set the diorama stage and, you know, bring my baby home and have I done all the reading all the, you know, I had to like mill to do the organic baby food and shit. I was canning, I don't know what happened. I really doubt. But, you know, what, he didn't give a shit about organically milled anything. And anything, or, you know, and I was like, we're gonna make homemade bread. Um, and, you know, that wasn't what you wanted or needed. It was, you know, that was my idea. Yeah. Do you want a given what her need? Do you think that

some of that is sort of brought on by what, like society expects us mothers to be and the standard that they expect us to hold ourselves to? Yeah,

I mean, really, I mean, not all of it, because I'm a little hyperactive myself. So, you know, it's like, you know, Scott will say, like, you know, I'll, I'm writing an article about Tango. So I, all of a sudden, like, all do is Tango for two solid months, like, I'm out every night till two in the morning, smelling like Argentine gangsters when I come home, you know? And, and then article came out and like, I haven't dance.

And so, you know, it's like, I picked up on every, every parenting trend, every one of them, you know. And in Los Angeles, it's like, I mean, I imagine like in most major cities, you find you're sort of, you know, you have to find your sort of niche. If you want community to support us. So, you know, we had friends that were into Waldorf, we had friends that were into something called dry. I don't know if you know what that is. It's basically like, put your babies in an octagon and just like, let them work it out. Let the curiosity out. Okay. It's a new one for me. I went to this Oh, I mean, and the baby yoga and ever, and all these kids are like, you now and my kid just gets in there and just wants that toy. And Bob said, Can the head and takes it. And you're supposed to sit there and watch, right? That's like the whole idea of a thing. Like you don't interfere with their their growth or their interaction during the group. And at some point, I was just looking at, I was like, Do you guys want me to get my kid because he's gonna hurt your kids. Like, this is not a principle that works for everyone. You know, but everyone thinks the thing that not everyone, there plenty of people have had multiple experiences, you know, the thing that they find that whatever methodology of parenting or schooling, works for them is the only way and it's hard for me to explain to them, like, my kid would have been kicked out of a Waldorf school and a week, you know, and, like, the French school. Like, wouldn't just already knew that we're going to kick them out. But we are going to kick them out. Yeah, you know. So it was about that journey for me. And, you know, as all my books are, and people find it hard to be written about not t he loves that book. Yeah. But he, you know, he knows, he knows what happened, you know, and he knows sort of my version of it. And he has his version of it. And he's really proud of the book. And so my No, and that was my goal. When I wrote it. I was like, This is a gift to my son. Yeah, you know, I'm talking about all this stuff, warts and all. But this is a gift to my son, ultimately, that, you know, the first, like, almost three years of his life are really pretty. You know, like, the major points are pretty well documented in that book. And I would hope that you know, that that that'll be special to him someday. Jovi's book coming, I'm like, No, I'm so done. Do you might get an essay, like second child syndrome Yeah.

You just mentioned JB, how old? Is he idea? Yeah. So he, he came to you in a slightly different way was through. Right.

So we adopted tea from Ethiopia when he was 11 months old. We thought, you know, Ethiopia would be a great choice again, because there's so much you know, it's a rich culturally, and he's really into it. And, you know, there were no more adoptions happening in Ethiopia at the time. I was just going over there and doing kind of grassroots work in communities and, and, and orphanages and stuff. So, I mean, that was best I could do like to be close to his culture, but we'd have to Jovie out of the foster care system here. DCFS. And we had really, we knew that the likelihood of black boys being adopted after the age of two, I mean, the likelihood of Blackboard is being adopted at all. But after the age of two, like it's almost nothing. Percentages are so low. And we had been through so much with T. And he was really kind of out the other side of it by then. I mean, he's still like struggling attention and stuff. But you know, he wasn't. I mean, now, like I said, you you would never guess.

Yeah, yep.

No, it was just like, I'm like, here's the perfect. Here's the perfect example. She the minute I open Christmas ornaments for the first time. And he looked at them, he just picked one. Just a ball looks like a ball rather than the wall. Oh, yeah. goes in like tiny shards, a really thin glass all over the living room. Yeah. Joe V, we adopted to DCFS because, like, we felt really moved by that. And also, we thought like, if not us, then who? I mean, really, we've been through so much. We have these resources. You know, like, we have resources for another child. And we have resources for, you know, therapy with like, no, the best therapists we have done all this training. And, um, and it was still so scary. Yeah. You really, really scary, like Skarner those, you know, we both have, we're both prayerful people. We don't often pray together. There have been only like a handful of times in our life. And we come from different traditions. So like, pray differently. But like after the first time, we met Jovi, and we realized he couldn't really talk. You know, like, half his mouth was all rotted out. I changed his diaper stone diapers. I mean, he was wearing a size two, us three and a half. Like, there was no hand soap in the house. He was getting the shit beat out of him by older kids. And it was really scary. You know, and we pulled the car over and just like, held hands and just prayed for guidance and and, you know, and sad sat there for a minute together. And he turned and looked to me and he said, you know, someone's gotta believe in someone's on time. Live Let's believe in this kid. It's making that's yeah. Oh, yeah. Such an asshole. Sometimes she really nails it like the times that he nails it, he nails it. One of them someone's gonna believe in someone sometime. And you know, and the first months with Jovi for us were like, we would just hold him while he screamed and scream and like, sweat was covering his body. Like he was so slick. Like, we were like, human hold on to him. And you know, who's screaming cry, he would lie under the bed. Like, I would just go and kind of lie next to the bed. Like, I'm just here. You know, we're gonna talk. Like you didn't even have any words. You didn't know a cow said Moo. Yeah, and 123 or ABC, you know? So not only is he in this totally unfamiliar environment doesn't understand why. Um, he only now barely understands why. Yeah, wrap his head around what happened? You know, the events life that led us here. And he's only just starting to ask. But yeah, it was like, I mean, he was always so funny. Yeah. So funny. And so adorable. I mean, all these are survival skills, you know, the same way like a big shining bright star. Um, and you know, in, in traumatic situations for children, they'll often get really big and now there'll be the one that gets the attention. Or the one that gets more food maybe or the one that you know. Yeah, yeah, so Jovi. I'm thinking it really started to turn around for us. Like three years ago, you know, we took him to, he got an autism diagnosis, we took him to a really specialized preschool that was almost like one on one. Yeah. And there were like, only five kids in the class. And you know, it was specifically for kids with autism. For the most part, you know, or symptoms presenting that way. And we had to attend with him for like, the first six months. I know. I know. Like, you are fucking with me right now. Like, I can't even drop this kid off at autism preschool. Like, what do you do here? Please, God, someone helped me. But it was amazing. It totally changed things. He did, you know, he matriculated in kinder, and we had a really supportive school, really supportive Public Charter School, who love the kids and aren't scared. They, they're not scared of a diagnosis. They're, they do IEPs, which are individualized education programs, if your kid needs, you know, because every kid is supposed to get the education they need. And so they do their own IPs. They have great people who work with Jovi and he plays a violin and he dances and he knows how to take breaks. And I mean, he is he's brilliant. He's working at and above grade level. Yeah, like you told me the other day like I don't want to be in this baby math class anymore. failing math class. School is not necessarily separated by grade all the time. Like they'll have like a b and c mat and and like they might have kids from different grades in like who are just at that level of math right. So I you know, I called the school I was like me, can we have a meeting because Joby feels like he's in the baby math class? And they're like, Joby, you are the youngest person in your class. You're not in the baby math class, and you're not ready for the next one. But what a what a miracle.

Oh, yeah. It's, it's wonderful, isn't it?

Yeah, I love soccer. He loves our animals. Yeah. And the trauma stuff, it's all there. No, and for both of them,

it comes out. At different times, there are different triggers, like the job aids, a lot of medical stuff, hospitals, things like that. Like

we had to take them to the hospital, he had a really high fever and hell get bronchial stuff. It changed the hospital recently, and that check blood and he for two days was like, a one year old. You know, if you progress you know, and so different things would trigger it. And it'll come popping up but I mean, I don't think about it every minute of every day anymore.

Yeah, yeah. That's pretty cool. So it's I mean, you you've been through so much. And you know, I think it's like it's a credit to yourself and to Scott that, you know, you've got so much love to give your children and you know, like you said you've done certain training like you've learned how to assist them when they need it and it's just it's a joy like you're experiencing now. You know, the other side of it. It's wonderful

Jovi when his soccer game, even though I had to pay I have six. You know, I'm just like, you're supposed to like it just being an all star team is just parent torture. Like I made all stars.

Yay. Yeah, we have to do

I have to like drive an hour 630 On a Sunday. But um, how old are your kids?

So Alex, he's 14 and Digby seven. So if we ever get, but I can relate to the likes. Yeah, yeah. Oh, yeah. But yeah, degrees just started playing tennis and it's the first time we've had any either child play a Saturday morning sport. So we're like, geez, we did want to get out of it for this. Now. Now I do. Yeah.

Got like, I pulled the curtains at six this morning. You know what Soccer League?

is what I think about you cycling Yeah. Nik, I know you've you said before we started recording, you've been talking a lot about your serial killers and things. But I sort of without talking specifically too much about that. But I want to talk about how it's affected you as a mother. It's pretty full on.

It has been, it has been really hard. And I can't say I feel like I have an answer for you. That worked. Yeah, no, I was totally successful. Because everyone in my family was affected by me working on that story. You know, and it happened like that, like at the very end of it. When everyone was like, like, this is like enough of this poison in our lives, even though the work I was doing was so amazing and wonderful and gratifying in terms of the victims. Like, I was talking on speakerphone to a serial killer every single day. And then COVID hit, and everyone's in the house all the time. Yeah. And so like, it's not that big of a house. I can know and it echoes and stuff and like, and they know who they know what I do. And they know who I'm talking to it. Like, I mean team more than Jovi, you know, but T asks and I answer and I say you know, this is like, disturbing. disturbs me. And I love that you're curious because like Alaska, how they solve the case or something. Like I love that you're curious. I love talking about this stuff. But like also do you want to talk about how it makes you feel? Yeah, yeah, yeah, Mama dog bite out makes me feel that, you know, he's like, he's like junior detective. So like, he'll get into the, you know, is a really good linear critical thinker. So like, he'll get into the, like, the stories leads and stuff with me, but I'm really, you know, it, it affected the most, because I wasn't around the piece that involves a lot of traveling. And it was just also present involved like me working 12 to 14 hours a day. So I wasn't around. And I was like an on hyper vigilance. Getting these calls from a serial killer every day. Yeah. Um, and you know, which was both for audio content for the documentary and stuff, but it was mostly, you know, to have a record of the kind of details I was getting from him to give to law enforcement. Because like I work very closely with law enforcement during the scene. Um, little case, because like I had his year, you know? Or he had my year end in a case. Yeah. Um, so I wasn't around a lot. I was when I look back, I can see it more than I saw then that like, my anger was coming out. Yeah. You know, because it's like they can deal with sadness. And just like if if you're crying, they don't mommy cries like that. It's like a joke. Mommy cries, right. Like, like, if there's ever a scene in a movie that's sad. Like, like, I mean, don't even talk to me about Mallanna. Okay. Ana has like four huge crime moments

like to and you get over him fast, but Mallanna. So they'll be like, are you crying and crying? But I think I was. I was angry. No. And that was coming out in a way that I am from New York, I'm sarcastic. i If you have dinner with my family, you are going to have to, like raise your decibel level to get heard. Um, you know, and like, we razz each other all the time. And it just, it's an East Coast thing. It's just it's just how my family is. Oh, do I know my biggest parenting tip? Yeah. You want to know how to get your kids to not swear? Swear all the time? Really? I mean it. Yeah. And brown who's also whose parenting counselor says the same thing. She has a really filthy mouth. You know, like, Fuck was every other word. My house. So you know, I'm like, sorry, Mommy's not gonna go changing and this is parents don't talk like that do they don't?

You're listening to the art of being a mom was my mom, Alison Newman. Yeah, that's the thing is that like you? You talked about that anger. And I guess that's thing you're processing all your emotions that you're going through, and you're speaking to this man and finding out all these things and, and dealing with the families of, of people that he's harmed. And then you're trying to process that

volume of it. Overwhelming. I mean, there were 93 confessions. Like it's hard enough to deal with one. That's just you can't fathom, like sort through this. I mean, I had 40 notebooks, it was glitzy making. And I think that, you know, what I didn't have was that tiny bit of extra space. Like, that was there for a really long time. That could always like make a beautiful dinner, you know, and just like reconnect, or sit and watch movie with Jovi or play cards or something. And like, you know, I wound up just like, shoveling soup into my mouth in front of the computer for you know, I mean, years. So we're just sort of trying to get a routine back here. Yeah,

yeah. Yeah. But I do want to sort of shine a light on the work that you've done. It didn't commend you for that. And thank you for that. Because it's such important work and obviously the families of the women would be incredibly grateful for the work that you've done.

I mean, I I know that you know, I know them I mean, not, you know, there were a few victims into which I did a really deep dive, and then a few victims that I helped solve the cases. And when I saw it from top to bottom, I figured out it was in a different jurisdiction. Yeah. And, and with that, I was able to find some articles that look like they matched, and that I went to the place. And it was exactly what Sam described. And you know, and I was, and that was Alice. And I'm really close with Alice's family. They came to town, her sister came to town with her two nieces. You know, they, they took me out to lunch. And, you know, like, they said that until they realized, like, until I called them and told them, you know, and I do it very, very slowly, like, the Navier sisters come up in some of my research. You know, and would you like to know anything about it? And then I'll, you know, I'll give him a chance to say no, I don't want to hear that. Yeah.

Yeah, that's it. It's not like you just bled all. Even with

Debbie with Alice's sister. You know, she asked for a couple of days. And, and as a journalist, you're like, you know,

you want to like you just have this instinct and this training to like, never walk away you walk away and give someone a couple days, then they're gonna decide not to talk to you. Yeah, that's right. Then if you let anyone think about it, they're gonna do it. She actually called me back and was like, okay, like I'm ready to talk about this I talked about with my kids talked about it with my husband. Like I'd like to hear everything you have I'm a member of the military and I'm have a very strong backbone and you know Tamera thing and and she's just remarkable and then Denise brothers, I went to Odessa, Texas just like drove there on my own and you know, and her family like welcomed me into their kitchen and showed me their pictures and love letters and you know Audrey Nelson's daughter and I do think that my kids understand that I mean, regardless of you know Sam little not being the last project of my life you know, we're gonna move on I will stay in this field continuing to find missing persons and you know just get it out there as much as I can and restore names to women who have been lost

Yeah, good on you

system etc.

Yeah, I'm with you know,

they're gonna they're gonna have to get behind.

On that is it do you find that it's important that your children see you as more than a library air quotes is just mom because we're never just mom but that you're also contributing so much with your work that you're doing and your writing and your investigation.

I imagine that their feelings about it are going to change over time. You know, Jovi will say things like you're always working mad like made me feel horrible. I don't know what they'll think and I don't think It's I think it's important that your kids see that you're leading a meaningful and engaged life. You know, there's no such thing as just mom. You know, if you're meaningful and engaged, and your primary you know, your primary activity is taking care of your children, you know, then I think that that would be wonderful and nurturing. And at the same time, that's not me. I was never gonna give up my career. You know? And, like, T asked me a few days ago, because I was like, Oh, over there baby pictures. I don't know why there was some out. Yeah. And there's, but we're both the cutest thing in the world. And, and, you know, of course, like all kids always want to hear about how cute they were when they're babies. And when the funny things they said, and they love their own mythologies. And he said, Well, you know, did you like it better? Or we got a new puppy. And he said, did you like better? Having a baby or having a teenager? And I said, How many teenager? Yeah, you know, and he was like, what? Like, how would you say like, I guess I was supposed to say, you know, I love him all like all those years. But I didn't. Like, I liked them. I mean, it's not like I liked them more. Now. I just liked my life more now. If they consider a restaurant, or I like our life as a family more now we went to a friend of mines been named spa the other day, and they were able to sit through the whole ceremony and I almost you could have knocked me over with a feather. Yeah. And and they're both like, into their things. And they're super interesting. And like, I don't have to, you know, be the party clown all day. My mother never understood, like, this parenting generation at all. She was like, What are you doing? What are you talking about? Because I was like, No, I gotta go this group and that group in this group in that group. She's like, can you just give them a choo choo? And like, put them in a play pen? What? Go home at Virginia slam and have a bottle of red wine

which is just like your own nuts. You don't? Then but then again, you know, I did go and walk the route that I used to walk to school. Last time I was home and I was like, trying to get me killed. Seriously, that is a lonely path through a dark wood. Oh, no joke. It's got to be something in between, you know, but

yeah, that battle, you know, now

now that they're into their own things. I mean, of course, you know, I love babies and love baby smell. I love other people's babies. I love my grandbabies. Hopefully one day. But that's nice. I tell them the truth. And it was like, Oh, you're so horrible. I could do say that. Like,

personnel and I really like you. Yeah. And see, that's the thing. I don't think there's anything wrong with being honest with your children. Like, you know, we don't have to sugarcoat everything and make, you know, pleat. People please another night just can be honest with them and life's great now, you know, like, you'd be happy about that. I think that, you know, at the same time, I like to try and be conscious of, you know, I mean, maybe like the totally honest me is, is not to me, my kids need Yeah, like Vanita mitigated me, like so does everybody know I'm on to me, like full force. But, you know, they definitely bring like a consciousness to how I talk, you know, and, like, I know, I know that when I do it right. And don't like, you know, shames Graeme, all that stuff. When I do it right, and like, you know, have a conversation. I mean, there have been times like it actually worked recently. Yeah. Like, you're gonna have to learn to put your clothes away. Like, I'm not like I will, they will sit here in a pile until you do like you want to go to the Navy. By the way, get up and do some push up. Yeah. Oh, close away. So

yeah, that sounds very similar to my son, he's wants to be in the army but never makes his bed fixed. Like, hang on a sec, that's not gonna cut it.

You know, I, I think that he's been starting to be able to hear it. Like thinking about his future a little bit. That's been the biggest difference this year. He's 14, you know? And I've been like, Listen, I need you to hear me because you're like college, this in college, that when I'm in college, and I was like, colleges doesn't happen magically. Um, and we can't pay for a private college for two children for four years. Like, who can't who can't write. So I was like, we're gonna have to think creatively. You know, I don't want you in debt for the rest of your life, either. You know, so let's start to really think about this, you know, what scores do you need to get into what schools and and then you know, and all he wants airplanes, airplanes, air. And just like one day, I was like, What about the Air Force Academy? And he was just like, Huh. Like I was doing for ROTC program, which is like, where they start doing, like some military training when they're still in high school. Like, Yeah, boy scouts, but soldiers.

Yeah, right. Yeah.

And he was like, Huh. So then he got on to that. And then, you know, I started finding out about the Navy pilots, Annapolis, and then, you know, we worked up going to and we called my friend who was a pilot. And, and he said, you know, is there such a thing? Is there really such a thing as Top Gun? And my friend was like, There absolutely is. It's not called that. It's called, like, the flight defense superveloce Law, some stupid thing, like somebody in Hollywood camp, a Top Gun. But it isn't an absolutely real thing. And he said, but you're not going to get into it. It's like, the top 1% of fliers in the country. And, you know, it's like getting into Harvard, or like, you know, becoming president or something. Like, it's not quite that hard, but, you know, is, but it's like getting into Harvard. It's like, yeah, and, you know, the, the likelihood is, you won't get it. And you said, okay, you know, and they talked more and blah, blah, blah. And, you know, we were just talking I was like, so how does that make you feel? You know, when he says it's impossible? And he was like, um, I don't know. I was like, because when someone tells me something's impossible, it kind of makes me feel like proving them wrong. And I just watched his eyes light up. And oh, no, this one my friends. It's like pitching for the Dodgers. Right? Or like joining the NBA. Ya know, and I was like, you know, what, you you're 14. We know you're not pitching for the Dodgers. Sorry. You're not You're very good pitcher. But you're not pitching for the Dodgers. You know, and you're not in MBA either. That's not going to happen. I was like, but we don't know. What if you're, if you are going to be in the NBA of fliers. Pilots like you very well could be like the the amount of time he puts in on the flight simulator. And I was like, so. I mean, we could have a lot of different plans. But if that's what you want to do, let's go for it. You know, Oh yeah, that's awesome. It's so fun, you know, and then to have them be like, Yeah, I'm gonna be the Dodger pitchers of combat pilot.

Good on him. So,

it's really thrilling. It's really fun. I try not to get like, too excited though or like, show it about anything they're into. You know, because moms are not cool by their nature.

Don't embarrass them.

You tell me what you think, like this generation of kids are really different from me, like when my parents were 35 they were old people. Like they were total grownups. You know, who like stockbroker housewife, dinner parties, grownups and kids were like, you know, listen through from the upstairs. Um, and, like, and, and there was this combativeness between, you know, like, you make yourself like Adley and punk rock clothes are listening to punk rock music, or my parents really a hidden problem with that, like, why? Yeah, it seems like such such a tiny thing to sacrifice a relationship with your child for, um, but they were just raised by different people. But like, our friends, our group of friends and our kids, like, all hang out together.

Yeah, it's definitely different. Like, I remember the same thing like Mum and Dad would have, they had, we had a passage door that sort of divided the living area and the bedrooms. And that whenever we went to bed that would always be shut, and we'd hear the, they'd be out there with their friends. And we could We'd sneak to the door and listen, you know, it's just, I feel like, like, us, our, our parenting styles have changed so much that we include our children in so much more now. And I think that also allows us to, I don't know, I don't wanna say not grow up, because we, you know, we physically grow up, but we were still ourselves. We don't have to take on this role of the big serious parents that you know, blah, blah, blah. You know, and

that's also not me. You know, like, I mean, you know, entail I was doing some really serious journalism and traveling, like, the Deep South and stuff, and I took my hair back now, I had blue hair till just a few years ago. And man T would like be on the road and get our hair done together and matching blue hair. And it was just like, you know, how fun and also like, we don't listen to all that much different music than they do. Yeah. Yeah. Like, we're into superhero movies.

I love Star Wars. So was his number one. Yeah. And that's driven by me.

We are Marvel Universe here. Yeah. Yeah. All about Marvel. Yeah. We are like we already have tickets for Black Panther opening. Yeah, it's like, we're not that. I mean, now you know, T likes to just talk to his friends on the phone. Actually, one of his friends is going to show up any minute. But um, nice talk to his friends, you know, and just on his iPads I mean, he could do it all day long. So it's not like he wants to hang around us all the time. But like, we had a couple of nerf wars lately. Yeah. And you're my husband is veteran and a lot of our friends are also veterans. So they are extraordinarily serious about like, organizing the teams and you had to like each have a little, you know, space and you gotta go get the flag and get back and if you get hit twice, whatever. Yeah, um, you know, but like, they wanted the parents to play. Yeah. Last the last birthday party. We went to parents played kids in kickball. Yep. And great. Yeah. It's like, you know, like, parents versus kids. Like, I don't think. I mean, when I was 14, are you kidding? Like, yeah, it'd be just no way. Hey, we hated them. And we they wouldn't play kickball. Are you kidding? We're like busy smoking at the mall.

Yeah, it's good. It's great. I'm so pleased. Like, I feel like I've got a really good relationship with my 14 year old like he, you know, we're very close. And it's really good. And I hope it stays that way. As he gets out of

me, it goes up and down. You know, my 14 year old and I've always, we're both stubborn. And we've come to blows for sure. I'm not actual blows. But yeah. You know, we like to say lock horns. Yeah. And so, you know, it's been kind of up and down. But right now, I'm just enjoying them a lot. Yeah. So it's kind of them and they're trying, you know, we've been just sort of talking about how, you know, we all need help. And they're old enough now. To like, participate, you know, their babies, like, they don't need to be taken care of every single second of every day. And, you know, and that we're all participating in this house in this life. And we have to, like, act politely toward each other. And you know, not have to be asked seven times to put on your shoes or to go to bed or to like, it's just it's time for that all to stop

now. Yeah. I can relate to that so much. Yeah.

And put in the laundry away. And, you know, it's just yeah. And like we took Jovi to soccer game this morning and left to home alone. Yep. And I was just like, one. And Scott was like, He's 14. He's fine. He'll wake up, make his breakfast. He knows where we're going. You know, back in two hours. Yeah. And I was like, oh my god, I guess I was babysitting when I was 12. Yeah, right. Yeah. You know, so I think they're like, the kids are kind of younger now too. Yeah. I mean, little group and this little school. Very thankful for. Yeah. I told you that I I left home and went to college when I was 16. I did. And, and he's like, that doesn't sound like a very good idea. Oh, man, I was like, You know what, you are exactly correct. That was not a very good. I know, he said, Where was it? And I was like, it's it was in New York. It was in in Greenwich Village in New York. And he was like, you were living in New York when you were 16 That doesn't sound like a very good idea. Oh. And I was like, Yeah, you know why? Because then I told him I sneak out of the house and take the bus into New York. I was like, you don't have to do that you like you're like I'm gonna go to a concert dad gets on the phone with his manager. You know, obviously if you guys have a box you know, I You really don't have any reason

to get out of the house. Yeah. on that, but I can't let you go without mentioning. You've mentioned Scott a few times and his connection to music, that he's the bass player for Weezer, and full disclosure, I'm a massive what he's a fan. I've got my little ways of paying for the fair club. And I've seen him sing them twice. They've come to Australia a couple of times, but my, I've got to share with you my funniest Weezer story was when they first came out, I think it was 96 or 97. And I just started going out with, like, my husband, obviously, we weren't married then. And we were playing in Adelaide, which is five hours drive from here. And I said to him, I really want to go see this band. And my favorite band, like this sweater song was out. It was blue Album Era. And he said, Ah, you know, if they're big band, they'll they'll come back again soon, you know, we'll go next time, you know. Anyway, 14 years later, I waited 14 years to see them play in Melbourne, and I'm lying.

Now I just got to the same thing that they hadn't been to us ever wanted to go so badly. And it was actually, like, one of the times that he was like, you know, I'd like to stay here a little longer. Like, there's some beach. That's supposed to be like, really cool.

Is this Sydney? Or like Bondi Beach in Sydney? Maybe?

Yeah, yeah, that sounds right. Yeah. And he's like, I just want to go like, stay there for apps like do, please. You know, but it was like, too long of a flight for tea at that time. Yeah. Everywhere.

Yeah. So I was gonna say I saw on your socials that he went on the last tour. With the band. Yeah. It's so great

to juvie. Yeah, and it's perfect. Kind of for now. You know, like, I can go and fly to the shows in like, major cities that we want to see. Or, like, I have my own career. I've taken two kids on tour. Bus Tour, like three times, like, months of living on a bus. As just like, I'm gonna, like put out a shingle and start telling fortunes or something like, I I can't do this anymore. You've done the hard work. Laughing like, you've been less schlepping now because they're old. But the schlepping of the baby crap. Yeah, yes. It's like That's the worst part. Yeah, that's why I hate the beach.

Yeah, there's so much stuff. There is so much stuff. Yeah, I can relate to that.

Yeah, then like, you know, you've to date the car seat. The car Student Oh my

god. Yeah. Yeah, there's so much to consider

last you are new mothers out there.

That's something I don't miss. I'll tell you.

Neither, but then, you know, I look at the baby pictures. And I go. I'm a monster. About these angels.

Yeah. Look, I'll thank you so much for coming on. Julian. It's been such a pleasure chatting with you.

And you too, and we'd be happy to be in touch again.

Oh, thank you. And just before you go, do you want to share is it you've got to your books coming out my book,

Behold, the monster is coming out another thing next July. Um, and there is also a documentary called confronting a serial killer that's streaming on most major networks right now. That's about me. Like it's limited, you know, five one hour episodes directed by Joe burrow injure and it's just about my relationship with Sam and and solving some of the cases. And super excited for the book. I'll be around talking a lot about crime. And strangely enough, you know, even moms have interests beyond macaroni collages Yes. We were true crime fans. Um, we're just like this part is relaxing. Are you getting turned on the DOM or documentary? You know, my website, Julian You can find everything there. I'm on Instagram actually and Lauren I'm on Tik Tok. Don't even ask. They talked me into it. It's kind of fun. It's really fun. Yeah, I haven't gotten you don't you have to do this mom. Like you have to do this. Or you're just not anything.

Get with the time.

Not going anywhere. Mom's ticked off. Anyway, good. Just Julie and Everything's there and preorder the books. Great.

Yay. Thank you so much, and all the best and yeah, I'd love to chat again one day and yeah, keep doing what you're doing and and say hi to Scott for me.

Yes, and go see Weezer. It's

great. Thanks for your company today. If you've enjoyed this episode, I'd love for you to consider leaving us a review, following or subscribing to the podcast, or even sharing it with a friend who you think might be interested. If you or someone you know would like to be a guest on the podcast. Please get in touch with us via the link in the show notes. I'll catch you again next week for another chat with a Nazi stick mum

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