Claire Fontaine is the co-author with her daughter Mia of Come Back: A Mother & Daughter’s Journey Through Hell & Back (Harper). An unflinching true account of a teenage girl’s dizzying, drug-fueled descent into society’s underbelly and a mother’s desperate and ultimately successful attempts to bring her back, it is a riveting, lively, and often humorous tale of triumph over adversity and of the hero that lies within each of us. Their follow-up book, Have Mother, Will Travel (Morrow Avon), follows the pair as they set off on a five-month adventure through twenty cities and twelve countries: an extraordinary, often hilarious journey that includes mishaps, mayhem, and unexpected joys, from a passport-eating elephant in Malaysia to the lavender fields of France, where they finally make peace with their tumultuous past. Claire and Mia have been sharing what they learned from their extraordinary experiences, speaking at child advocacy organizations, schools and universities, Jewish groups, and writers’ conferences across the country.
Claire and Mia have appeared on ABC’s Good Morning America, Montel, The O’Reilly Factor, and were featured in Family Circle, Glamour, Ok!, Women’s World, and First Magazine. The recipients of the 2007 Dr. Richard Carmona Doorway of Hope Award for work that inspires youth to leave the street, they continue to receive rave reviews for the moving, inspiring and life-changing speeches they give across the country. They can be booked together or separately.
In talks, Claire shares a parent’s worst nightmare: having to save three-year-old Mia first from an abusive father, then a decade later from Mia, herself dealing with her manipulative, drug-fueled behavior and repeated disappearances, each time to do worse things with worse people, criminals finally. The only thing left would be death, hers or someone else’s. Claire’s search for Mia was brutal for both of them, a dizzying series of dead ends, incredible coincidences and, at times, miracles across three states. Desperate to save Mia, Claire ultimately forced her only child into a harsh-but-loving boot camp school in Eastern Europe, later in Montana that did save Mia’s life.
Claire and Mia’s story is a powerful portrayal of the primal bond between mother and daughter that will resonate with audiences long after they’ve left the theater.
Claire has worked as a screenwriter with award-winning directors and producers for several years, and has degrees in design, art history and film. When not writing at home, she can be found writing in libraries, cafes, and park benches across Europe. She looks forward to returning to fiction in historic novels that take place where science, art, and love intersect.
Praise for Claire and Mia's Speaking Events:
".. . it's very difficult on a Friday night to hold the attention of 800 people and [Claire and Mia] did it! Our attendees' response was overwhelming after they spoke. These two beautiful women stand in front of everyone, women that do not look like they have ever had any issues, and proceed to tell a very intense and heartfelt story and end on such a wonderful note. . . book them, you will love them!"
-- Jill Krigsten, Event Chair, Doorway of Hope Award Dinner, Homebase Youth Services
". . There were 400+ professionals in attendance, including teachers, psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, counselors and parents. Words cannot adequately express the impact [Claire and Mia] had on our organization. . . During their one-hour talk, you could have heard a pin drop in the conference center. They were riveting and inspirational. They reminded us of the work we do. . . We have hosted many presenters at Kidspeace over the past twenty-five years and none have had the immediate impact that Claire and Mia Fontaine have had. Their visit here was a breath of fresh air."
-- Jodi Campbell, Supervisor of Public Education, Clinical Training and Development, Kidspeace Institute
"It was an incredible evening! We had three generations (students, their mothers, and grandmothers) - many of whom had barely known one another - discussing the book, parenting, and every other topic imaginable. . . [Claire and Mia's] presentation was delightful and engaging. One could hear a pin drop throughout our audience of over 300 guests. . . Claire and Mia had made a deep connection with the audience."
-- Elizabeth Young, Event Chair, Nova Southeastern University Literary Luncheon
Audience Praise for Claire and Mia:
"Immediately useful and relevant to my work and daily interactions."
"Warm, open, and honest -- a joy to hear!"
"Fabulous! Would love to hear more from them in the future."
"Very insightful feedback to audience members."
"Very engaged with the group and very relevant to my work and to parenting."
"I learned about the child's feelings, fears and behaviors during and after abuse - also what motivates their anti-social, drug-seeking, defiant, untrusting, introverted behaviors, feelings and thoughts."
Praise for Come Back:
"Come Back is a testament to the power of the love between a mother and daughter."
-- New York Times Book Review
"Best Mother-Daughter Memoir"
"We strongly recommend this powerful mother-daughter memoir. . . Intense, shocking, and ultimately triumphant..."
-- Barnes & Noble (April '06 Favorite New Biography Pick)
"A nightmarish saga of a teenage runaway in L.A. ends triumphantly. . . Mia's desperate diary entries appear between Claire's lively, angry; sarcastic narrative, allowing mother and daughter to maintain a heart-wrenching, honest dialogue."
-- Publishers Weekly
"A rare visceral reading experience, Come Back is an unflinching look at the devastating effects of one girl's childhood trauma on both her and her mom. Besides offering lessons in living, loving, and accepting responsibility that could benefit every reader, Come Back is above all a testament to the power and resilience of the complex, primal love between mother and daughter."
-- Edwin John Wintle,author of Breakfast with Tiffany: An Uncle's Memoir
"Come Back is a powerful and moving story of two brave women who struggled through darkness into the light. Beautifully written and inspiring, it speaks compellingly to women of all ages. This is an extremely important book."
-- Susan Forward, co-author of Men Who Hate Women and The Women Who Love Them
"Once I started reading, I could not put the book down. . . an amazing testament to a private kind of heroism undertaken by both Claire and Mia; namely, the pain-staking work of defining one's own life's story, assuming accountability for one's choices, and the liberation that results. . ."