All posts filed under: Ten Questions Archive

Ten Questions for Grace Talusan

RAISING MOTHERS:     What inspired you to tell this story? GRACE TALUSAN:     I wrote this book out of an urgent desire to not be alone with my story. Over many years, I wrote short essays and pieces that eventually became my first book, THE BODY PAPERS, and it has been wonderful to connect with readers of my writing, but even before I had readers, I felt less alone from the act of writing itself. I also felt an ethical responsibility to tell the truth.  RAISING MOTHERS:     What did you edit out of this book? GRACE TALUSAN:     Because I was writing memoir, I wanted to be careful when I was writing about other people, especially the children in my life. I would ask myself what was really necessary in order to tell my story. If I was going to reveal a detail about someone else, how did that work in service to the story I was telling? I also asked myself why I was telling a certain story. There …

Gone Like Yesterday | Ten Questions for Janelle Williams

RAISING MOTHERS:     What inspired you to tell this story?  JANELLE WILLIAMS:     I was largely inspired by my obsession with music, specifically Black music. I also feel like there’s this tightrope that Black Americans walk. On one side, there’s fighting for the cause and uplifting the Black community at large. On the other side, there’s living a soft life and building generational wealth for your nuclear family. What happens if you’re pulled too far in one direction? Either way, you lose yourself. At least, that’s sort of what happened to Zahra and Derrick. Also, of course, my experience working with high school seniors on their college essays had a profound impact on the novel and the two central teenage characters, Sammie and Sophia. RAISING MOTHERS:     What did you edit out of this book? JANELLE WILLIAMS:     I added more to the book than I took out during the editing process. I added sections in the beginning of the novel to deepen the bond between Sammie and Zahra and to …

Ten Questions for Cinelle Barnes

RAISING MOTHERS:     What inspired you to tell this story? CINELLE BARNES:     My debut memoir came about while I was in the throes of postpartum depression and needing a repository for all the memories that started to well up when my daughter was born. I was in individual and group therapy, and in both, writing was recommended as a healing practice. I first tried writing for and to myself, with no intention of making the work public, let alone profitable. I began by writing on index cards every time I sat down to nurse my baby…a word, a line, a paragraph at a time… and by the time she was walking, I had three shoeboxes full of these index cards–what would become the synopsis and annotated table of contents for Monsoon Mansion.  RAISING MOTHERS:     What did you edit out of this book?` CINELLE BARNES:     After I signed with an agent, it took me another year or so to complete the manuscript. When the first round was done, my agent believed …

The Mamas | Ten Questions for Helena Andrews

RAISING MOTHERS:     What inspired you to tell this story?  HELENA ANDREWS:     “The Mamas” was born out of hilarity, frustration, and new mom exhaustion. When I had my first daughter in 2017 then joined the prison gang otherwise known as my neighborhood mom group, I could not get over how ridiculous and white everything was. Baby yoga? Music class for seven-week-olds? WTF and also sign me up. Since writing is the only way I know how to process things, including my personal struggle with this all consuming new identity, I began writing notes to myself about the entire experience of being an extra Black mom in gentrified spaces. I knew other women were having the same double-take moments but I’d never read anything about it, so I wrote it. RAISING MOTHERS:     What did you edit out of this book? HELENA ANDREWS:     Honestly? Not much. I’ve written four books now, including two of my own memoirs, and my literary motto is “leave it all on the page.” But because …