- Why did you choose to begin the story immediately following the abortion, rather than when Genesis is making the decision whether or not to have the abortion?
I never wanted there to be any question whether she would go through with it or not. Taking this angle, I hope to reinforce that there are lots of women who have already made the choice, and it doesn’t mean they have to walk around with the weight of stigma. It’s a choice that people have made, are making, and will make. And life continues. This story is about life continuing.
- Why did you incorporate theater into the telling of the story?
Theater and performance have always been a big part of my life. It can be a powerful way to heal and grow. In the book, Genesis has to rediscover her love for theater as part of her healing process.
- What is the biggest takeaway you hope a reader will have?
I think the biggest takeaway is in the tagline: “It’s what we do after the hurt that matters.” You can never fully prepare for what life will throw at you. And once it does get to you, it’s okay to make mistakes as you figure things out. What gets you through at the end of the day is caring for yourself, and the people you surround yourself with. Like Genesis, I get through the toughest times with the aid of my superhero girlfriends.
- What’s your favorite book of 2017 so far and why?
I’m going to say your book, But Then I Came Back, for its beautiful, skin-melting prose. I didn’t feel obligated to say so! 🙂 I’ll also say that my favorite non YA book this year is Exit West by Mohsin Hamid. I felt like I was eating each sentence, and then having to hold my heart from the emotional depth.
- For the writers out there, what’s your best piece of writing advice?
My best piece of writing advice is to not be hard on yourself when you’re not writing. I do believe that discipline is important, but we all spend so much time getting down on ourselves for what we’re not doing. If you’re not doing, then go live. Go for a walk. Go eat something you’ve never tried. Go dance in the other room with the music on full blast. All that stuff makes its way back into the writing.
- For people who have suffered any kind of trauma, what is your best aftercare instruction?
I think the best aftercare instruction after suffering a trauma is to be patient with yourself and the healing process. My most common advice to friends is probably: go easy on yourself. There are so many stages to healing, and you have to live each one. While you’re being patient, make sure that you have someone to talk to as well. You don’t have to go through it alone.
For more on Bonnie Pipkin, please visit her at bonniepipkin.com or follow her on twitter at @bonnie_pipkin