Ebooks are becoming more and more popular but there are still many people who prefer printed books.
All book on this hop are physical, printed books. My contest is for two copies (one for you and one for your best friend) of Autobiography of Us by Aria Beth Sloss.
1. In a recent interview about the novel with Publishers Weekly, you mention that the book is about a group of women “caught between two eras.” What interested you about this group of women? How did you come to write about them?
At a certain age I became aware that my mother was older than my friends’ mothers (I’m the youngest of three by six and nine years). Because of a margin of no more than a few years, everything about her experience as a young woman differed from theirs. She didn’t protest Vietnam; she didn’t go to Woodstock: in short, she didn’t match the vision of American youth during the 1960’s I’d pieced together from my friends’ parents’ photographs and stories. As I got older, I became fascinated by the idea that there was an entire pocket of women history had passed over. My mother’s generation was born late enough to glimpse opportunities for women beyond marriage and motherhood, but they were also, cruelly, born too early to benefit from secondwave feminism and the changes that swept the country in the late 1960’s on into the 1970’s. By the time leaders like Gloria Steinem and Germaine Greer appeared on the horizon (not to mention NOW and the Equal Rights Amendment), it was too late: my mother and her friends were married with children, settled into lives that turned out to look very much like their own mothers’ lives. So much changed over the course of that one little decade. All it took was graduating college a few years earlier, and the world into which you entered was a very different one.
2. How did the story for your book originate? You’ve mentioned that you used your mother’s life as inspiration—how personal was the endeavor of writing this book? Did you learn anything about your mother in the process?
Autobiography originally grew out of that same curiosity about my mother, who was raised in Pasadena during roughly the same timeframe as the book’s main characters. Though I grew up in Boston, my family flew to California every year to spend time with my maternal grandparents, so from a very young age I knew Pasadena as the place where my mother had grown up. I think it must come as a shock to all children, that moment when you realize your parents were once young. Suddenly, they’re people. With that peoplehood comes a past. I could say something nobler drove me, but the truth is that I started this book – a book which explores women coming of age during the era in which my mother came of age – out of sheer frustration with what I perceived as the limitations facing the young women of my own era. In many ways, Autobiography is less about my mother than it is about me.
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