Thursday, October 3, 2013

Joan Steinau Lester

Joan Steinau Lester is an award-winning journalist and author. Her latest book is the novel Mama's Child.

From her Q & A with Renee Swindle:

R: What was the genesis for Mama’s Child? Was it a book you’ve always wanted to write?

J: Ah. The mother-daughter bond is such an enduring theme, in literature and life. The tension between emotional poles on the daughter’s part—“I’m like you, I’m not anything like you!”—combined with the mother’s sometimes-guilty web of adoration, protection, and resentment (“Grow up, so I can have my own life!”) can create fertile ground for misunderstandings. Add in the charge of “race,” and you have an irresistible mix.

Since I was passionate during the civil rights era, I had yearned to set a novel in that time period. Part of my impetus was to rehabilitate the image of ‘60s activists, who’ve been portrayed in our more conservative era as self-indulgent, rather than inspired idealists leaning against a great historic injury. I also witnessed the personal toll such dangerous involvement took on the young activists.

Once these two themes converged in my imagination—mother/daughter conflict, and the Movement’s personal impact—I was hooked. Still, it took me TEN years to find a form that perfectly suited the content.

R: You’re the author of five award-winning books of both non-fiction and fiction. Do you prefer one form of writing to the other? How many works in progress do you have going at any given time?

J: Like many writers, I love...[read on]
--Marshal Zeringue