Thursday, March 6, 2014

Amy Shearn

Amy Shearn's first novel, How Far Is the Ocean from Here, was published in 2008. Her latest novel is The Mermaid of Brooklyn.

From the author's Q & A with Lucy Walton at Female First:

Why did you want to focus on parenthood in [The Mermaid of Brooklyn]?

Mothering small children is incredibly epic and surreal and magical and legendary all at the same time, but I didn’t feel like I had read that many great novels that dealt with early motherhood the way I was experiencing it. Being a mother really pushes you to your most extreme limits in every way – which is after all an interesting place for a character. Parenthood is so amazing and awful, so inspiring and exhausting, that I think every mother can relate to this idea of needing something slightly magical to get you through.

This book was inspired by your great-grandmother’s story, so please can you expand on this for us.

My great-grandmother Jenny was, in recent memory, a tiny, wizened crone known for being exceptionally mean. So I was fascinated when my grandmother said to me, as we were shopping for shoes for my wedding, “Did I ever tell you how a pair of shoes saved my mother’s life?” The story went thus: Jenny Lipkin, young and depressed, took off her shoes and prepared to jump off a bridge. Then she looked back at her shoes and thought that no, she didn’t want to leave them behind. She didn’t jump, she lived, and she eventually emigrated to Chicago with her ne’er-do-well on-again-off-again husband, and supported her three daughters with her virtuosic sewing, and because of all that I am here today. Jenny was a tough, strong lady, faced with problems most of us contemporary mothers have never even considered. I loved the idea that this fairy-tale-ish moment had changed the life of this woman, and it....[read on]
Visit Amy Shearn's website.

The Page 99 Test: How Far Is the Ocean from Here.

Writers Read: Amy Shearn.

--Marshal Zeringue