Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Amy Ellis Nutt

Amy Ellis Nutt is the author of Becoming Nicole: The Transformation of an American Family. From her Q & A with David Ebershoff:

David Ebershoff: What first drew you to the story of Nicole Maines and her family? Tell me about the first time you met them?

Amy Ellis Nutt: There were several aspects to the story and the Maines family that hooked me right away. First of all, Nicole and her brother Jonas were still young teenagers and, in many ways, the family’s journey was still unfolding. As a journalist, that was exciting. Because the science of gender identity is still being learned, I also felt that Nicole and Jonas being identical twins gave me a perfect opportunity to explore the importance of this intermediate territory between nature and nurture called epigenetics: how our environment (even the environment of the womb), contributes to who we are, even when our DNA is identical, as it is in the case of Nicole and Jonas. What cinched the deal for me was meeting the family for the first time. They were all warm and generous, funny, honest, and articulate, and they welcomed me into their home. On her laptop, Nicole showed me videos she was making for school, Jonas told me about writing songs on the guitar. They were clearly creative kids, with their own personalities, but with an obvious love for each other as well as their parents.

This is Nicole’s story, of course, but it’s also her family’s story. I think of it as the biography of a family. What was it like to write a book with four central characters? How did you research their lives?

It’s true, Becoming Nicole is about a family, about four people, not just one, and I felt that this kind of story had not yet really been told. I think Wayne and Kelly were also keenly aware of this, and the importance for the wider world in sharing the lessons of their lives in raising a transgender child and her identical twin brother. At the same time, they were—are—extremely...[read on]
Visit Amy Ellis Nutt's website.

The Page 99 Test: Shadows Bright as Glass.

Writers Read: Amy Ellis Nutt (April 2011).

--Marshal Zeringue