Jessica Winter's first novel is Break in Case of Emergency. From her Q&A with L.V. Anderson for Slate:
L.V. Anderson: You and I happen to work together in a workplace that, I am happy to say, is pretty functional, so I know Break in Case of Emergency isn’t a roman à clef about Slate. Why did you want to set your book in a dysfunctional hellscape of an office?--Marshal Zeringue
Jessica Winter: A dysfunctional workplace is always going to be a maelstrom of fascinating human phenotypes and behavior disorders, and it seemed like a fun place for a novel to muck around in. I was specifically interested in an all-female version of a toxic workplace, especially one obsessed with “empowerment.” And in a bigger sense, I wanted to look at how a toxic job can work its poison into other areas of your life: your romantic partnerships, your friendships, your health, your sense of self.
Anderson: That is such a good point about a toxic job being poison. When you’re unhappy at work, it’s pretty much impossible to be happy in general. Do you think that’s just because people who work full-time spend so much time at work, or is there something fundamental about work that gives it enormous influence over your sense of well-being?
Winter: It’s both, but it’s especially the...[read on]