Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Kristy Kiernan

From a Q & A with Kristy Kiernan about her new novel, Matters of Faith:

Q—You weave several social/domestic issues into this new novel. Where did this storyline come from?

A— Religion has been a fascination of mine since I was a child. I spent most of the year with my mother and we didn’t go to church, then my summers were spent in Tennessee with my father’s parents, who took me to a Baptist church, and my mother’s mother, who took me to an Episcopal church. When we moved to Chicago my best friend was Jewish, and they allowed me to come to their home for holidays, which I found so interesting, and then I married a Catholic man. Interspersed with these main religions, were various friends with their own beliefs, or the beliefs of their parents, and I always asked questions and had a very clear vision of the world as filled with religious options.

The food allergy storyline came from the story several years ago in which a teenage girl was reported as having died when her boyfriend kissed her. He had eaten peanut butter earlier in the day, and I was utterly horrified that something as innocent as a kiss could kill a child. How does a parent allow a child to live normally in a world where that could happen? The story was later reported to be incorrect, she died of something else, but the seed was planted.

And marriage, the third major storyline, is something happening within my own life that I find incredibly interesting and complex. My husband and I have been together for 18 years and we’ve watched others in long-term relationships and seen the stages they’ve gone through, too. I never knew how rewarding and intricate and constantly evolving a long-term relationship could be, and I wanted to explore that.

Q—What did you draw off of to develop the plots and characters?

A— My own life, friend’s and acquaintance’s relationships (if you’re a friend or acquaintance, don’t worry, it’s not you, it’s other friends and acquaintances, really!)

News stories always stick in my head, often for years, and I tend to internalize them, like “How would I handle that? How would I feel if that were my child? What specific actions would I take?”
Read the complete Q & A.

The Page 69 Test: Matters of Faith.

--Marshal Zeringue