Thursday, October 24, 2019

Elizabeth Chiles Shelburne

Elizabeth Chiles Shelburne grew up reading, writing, and shooting in East Tennessee. After graduating from Amherst College, she worked at The Atlantic Monthly. Her nonfiction work has been published in The Atlantic Monthly, Boston Globe, and Globalpost, among others and her short fiction has appeared in The Broad River Review and Barren Magazine. Her essay on how killing a deer made her a feminist was published in Click! When We Knew We Were Feminists, edited by Courtney E. Martin and J. Courtney Sullivan. She is a graduate of Grub Street’s Novel Incubator. She lives outside Boston with her husband and four children.

Shelburne's new novel is Holding On To Nothing.

From her Q&A with Rachel Barenbaum at Dead Darlings:

Elizabeth, let’s start by talking about my favorite character: Lucy. She makes one big mistake—with Jeptha, and ends up pregnant. She owns the consequences, does everything she can to deal with the fall out. In this sense, she’s strong. But at the same time, she might have decided to try to make a family because she missed hers so desperately. And she gave up her dream, changed course all to try to mold herself and her life around Jeptha. What were you thinking when you created her with these dichotomies?

That is a great question! I think Lucy is a really strong character who is a victim of her place, time and circumstances. While getting an abortion would have allowed her to continue on her path, it just isn’t something she would do. (And I continue to be interested in the regional split—readers up North often question her decision, whereas my Southern readers reason, “Of course she wouldn’t.”) I wasn’t thinking of her as someone who molded herself to Jeptha, but to her circumstances. I think she so desperately misses her family that the baby feels like a home to her (“nothing cobbled” as I say in the book) and Jeptha, in his best moments, feels like maybe he can also be a part of that. Her longing for that family, for that sense of belonging, is so fierce that she makes decisions that in retrospect are...[read on]
Visit Elizabeth Chiles Shelburne's website.

The Page 69 Test: Holding On To Nothing.

My Book, The Movie: Holding On To Nothing.

--Marshal Zeringue