Kirkus Interview

November 4, 2019

Almost 30 years ago, Kathleen Cecilia Nesbitt started a novel when she was an undergraduate at Columbia College in Chicago studying creative writing and photography. “I didn’t know what it was,” she says of that early draft. “It wasn’t until I stopped writing it and went back to get my MFA that I realized what it was about.” She remembers an adviser asking her repeatedly, “What’s the plot? What’s the plot?”

The difficult part for Nesbitt was trying to write about painful experiences—namely, the sexual trauma she survived growing up. “I thought I would try, as best I could, to let the reader be saturated in the experience,” she says. She recalls being frustrated with the questions people asked her: “Why didn’t you just leave? Why are you so fucked up?” But she also wanted to capture the frustration of watching someone try to deny a traumatic past. “I want the reader to be frustrated with June,” she says about her novel’s protagonist. Nesbitt didn’t want June to be a normal or easily likable character. “This is not normal,” she says. “This is trauma. We’re working through trauma.”

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Kathleen Cecilia Nesbitt

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