LitReactor Interview: Easton, McDonald, Hogan, Price, and Agnew
Debut authors Emory Easton (Mother Can You Hear Me Now?), Trish McDonald (Paper Bags), D.W. Hogan (Unbroken Bonds), Maria Price (Love You Still), and Grace Agnew (Sanctuary) were interviewed by LitReactor. The five authors discussed trauma, sexuality, social justice, and finding one's voice.
Emory Easton is the author of Mother, Can You Hear Me Now?
Divorced with four children by the age of twenty-two, Emory imagined a new life for herself, a life that went beyond the traumatic mental and physical abuse she endured as a child under the neglectful watch of an addict mother.
Emory was born after only six months in the womb, a survivor of a failed abortion. Raised by her three-year-old brother and nestled in the dresser drawer in which she slept, her earliest moments were those of pain and rejection.
Yet despite all the odds stacked against her, she found true love in adulthood with her partner. From psychiatric wards to poverty to sexual abuse, Emory survived. Mother, Can You Hear Me Now? is her story.
Trish McDonald is the author of Paper Bags.
Tonight, she’s a stalker. In the dark woods, with the rain lashing the windshield and the ground fern crushed beneath the wheels of her car, she hides and waits and contemplates her options: The Boy? Me? Love? Sanity? How far will she have to go to find love and feel safe? As she slouches down behind the steering wheel, the back seat filled with her paper bags and her yellow Labrador Retriever, she questions this decision to chase after him. Little does she know that this deviant behavior will set off a stunning revelation rocking her to the core. Will she run away as fast as she can or will her curiosity entice her to embark on a journey of self-discovery and sexual awakening?
D.W. Hogan is the author of Unbroken Bonds.
In 1956 the worst thing a teenage girl could do was to become pregnant. Joanna, Prissy, Jessie, and Mary become lifelong friends when they are incarcerated in the Frances Weston Home for Unwed Mothers in Knoxville, Tennessee. Together they endure the culture of shame and soul crushing tactics dispensed by the Catholic Nuns who coerce the teenagers into relinquishing their illegitimate babies. The four young womens’ vow of friendship bonds them as they rebuild their lives in the Deep South during the turbulent 1960’s, while the roles of women and single mothers evolve in the decades that follow. When tragedy strikes, they must decide whether to keep their past secrets or discover the fates of the children they were forced to give away.
"Hogan’s prose is pared down but deliberate, reflecting the staid resilience of her central characters. The narrative, while alarming, is very much grounded in the reality of the time and place in which it’s set... An elegantly written and damning narrative."
Maria Price is the author of Love You Still.
How does a mother say goodbye to her baby before she can even say a proper hello?
In the memoir Love You Still, after years of infertility, when Maria Price learned she was carrying her second child, Julia, a healthy baby girl, she felt like she had moved past the pain into her miraculous happily ever after. . . until one day, without warning, at the end of a textbook pregnancy, Maria and her husband, Joe, sat staring at an ultrasound screen that was now, heartbreakingly, still.
After birthing and then burying their daughter, Maria and Joe needed to navigate their separate grief journeys without losing each other. Despite Joe’s seemingly unconditional love and endless patience, Maria still had to find a way to live in a world without her daughter through the depression, crisis of faith, and unplanned pregnancy that followed Julia’s death.
Had God failed Maria? Had she failed Him? Had she failed as a mother? Could she still parent her son, while grieving her daughter? Was there enough room in her heart for another baby? Could she survive another loss? Could she learn to live with the constant pain of Julia’s absence? Was she willing to try?
This is a path of inexplicable heartbreak, unexpected healing, and, through it all, unfailing love.
Grace Agnew is the author of Sanctuary.
There is no armageddon. The end is simpler than that, and sadder, because mankind was warned. People just kept piling on, polluting, depleting the water supply, over populating, until the earth simply gave up. Miranda and her son Alex are among the lucky ones, living in a controlled city that recreates everything they lost. It’s not enough for Alex, who escapes to join his father and a chance for real life in an outside city. Miranda has no choice but to follow.
City of the South is dirty and dangerous, more trash heap than fortress. Desperate people will do or trade anything for water and a mouthful of food. Neither city has the answers, but the planet may have answers of her own. Can Miranda, Alex and the human race itself follow Earth’s own answer for survival, or is it just too late?