It’s a pleasure to welcome Dawn Barker to the blog today, here to introduce us to her new book Let Her Go.
1. Give us the details – title, publisher, illustrator, release date.
My second novel is called Let Her Go. It’ll be published by Hachette Australia on 24th June, 2014
2. Why did you write the book?
I first thought about writing Let Her Go after watching a documentary about a woman with a medical illness who used a surrogate mother to have a child. In the show, her husband was very much in the background, and when the surrogate mother attended the child’s first birthday party, it was clear that she was still very much attached to the child she had carried. There was something in the body language of both women that made me wonder how they both really felt, behind their smiles.
I then heard more and more about the advances in fertility treatment, and read stories in magazines about people buying eggs and embryos overseas, then paying women to carry the children for them. Around the same time, I re-read Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale and saw that the world she imagined in a speculative fiction novel – where an underclass of women are used for reproductive purposes – is not that far removed from the one we live in now.
I personally felt conflicted: being a mother myself, I would never deny anyone the right to experience the joy of being a parent, but there are ethical issues to consider. I wanted to write Let Her Go to explore my own feelings about this complex issue.
3. How long from idea to publication?
About two years – though it took about a year from writing the first words on the page until it went to the printers. I didn’t realise before I was published that so much that went on behind the scenes after the author finishes writing the story!
4. What was the hardest thing about writing it?
I have three young children, and work as a psychiatrist, so for me, the hardest thing was finding the time to keep writing! I like to write every day so that the story stays in my head, but of course, being a mum has to take priority. I had to be very strict by setting myself daily word targets and deadlines to make sure that I kept the momentum going.
5. Coolest thing about your book?
The cover! It looks fabulous next to the cover of my first novel, Fractured.
6. Something you learnt through writing the book?
Writing Let Her Go really reminded me that everything we do as parents, or prospective parents, has an effect on our children. As a psychiatrist who works with children and families, I know that a family is a system where each person has an influence on everyone else, but writing this novel and putting myself in the heads of my fictional characters really emphasized to me that babies grow into adults who are influenced by their early lives.
7. What did you do celebrate the release?
I am having a little party to celebrate the launch at the end of June, but I remember my publisher once told me to celebrate every stage – so I raised a glass when I finished the edits, when I saw the cover, and when it went to print!
8. And how will you promote the book?
I’ll be doing some interviews for websites and magazines, lots of library and bookshop talks in Western Australia, and hopefully some writers festivals. I’m also happy to Skype into book clubs around the country if readers would like to discuss their reactions with me.
9. What are you working on next?
I’m just about ready to start my third novel. I’ve had the idea for the topic in my head for a year or two now, and have done all the background reading. Once Let Her Go is released, I’m looking forward to locking myself away and starting to write it!
1o. Where we can find out more about you and your book?
Thanks for visiting, Dawn.