Culture Street

Amy Hatvany was born in Seattle, WA and is the youngest of three children. She graduated from Western Washington University in 1994 with a degree in Sociology only to discover most sociologists are unemployed. Soon followed a variety of jobs some of which she loved, like decorating wedding cakes; others which she merely tolerated, like receptionist. In 1998, Amy finally decided to sell her car, quit her job, and take a chance on writing books. Her latest book, Heart Like Mine, is our Book of the Week and we are delighted that she was able to join us today.

Why Heart Like Mine?

I was interested in exploring the culture of women who are childless-by-choice and the judgment they often face, including the inaccurate idea that they are missing a “nurturing gene”– that their heart is somehow not like that of a woman who is a mother. Grace, one of the main protagonists in the story, suffers some insecurity as a result of this criticism and wonders if a “heart like mine” is incapable of the kind of selflessness necessary to be a parent.

You have direct experience of a blended family. You have said that they have “complicated emotional dynamics”. Is this why you felt compelled to write about the issues?

In some senses, yes. Because I am a step-mother, I wanted to explore more than just the stereotypical portrayals of step-mothers and step-daughter. I wanted to show that in blended families, most of us are doing the best we can, trying to manage a sometimes challenging situation without a rulebook.

Your writing style is similar to Jodi Picoult’s. Are you happy with such a comparison?

Jodi is a powerhouse of a writer, a trailblazer, really, and I am honoured to have my name in any way associated with hers.  We are both interested in portraying socially relevant issues, though we broach them in our own unique way.

What was the catalyst for quitting your job to take a chance on writing?

I was on deadline to finish Heart Like Mine and I knew I wasn’t going to be able to meet it if I continued working 50 hours a week at my day job while trying to write. It was a huge leap of faith, a scary step to take, but it has turned out to be the best decision I’ve ever made.

You are now an established writer. How long did it take you to complete this novel?

All in all, a little over a year.

What’s next for you?

My next novel, Safe With Me, will be released in 2014. (A sneak peek chapter is at the end of Heart Like Mine!)

HEART LIKE MINE by Amy Hatvany, published by Allen & Unwin, RRP $29.99, out now.

BUY THE BOOK

 

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