>For the first time ever, CUSS is hosting a virtual book tour stop! Please welcome Amy Güth. As you can see from her bio at Guth-a-Go-Go!, as a self-described “urbanite, smart-ass, feminist, anti-socialite” (my super favorite type of person), Amy Güth has lived all over the country. As she notes, “ask her where she's from and you'll get a shrug. When she says a's people think she's from New York. When she says e's people think she's from the South. When she says o's people think she's from the Midwest. Whatever. Most of her roots are on the east coast and she moved from New York City to Chicago a few years ago.” Her novel, Novel Three Fallen Women, by is now available from So New Media Books. At any rate, many thanks to her for stopping in at the Campaign for Unshaved Snatch & Other Rants.
As part of the virtual book tour, I virtually asked Amy a few questions about Three Fallen Women. (Meaning: I sent her questions via email, she sent me replies; I asked her more questions, and she sent me more replies. Not meaning: I made this all up, as “virtually asked” might imply.) My interest in the book was piqued by the fact that one of the characters has an abortion, which you rarely, if ever, see in works of any fiction (books, TV, movies) these days, so I started from that vantage point.
Suzanne: What made you include an abortion in your book?
Amy: It fit. I never thought, "Oh, I have to have an abortion in my book." I just let characters develop and make logical and in-character choices for them to construct plot development. It's funny to me that so many people are latching onto this character's abortion-- it's almost mentioned in passing, it's such a small part of her whole story. She's a herion addict, and dying throughout the book. Her sense of self-awareness is so damaged and so undeveloped that it doesn't even occur to her to do anything to save herself, rather she just sorts of exists and fades away. So, the abortion she gets is little more than a device-- the more important factors are her reaction to it, the reaction of people she has surrounded herself with ad the like. It's almost a metaphor to me. But, my loudest critics, the people latching onto the word abortion, admit to never having read the book, so there is a lot of dialogue about it, but it's totally out of context.
Suzanne: How do you feel about other women writers who, when their single heroine gets knocked up, always has them give birth and live happily ever after? (I must admit that I really loved the Jennifer Weiner book "Good in Bed," in which that exact scenario happens, but that book was good for other reasons than the puke ending.)
Amy: I know how it is. As a writer, you sort of follow your characters and make decisions for them that are in character. For some characters, it makes sense to do something you, the writer, would do, sometimes it's something you wouldn't or haven't done. So, what I think is that those writers made intelligent decisions based on what was called for in terms of plot and character development. I don't know many writers who judge their characters. For most of us, I think our characters just sort of are whoever they are.
Suzanne: Actually, I think your response to my abortion question is interesting because when I think of people who chose an abortion, I think that they are ultimately saving themselves, their other children (if they have any, and 60% do), and the baby itself from poverty (emotional, mental, whatever...). Yet you see her choice in the opposite way - as not saving herself. Any thoughts?
Amy: I agree with you. In reality I think there are many reasons why a woman opts to terminate a pregnancy, mostly the ones you list. In the case of the Carmen character, the abortion isn't so much a case of her saving or not saving herself, as it is with her addiction, but more about her reaction and thoughts about it. But, honestly, as I said before, writing about her abortion was more of a plot and character development tool than much else.
I have to say for the record, this book isn't about abortion. In fact, Carmen is the more minor character of the three women. I think Three Fallen Women covers far broader social issues than abortion. It just so happens that a character has an abortion.
Suzanne: OK, so what is the take home message you'd like CUSS readers to have about the book?
Amy: I wrote Three Fallen Women at a time when I was seeing a few people around me unable or unwilling to enforce their personal boundaries in various ways. I think most of us learn this lesson through trial and error, sure, but suddenly I was noticing a lot of people who didn't seem to have a grasp in that direction at all. The more I saw this, the more I started noticing things people were enslaved to. Food, pain, drama, clutter, money, misery, people, rotten partners-- it was everywhere! So, I ended up writing a lot about the freedom that comes from setting boundaries and practicing self-reliance and ended up doing it through the mouthpiece of these characters.
It's funny, because everyone who reads it thinks it is about something a little different. I feel like it is about boundaries and crossroads and the extreme situations that arise from not asserting and enforcing your boundaries. But, some people think it's about identify crisis, others think it's about gender identity, so I feel like it has the ability to be a very personal book in that way. Maybe readers will take from the book what is on their own radar at the time.
Suzanne: Your message really hits home with me these days, as I have been letting my employer take advantage of me and finally said, "No, I'm not going to take this bullshit any more. Fuck off!" last week. Setting boundaries is so important in life! I'm not sure where this will go or what I'll do next, and it is scary to sort of set off in an uncharted direction (I'm generally too uptight for that), but there is a level of relief that comes with standing up for yourself.
Amy: I couldn't agree more. I hope that's an exact quote from the showdown with your boss...?
Suzanne: I wish! I think the message got through, though... Moving along, any closing thoughts?
Amy: Thanks so much! I enjoyed my visit to CUSS. You know, I think I spent the entire interview thinking I was about to be asked about my own, ahem,
shaving habits. I was gearing up for a whole rant about vagina pride, American beauty standards and armpit hair. Ah well, I had such a nice time visiting that I didn't even notice.
Suzanne: You are certainly welcome to discuss that here any time!
Anyway, Three Fallen Women is available at www.Amazon.com starting October 2nd, but sales from the publisher are going strong, so if you want to be part of the advance buzz, you can buy it for the bargain price of $12 at So New Publishing now! For more (free) Amy, check out her sarcastic rantings on her blog, Big Mouth Indeed Strikes Again. (It goes so nicely with CUSS!) Or, you can score an issue of the paperless magazine, Outcry, and read her monthly socio-feminist column. She is guaranteed to use the f-word often. She does that.
We (we=me) here at CUSS so love both of the f-words (that’s “fuck” and “feminism,” friends), so a big thanks to Amy Güth for virtually coming by.