As writers we are supposed to write what we know. I imagine if I spend years on a book and it gets published I would be able to answer any question a person may have in regards to my writing process, why I wrote what I wrote, any resources I used and so on. But this didn’t really seem to be the case with author Kathryn Stockett. Her now famed book “The Help” is a bestseller and soon to be a movie by Dreamworks.
Based on one of the most talked about books in years and a #1 New York Times best-selling phenomenon, “The Help” stars Emma Stone (“Easy A”) as Skeeter, Academy Award nominated Viola Davis (“Doubt”) as Aibileen and Octavia Spencer as Minny – three very different, extraordinary women in Mississippi during 1960’s who build an unlikely friendship around a secret writing project that breaks societal rules and puts them all at risk. From their improbable alliance a remarkable sisterhood emerges, instilling all of them with the courage to transcend the lines that define them, and the realization that sometimes those lines are made to be crossed – even if it means bringing everyone in town face-to-face with the changing times.
I was invited to attend an event hosted by Rainy Day Books here in the Kansas City Metro, which featured author Kathryn Stockett. She spoke about her book and how it came to be. Apparently, she grew up in the south and was privileged enough to have a maid. She considered her maid to be family but was naive in that, the help didn’t have the same privileges that she did. It was interesting to listen to her very passive-aggressive tone. Vivien Jennings, the owner of Rainy Day Books, asked very in depth questions and the responses a lot of times from Kathryn were “I don’t know.”
Kathryn brought up interesting feedback as to how she wrote the book. Most of which was a lot or research for the era in which her book takes place. But when asked if she interviewed any African Americans that were there during the time she hadn’t. I would have thought this would be a necessary thing to do. Apparently, the topic is touchy and it was avoided or she didn’t think she would get a positive reaction approaching people and asking them to drudge up old feelings. It’s somewhat understandable.
But, it wasn’t just that. She seemed to be void of a lot of answers to questions, even those that had to do with her experiences in college and topics she had been quoted commenting on. The interview was good, don’t get me wrong, but it left me wondering if we as writers would forget the whole experience of writing our book. I would hope that I would be able to remember every detail when asked. According to Kathryn she spent 6 years and had 61 rejections. Would you be able to answer questions if your book became center stage?
WordCount 2011 Blogathon #Blog2011 #WCLW
- Good and Bad News for Kathryn Stockett, Author of THE HELP (breiwilson.com)
- Watch The Offical First Trailer For THE HELP Starring Emma Stone (thepeoplesmovies.com)
- Emma Stone’s Racially Charged New Film (huffingtonpost.com)