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Betty Jane Hegerat on Delivery

About your book:

Delivery by Betty Jane HegeratBook Club Buddy:  What do you think readers will find most notable about this book?

Betty Jane Hegerat: I’ve been told that Delivery brings a new perspective to the complicated issue of adoption. I feared the book might offend adoptive families I’ve worked with, that I might be perceived as anti-adoption. I’ve been relieved to find that this hasn’t been the case. By telling the story from Lynn’s point-of-view as well as Heather’s I wanted to explore the impact of giving away a child on those who are outside the tight adoption triangle. I’ve worked in adoptions at different stages of my life, and my feelings and my empathy have shifted over the years. Or perhaps more accurately, I’ve come to take a broader view. Even though I’m not a grandmother, I’m certainly old enough to be one and to think like one. I think readers will find it interesting to look at the huge decision involved in giving up a child from the perspective of an entire family.

Book Club Buddy: Have you acquired any good anecdotes surrounding the writing, publication, or reading of Delivery?

Betty Jane Hegerat: I write domestic fiction, a label I don’t mind, but my work is also frequently described as “women’s writing”.  I always hope my fiction is as engaging for men as it is for women. Right after my two sons read Delivery, they came to me individually and said, “Wow, Mom, a lot of breasts in that book.”  “You mean breasts in a non-sexual context?”  I asked.  A thoughtful nod, the response to that one.

Book Club Buddy: What would you most like readers to tell others about this book?

Betty Jane Hegerat: I’d like people to hear that while this is a novel about a mother and a daughter (and a loud baby), about a family with their own messy dynamic, that there are fathers and sons in the story too, and that these are “ordinary” people posed with questions we will all encounter.

Book Club Buddy: Can you suggest one question readers might find interesting to discuss, concerning you, your writing in general, or Delivery?

Betty Jane Hegerat: At the book clubs I’ve visited (and I love talking to readers—there’s usually wine and food as well as good company) I like to ask: What would you have done in Lynn’s situation?  I find that people are either totally sympathetic to Lynn’s interference, or furious with her. I use the question often in presentations as well because when it was put to me a number of years ago by a woman who was on the verge of losing contact with her infant grandchild, her first grandchild, the wheels under this story began to turn.

About You:

Book Club Buddy: Why do you write?

Betty Jane Hegerat: Like many people with a background in the helping professions, I write partly out of desperation, the need to find redemption in situations that seem beyond hope, and the need to look for moments of grace in troubled lives. At a personal level, I write because I’m a snoopy person who loves nosing around in the messiness of other people’s lives.

Book Club Buddy: What is your greatest strength as a writer.

Betty Jane Hegerat: I think there’s strength in my style. When I’m “holding forth” on topics like these, I go on at length about being a prairie writer. and burble about landscape and how it manifests itself in my style.  The succinct version:  I like clean, uncluttered prose and story that’s both accessible and multi-layered. The flipside is that I’m intensely envious of those who write both poetry and prose and bring the combined magic to the page.

I believe that experience is a strength in the type of fiction I write as well. I know so many people, women in particular, who come to writing after they’ve invested almost a lifetime in career and family. I like to explore point-of-view from every age and stage. For a while, I seem obsessed with writing about teenage boys. But at that time in my life, my house was brimming with teenagers. I have a daughter as well, but I know what it feels like to be a teenage girl, and it was exploring the world of boys that fascinated me. Now, I find myself writing often from the perspective of the elderly, both men and women.  All preparation for what’s to come, I guess. All of this said, I am always in awe of young writers who show such passion and insight in their work that I’m sure they’ve been born with an “old soul”.  We come to this craft when the time is right.  I love that about writing.

Book Club Buddy: In addition to writing, what else are you passionate about?

Betty Jane Hegerat: I’m passionate about gardening. There is nothing that comforts and renews me more than kneeling in the dirt, or watching a crocus bursts out of the ground into Calgary’s fickle spring.

Partly for the obvious reason that I’ve been a social worker by profession, partly because of upbringing, and partly because of personality (I’m a stubborn, opinionated, and somewhat bossy woman) I’m passionate about social justice. I’m offended by notions of privilege and entitlement, and often overwhelmed by global inequities and tragedies and my insignificance so far as making a difference. But I’m also upheld by the power of community.

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Posted by Pearl on Sep 2 2010. Filed under Author Interviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.
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