Such a Fun Age is a page-turning and big-hearted story about race and privilege. Can you tell us a bit more about the book?
Such A Fun Age starts on a Saturday night in Philadelphia. Emira Tucker is a 25-year-old babysitter and she’s with her friends at a party when her employer, Alix Chamberlain, calls and asks her to babysit while she deals with a family emergency. Emira is in need of the cash so she says yes, and she takes three-year-old Briar to the grocery store to pass the time. But then, a customer and a security guard, upon seeing a black woman with a white child, accuse her of kidnapping. Emira is humiliated, a bystander films the incident, and Alix sets out to right the night’s wrongs. But from there it turns into a comedy of good intentions as Alix and Emira learn that they have something in common.
What inspired the idea behind this novel?
I love reading about awkward interactions that reveal something about human behavior and bring history to the forefront. This novel started with the characters, I knew I wanted a fraught three person relationship and I was lucky enough to get two. There’s a mother, a babysitter, and the child. And there’s also a mother, a babysitter, and the sitter’s new boyfriend. I also wanted to lean into the boundaries set up around low-income domestic workers including health insurance and emotional labor. And lastly I’m fascinated by the journey to adulthood, specifically for those that don’t have well defined passions and how that affects their income trajectory.
What is something that has influenced you as a writer?
I’m influenced by just about everything; books, movies, overhearing a conversation, an album or a song. I love reading non-fiction books about the broader topics of whatever I’m writing about, and for this novel those were books about money, class, and privilege.
What’s your daily writing routine like and what are you working on at the moment?
When I’m first crafting something, it’s a slow process. I write for about three hours five times a week in the morning, and much of that time is less writing than thinking. But when I have a full draft I’ll spend 8-10 hours a day, as I did with Such A Fun Age in the last two months.
Right now I’m at the very beginning stages of novel number two, so it’s quite slow to say the least.
This is your debut novel. Do you have other manuscripts tucked away that you’ve worked on first?
I have several, and I do hope they stay tucked away! But I’m also very thankful to have had the time and energy to craft those works, even though they’ll never see the light of day. I think it’s important to find out your tendencies as a writer and what you gravitate toward, as well as bad habits that you can hopefully curb.