Thursday, March 4, 2010

What would it be like if you were a witness?

From Holly Cupala, an interview with Swati Avasthi, author of Split. Here's a bit on the book:

16-year-old Jace Witherspoon arrives at the doorstep of his estranged brother Christian with a re-landscaped face (courtesy of his father’s fist) and a secret. He tries to move on -- new friends, new school, new job -- but all his changes can’t make him forget what he left behind: his mother, who is still trapped with his dad. Split is about what happens after. After you have gotten out, how do you begin to live again?

And a bit on the interview:

Swati: Split grew out my experiences when I coordinated a domestic violence legal clinic in Chicago. In the three years I worked there, I saw thousands of abuse victims. Women, men, and their children sought civil orders of protection at the clinic. And I listened their stories. Once, as a woman relayed a particularly brutal incident while her two children sat beside her, I asked if she'd like an intern to look after the children. She said, no, they had seen it anyway.

I went home that night thinking, What would it be like to be a witness? What would that do to a child? And, I was conflicted about the woman I was supposed to help -- their mother. Was she responsible? What was her duty to her children and to herself? I knew that I was falling into the trap of victim blaming, but couldn't find my way out. Eventually, I gave this problem to my character, Jace, to see what he could make of the conundrum.

Read the whole interview here.