Editor’s Note: This exchange is part of a series of brief interviews with emerging writers of recent or forthcoming books. If you enjoyed it, please visit other interviews in the I’ve Got Questions feature.
- What’s the title of your book? Fiction? Nonfiction? Poetry? Who is the publisher and what’s the publication date?
- In a couple of sentences, what’s the book about?
Lost Girls explores the experiences of women and girls as they grieve, find love, face uncertainty, take a stand, find their future, and say goodbye to the past. A young woman creates a ritual to celebrate the life of a kidnapped girl, an unmarried woman wanders into a breast feeder’s support group and stays, a grieving mother finds solace in an unlikely place, and a young girl discovers more than she bargained for when she spies on her neighbors. Though they may seem lost, each finds their center as they confront the challenges and expectations of womanhood.
- What’s the book’s genre (for fiction and nonfiction) or primary style (for poetry)?
- What’s the nicest thing anyone has said about the book so far?
“There is something about reading the short stories in the collection Lost Girls by Ellen Birkett Morris that makes me think of a magic trick. Blink and you won’t be able to figure out how she does it. But then, don’t blink. Stare as hard as you can. Retrace favorite paragraphs and lines and still be mystified about her pointillistic ability to create the images and lines that take the breath out of your body and create the unforgettable lost girls — and women — who inhabit these spaces rarely immortalized as engagingly or sympathetically in contemporary literature.”
–Yvette Benavides, Book Public, Texas Public Radio
- What book or books is yours comparable to or a cross between? [Is your book like Moby Dick or maybe it’s more like Frankenstein meets Peter Pan?]
Hints of Eudora Welty set in a southern version of Winesburg, Ohio
- Why this book? Why now?
I was born to write this book about women overcoming challenges and finding their voices. I was a shy kid and walked with a limp and found myself underestimated at times. I’ve spent my adult life working for women’s equality and writing about women’s issues as a freelance journalist. This book allowed me to creatively explore things that matter to me. I first realized I had a collection that would work when the #MeToo movement began. I saw a hunger for stories about the authentic experiences of women.
- Other than writing this book, what’s the best job you’ve ever had?
I collected student loans by phone while I was in college. I got to hear some pretty strange excuses and to work alongside other people my age. We had lots of fun kidding around between calls.
- What do you want readers to take away from the book?
I want them to feel something. I hope they have a better understanding of how it can be to operate as a woman in the world.
- What food and/or music do you associate with the book?
A peach, smooth and bright and pretty to look at on the outside, juicy and tart on the inside with a hard spiky pit at its center.
- What book(s) are you reading currently?
What’s Mine and Yours, Naima Coster
How Fiction Works, James Wood
A Swim in a Pond in the Rain, George Saunders
The Lost Manuscript, Cathy Bonidan
The Liar’s Dictionary, Eley Williams Party of Two, Jasmine Guillory
Learn more about Ellen at her website.
Buy the book from Bookshop.