I’ve Got Questions for Sally Whitney

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.

When Enemies Offend Thee by Sally Whitney
  • What’s the title of your book? Fiction? Nonfiction? Poetry? Who is the publisher and what’s the publication date?

When Enemies Offend Thee is a novel published by Pen-L Publishing on March 1, 2020.

  • In a couple of sentences, what’s the book about?

When Enemies Offend Thee is the story of a woman who vows to get justice on her own when police refuse to charge the man who sexually assaulted her. Her attempts to get even take her to dark places, causing her to question whether she can ever again be the woman she wants to be.

  • What’s the book’s genre (for fiction and nonfiction) or primary style (for poetry)?

Thriller/suspense

  • What’s the nicest thing anyone has said about the book so far?

There’ve been a lot of nice reviews, but I think the comment below from Mallory Anne-Marie H., a NetGalley reviewer, is one of the most meaningful.

“This could have so easily been yet another account of #Metoo, but the author chose to really dig deeply into her characters and to examine the backdrop of their culture, economy, history. Reading what happened to protagonist Clementine, the ugly crime and the ugly aftermath, frightened and infuriated me. But the novel didn’t drop us there. What ensues is a marvel of character evolution, acknowledgment that joy can come eventually after grief.”

  • 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?]

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo meets Gone Girl. Clementine Loftis, the protagonist of When Enemies Offend Thee, has the righteous furor of Lisbeth Salander in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo plus the cunning persistence of Amy Dunne in Gone Girl.

  • Why this book? Why now?

Fortunately, more women are speaking out about sexual assault than ever before. I wanted to explore how I would react in that situation and also to challenge other women to think about it and how far they would go to right any wrong that had been done to them.

  • Other than writing this book, what’s the best job you’ve ever had?

Teaching creative writing in the continuing education program at Johnson County Community College in Kansas. It wasn’t a particularly lucrative job, but I enjoyed it immensely.

  • What do you want readers to take away from the book?

I hope readers remember When Enemies Offend Thee as a compelling story that led them to question what their own reactions would be in this or a similar situation and whether or not anyone can know for sure what they would do.

  • What food and/or music do you associate with the book?

Poppy seeds, raw chicken, soft-dip ice cream, and lobster all play important roles in the story.

  • What book(s) are you reading currently?

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Aditchie and The Last Days of Night by Graham Moore. They’re very different, but I’m enjoying them both.

Sally Whitney

Learn more about Sally on her website.

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Buy the book from Bookshop, Amazon, or the publisher.

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