Interview with author Erin McCole Cupp

I’m thrilled again to host author, Erin McCole Cupp here at G4G to talk about her newest book-Don’t You Forget About Me which is free on Kindle through Thursday, November 21st!  Did you hear what I said?  Free, people!  FREE!

P.S. Sorry for the weird white background thing going on.  Don’t know why it’s there and can’t seem to get rid of it.  Oh well.  The content is still amazing. 🙂

Hi Erin!  Thanks so much for joining me here at Green
4 God to discuss your new book, Don’t You Forget About Me.  I have to say, I really enjoyed your
book.  The plot itself was gripping and I
found that I really cared about the characters and what happened to them.  I have to ask, is there any autobiographical
element to it?

Thanks so much for having me, Laura!  Don’t You Forget About Me is completely autobiographical… it’s the autobiography of a
fictional character named Mary Catherine Whelihan!  Oh, you’re asking if I was bullied as a child at a Catholic grade school!  Well, as I said over at
Kathleen Basi’s blog… I certainly had a less-than-pleasant experience myself, but I
also own that I was a less-than-pleasant child. 
We all survive our childhoods, and whether we come out victim or victor
is really up to each of us.    

 Besides sharing a history
of rough peer experiences with my character Cate Whelihan, she also “inherited”
her endometriosis from me.  While she and
I took very different paths to treatment, it was still the same path.  As the saying goes, “Write what you
know.”  Sometimes our whole lives can
serve as research—or at least the jumping off point.   

Speaking of autobiographical information, I
understand that you are a lay Dominican. 
Would you mind explaining what that is and, perhaps, how you became one?

Over a decade ago, a friend invited me to a weekend at a
Dominican retreat house.  At the time, I
didn’t even know what a Dominican is, much less that there are Dominican
laypeople!  On the first night of that
retreat, I remember coming down the staircase of the house, and I saw
emblazoned across a ceiling beam was the Dominican motto, “To Praise, To Bless,
To Preach.”  It was as if something
literally fell into place inside my heart, and I could hear a voice say,
“That’s what you’re supposed to be doing.” 
It took about five more years for me to figure out what Dominican life
would mean and to find a chapter to join. 
The Dominican layperson promises to live a life of
prayer, study, community and apostolate.  Dominicans of all kinds—priests, brothers,
nuns, sisters and laypeople—all participate in some kind of preaching
apostolate.  As a writer, a reader, and a
Catholic, the Dominican life has been a great fit that has really guided my
path deeper into the heart of Jesus.  You
can find more information about Dominican life at
Lay
Dominicans:  Fraternities of St. Dominic
. 

Back to the
book!  I loved all the 80s
references!  What made you use the 1980s
as a backdrop for the history of your characters?

Because I just love big hair?  No, seriously, in Don’t You Forget About Me, the main character, Cate, is facing down
so many of the demons of her childhood. 
Using the 80s songs as titles felt like a fun way to harken the reader back
to the culture of that decade without overburdening the story with
flashbacks.  Another thing the 80s song
titles did for me as a writer was to keep me focused and motivated.  The mood or connotations in my mind that go
along with each title song sometimes guided where the story would go next, what
the characters would feel, or the direction of a space of dialogue.  It was a lot of fun!

 I have to admit that
I learned a lot about endometriosis from your book.  I didn’t realize that there are now better
choices for women who suffer from the disease than there once were.  Why did you choose to bring this issue into
the book?

I like to say that the story itself was born from a
serendipitous collision of scars. I was reconnecting with people from my
childhood just as I was seeking treatment for endometriosis myself.  As someone who came to Catholicism in part
because of its holistic approach to the treatment of women’s health, I felt so
much frustration with how the secular medical establishment just wanted to
cover up my pain and not heal me, when
there
are healing treatments to be found
. 
However, it seems like because those treatments have been found as a
direct result of the Catholic approach to women’s health, the more secular
practices want to turn a blind eye. After all, who wants to be shown up by the
backward, ignorant Catholics, right?  I
realize that I’m venting, so please take that into consideration.  Anyway, if there is a “message” to be found
in Don’t You Forget About Me, perhaps
this is it:  that there’s hope and
healing out there for whatever sickness we have, if we’ll just hang on and keep
looking long enough to find it. 

Finally, I love the
way you integrate your faith into your fiction. 
When you approach a new project, do you decide on the plot and fit in
the faith?  Or, do you think about what
issues you’d like to include and then write the plot to support it? I hope that
question made sense.  Anyway, however you
approach it, you do a lovely job.  I look
forward to reading more of your work!
 

Aw, thank you so much for your kind words!  I always put story first and don’t worry
about the faith.  The longer I write, the
more I’m confident that if I’m writing the story out of a heart aimed toward
God, He’ll season the whole pot with the faith part.  All I have to do is stir it up and
serve! 

Thank you, Laura! 
This was a blast—like, totally rad!

One thought on “Interview with author Erin McCole Cupp

  1. Again, thank you for hosting me, Laura! It's my prayer that readers will be surprised by God's love in the reading of DYFAM. Thanks for your support!

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