“How do we survive a body breaking and then taking us back home to the origin site of violence?…This is the story of a body not broken but reaching for beauty, a life not destroyed, but re-storied.”
– Lidia Yuknavitch, The Chronology of Water, The Small Backs of Children, and The Book of Joan
What is your book about?
Don’t You Know I Love You (Dzanc Books, 2020) is a queer story of finding your chosen family out in the world. It follows protagonist Angelina Moltisanti in the aftermath of a traumatic car accident just weeks after graduating college, an accident in which she fractures her wrist and her hopes to start a career as an artist. She must reluctantly return home to live under the roof–and the thumb–of her violent but charismatic father. Forced to excavate this damage, as relations with her father become increasingly tense, Angelina must make a hard choice: will she embrace her father’s all-consuming and empowering rage, or find another kind of strength?
Can you tell us about your path to publication?
This path wasn’t an easy one: The book went to market in 2016 and for nearly three years, we heard a lot of “close but not quite.” I won’t lie and say that, on many days, pushing forward felt like utter folly. But I was lucky to have an agent who kept pressing along with me, and we ultimately found the right home at Dzanc Books – they have been a true dream publisher. I’m very candid about how long it took to get the book published, because I think, as an industry, we often focus on the instant sales and big deals and twenty-something wunderkinds. It’s important to know that it’s completely normal to not have that kind of experience, and when you sell your book, no matter when you sell your book, it will still be a truly powerful, thundersome moment in your life.
Where were you when you heard your book tour and/or launch party was cancelled and what did you do?
I received the message over my phone, and honestly, I won’t lie, I cried a little. It’s hard because this is my debut, and the book already had such a long road to publication. But the truth is, this moment is so much bigger than me, or my ambitions and desires, so I resigned myself—however, I do want to shout out the marvelous lit community for supporting and lifting up writers with books coming out. It’s been hard, but there have been so many good people offering to help.
Are you and your publisher doing anything special/ different instead of a book tour to promote your novel?
I’m doing an online tour and trying to get as many podcasts and interviews as I can!
On a lighter note, do you have any quirky writing rituals?
I don’t know if I have any that I’d call quirky – just that I like to have music on.
What was the hardest cut you had to make from your book, your favorite Dead Darling?
Oh, this is a great question. Honestly, I had, at one point, a romantic subplot in my protagonist’s past and I’d written sooooooooooooo much of it, but it just wasn’t working—everything was sort of circling in place, and nothing ever moved forward, so I had to scrap it. A whole subplot. But it was the right thing to do, so I did it, as hard as it was.
Where can we buy your novel?