Here’s the back story of Absolute Value, short version:
First, please know that this book is not in any way autobiographical. It is a work of fiction, plain and simple.
I wrote Absolute Value as my thesis in an MFA program, finishing it in 2007. The story takes place around that time, although there are no precise time markers. A couple of years earlier, as I was searching for ideas, I’d discovered that there weren’t many books for teens in which abortion was discussed in any depth. This struck me as an injustice, and once I got the idea for Absolute Value in my head, I couldn’t shake it.
After graduating, I was able to find an agent. A few editors showed interest in the book, but no one would take it on. The primary reason? Concerns from sales/marketing departments that the subject was too controversial. I finally made an effort to self-publish Absolute Value in 2012, but that turned out to be a very difficult time in my personal life and I didn’t have the ability to tend to the project.
Then Donald Trump became president; Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh were confirmed to the Supreme Court. States have been rushing to pass restrictive laws in the hope that a conservative Supreme Court will ultimately make abortion illegal. Emotions are running high on both sides of the issue.
That’s why I decided to renew my efforts to get Absolute Value out of hiding and into the world. I believe the story speaks to a core truth: That making a decision about abortion is, at its heart, a spiritual decision, dependent on very personal beliefs about the nature of the universe and our place in it. My hope is that no matter what side readers are on, they will be able to understand a little better why someone might make a choice different from their own.
And here's the long version of the back story! This includes some of my thoughts on the writing process, pulled from my MFA artist's statement and various other sources. I'm posting it in case any writers might find it useful.