Abortion and the stigma surrounding it have always fuelled controversy and strong opinions, but how often are the
women involved forgotten about because of the heatedness of the issue surrounding them? In Marlene Hauser’s
emotionally-moving and uplifting novel, Off-Island, she concentrates on the woman herself and the ripples that
spread out beyond the choice.
“My book is distinguished from others in the market because it focuses on trying to describe the unexpected emotional pain of
abortion and the healing process,” explains Marlene, “As well as the high cost of not allowing a woman who has had an abortion
to say ‘Ouch!’ Sometimes it may limit the rest of her life.”
Krista Bourne has always been surrounded by the strength, love and wealth of her family and their homes in
New York City and Martha’s Vineyard. She has never had to think for herself. When she realises she’s pregnant,
the decision whether she and her boyfriend want the baby or not bring a crossroads to their relationship, and
ultimately Krista rejects all support, isolating herself at a time when she needs most support. And when she
returns home, she discovers she doesn’t know her family history as well as she imagined.
“I wrote this book to give voice to what I felt was a missing voice in the annals of fiction,” says Marlene. “My inspiration was the
women who I met who still talked of their experiences in a whisper or not at all, as well as press accounts that outlined the same.”
Gripping, relatable and utterly needed in a society that is still inclined to
judge, Off-Island fulfils a need to educate the uninformed and as a voice for
those who are still afraid to stand up.
1. When did you know that you wanted to be an author?
I knew I wanted to be an author from as early as I can remember. I have baby photos of myself with a pencil, pondering my family, memorizing their birth dates, places and so on. I was always trying to capture the story. Perhaps this was because my father was a larger-than-life storyteller. Writing for me is like breathing. No life without it.
2. What inspired you to write this book?
To give voice to the experience of those who whispered “ouch” after having had an abortion but feared saying so would lose them the right to choose.
3. If you could sell this book in one sentence what would it be?
Off-Island is about healing, the right to choose and love.
4. What are you up to next?
While promoting Off-Island, I am in the process of submitting my next novel Juicy Fruit to agents and exploring self-publication. I am also writing the fourth draft of the Poetry of Life and enjoying every minute of it!
5. Who is your biggest inspiration?
Years ago I might have said Shakespeare for his obvious genius, or Ruth Prawer Jhabvala for her meticulousness and sense of surprise, but today my inspiration comes from the people I know and love: a son who works tirelessly to forge his own identity, a friend who fights relentlessly against demons that would take her under, a partner who repeatedly stretches himself in new directions against the odds, an associate who lives daily with children “with a condition.” Folks that get up every morning and “do it again” stir me. Anonymity inspires me.
Thank you, Marlene Hauser and Random Things Tours.
About the author
Marlene Hauser is a professional writer who lives in Oxford and a member of
the Society of Authors. She has edited The Writer’s New York City Source Book and
also holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Columbia University