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. Living with boyfriend Michael and her elderly grandfather, she can also summon up the comforting ghosts of her beloved father and grandmother. In vivid dreams she flies with her pilot father, and when awake remembers idyllic childhood holidays spent with her bohemian grandmother.
When Krista impulsively walks out on her career as a professional dancer, it is the beginning of a new chapter in her life. She feels unsettled and excited by the sense of imminent change around her.
This feeling turns to panic, then fear when she realises that she is pregnant and is uncertain whether or not she wants to keep the baby, bringing her and Michael to a crossroads in their relationship. Adamant that she alone must deal with the situation, Krista rejects all offers of support from him, isolating her at a time when she most needs help.
Krista’s journey and emotional upheaval take her back to her summer home on Martha’s Vineyard, where she is surprised to find out that she does not know her family history quite as well as she imagined.
Links to the book
MY INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHOR
- 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.
- 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.
- If you could sell this book in one sentence what would it be?
Off-Island is about healing, the right to choose and love.
- 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!
- 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.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Marlene Hauser is a professional writer based in Oxford, UK, where she lives with her husband and teenage son.
She served as editor of the Writer’s New York City Source Book and originated the television film Under the Influence, going on to serve as Associate Producer and Technical Consultant.
She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Columbia University and has received numerous awards, including a residency at the Millay Arts Colony in Upstate New York.