BookLife Talks with Alretha Thomas
A sponsored Q&A with the author of 'The Girl in the Blue Blazer'
What inspired The Girl in the Blue Blazer?
When the #MeToo movement took off in 2017, I remember seeing the hashtag everywhere. Although I had empathy for the victims, I suppressed the thoughts and memories of my own sexual assault. When I was a little girl, an acquaintance of my mother touched me inappropriately numerous times and at one point tried to force his member into my mouth. As I continued to see the hashtag, I added my name to the list. It was then that I knew I would one day write a book that shined a spotlight on this issue. Five years later, I began writing The Girl in the Blue Blazer.
Did you always plan to have two timelines running throughout the book?
I’ve created an outline for every book I’ve ever written. It helps me to know where my story begins and ends. With that in mind, I knew I would have two timelines running throughout the book. Stories come to me from within. I know it may sound strange, but sometimes I believe these stories are being channeled through me from another dimension. The idea of writing a book about two different women from two different time periods who encounter the same man just came to me. Then, shortly thereafter, I got the idea for these women to have a mysterious connection.
How do you imagine readers at this moment will connect to The Girl in the Blue Blazer?With recent current events, it’s apparent we’re living in a time of accountability. The #MeToo movement may not be trending on Twitter today, but according to the National Crime Victimization Survey from the Department of Justice in 2007, somewhere in America a woman is sexually assaulted every two minutes. The perpetrators range from total strangers to employers and family members. The TV series The Morning Show contains a scene between an employee and her boss that brilliantly shows how a subordinate can be manipulated by their employer. Incidents like this are still going on, and I surmise that many of my readers, or, if not, then someone they know, could say #MeToo. Nevertheless, The Girl in the Blue Blazer is not a book about being a victim. The women in this book are strong, determined, powerful, and out for justice by any means necessary.
You’ve been a published author for more than a decade. Do you have any advice for other indie authors?
In my years pursuing the holy grail, that is, a traditional book deal with a major publisher, I’ve had hundreds of rejections from agents and publishers. If my tears of disappointment had been collected, they could be used to permanently end the California drought. In spite of the aforementioned tears, my love and passion for storytelling kept me going. I realized that as sweet as a book deal would be, it would not make me a writer. A writer is someone who writes—who writes what’s in their heart, not what’s trending. So my advice to other indie authors is to keep going, keep telling your stories. The label “Indie author” is nothing to be ashamed of. Actually, it’s a badge of honor, because it usually means you tried the traditional route and it didn’t work but that didn’t stop you. You didn’t give up, because you’re not in the game for money and fame. You’re a writer because you love to write
What’s next for you?
I’m in the throes of marketing The Girl in the Blue Blazer. It’s my dream for it to become my breakout book. Perhaps if that happens, I might be offered a deal for my 15th book, which is anxiously waiting in the wings!