Wednesday, November 15, 2023

Q&A with Jesse Q. Sutanto


Photo by Michael Hart



Jesse Q. Sutanto is the author of the new novel I'm Not Done with You Yet. Her other books include the novel Vera Wong's Unsolicited Advice for Murderers.


Q: In your new novel’s acknowledgments, you write, “I think it’s next to impossible to exist in this world as someone who identifies as a woman and not be enraged time and again. This book is the result of all the anger and bitterness at the inequalities of our society.” Can you say more about that, and about how you created your characters Jane and Thalia?


A: As a woman, I see inequality in everyday life--the fact that my kids' class WhatsApp groups only ever invite the moms to join so I get to wake up to dozens of messages every day reminding me that the kids have to dress up for Book Week etc. while my husband doesn't (he requested to be added to the group so he can be responsible for this stuff too, but he's an exception to the rule), the way that when I'm walking and I see a group of men--whether grown men or young teen boys--I have to cross the street to avoid harassment, I mean, just the other day I walked past a group of boys and one of them muttered something and the rest laughed and leered and WHAT?? They're KIDS! But this stuff is learned, and there's just no escaping it. 

Q: The Booklist review of the book says, “Sutanto expertly manipulates time, moving between difficult childhoods to perplexing adult lives, dexterously revealing puzzle pieces that calculatingly don't fit. Meanwhile, crazy rich Asians, the publishing industry, and fatal misogyny all crack under Sutanto’s deadly glare.” What do you think of that description?


A: It's very flattering! Haha, I was so blown away by it!


Q: Without giving anything away, did you know how the novel would end before you started writing it, or did you make many changes along the way?


A: I knew the big twist before I even thought of the story and I basically outlined the whole thing to fit the twist. It was sooo rewarding when I finally wrote the reveal chapter. I was smirking the entire time. 


Q: How was the novel’s title chosen, and what does it signify for you?


A: I never know what my books are going to be called until I finish writing them. After I finished this one, I came up with several potential titles but I just knew when I came up with this one that it was the perfect title because it's so delightfully unhinged and obsessive, completely in the tone of the book. 


Q: What are you working on now?


A: I just finished writing the sequel to Vera Wong's Unsolicited Advice for Murderers and am having a much needed break! I'll probably start editing it sometime next week. 


Q: Anything else we should know?


A: Can't think of anything, but thank you for these wonderful questions!


--Interview with Deborah Kalb

No comments:

Post a Comment