Q: How did you come up with the idea for Everything Here Is Under Control, and for your character Amanda?
A: When I started writing Everything Here Is Under Control, I had just given birth to my son and was feeling shocked by both the realities of childbirth and the loneliness of those early post-partum days.
Living through those experiences really changed the way I related to the women in my life who had become mothers before I did. I wanted to write a novel about a new mom who, with the birth of her first child, finds herself desperately wanting to rekindle an estranged friendship from her past.
Q: How would you describe the relationship between Amanda and Carrie?
A: Fraught, uncertain, cautious--and yet, in spite of it all, they are deeply familiar to each other. When they're together, they feel the way you might feel if you suddenly took up residence in your childhood home.
Q: What do you think the novel says about motherhood?
A: That giving birth does not automatically transform you into the kind of person who has the patience, self-awareness, endurance, and skills that motherhood requires. That it takes a lot of work to adapt to the demands of motherhood. It's a very ambitious project.
Q: How was the book's title chosen, and what does it signify for you?
A: The book's title comes from a scene in which Amanda, who's at the doctor with her newborn son, feels ostracized from a conversation about her own mental health. The doctor asks her a question about how she's feeling, and when he's unsatisfied with her answer, he looks to her husband for clarification. The men exchange a look that implies "everything here is under control."
Of course, in Amanda's mind, nothing is under control--and her opinion should be the only one that matters.
Q: What are you working on now?
A: I'm working on a novel about a basketball reporter who wants to be the first woman to call NBA games on national television. But in a deserted locker room at halftime, she makes a discovery that shatters her vision of the future. She ends up having to choose between the two things she's always wanted most: to make basketball history, and motherhood.
Q: Anything else we should know?
A: Thanks for having me! You can order Everything Here Is Under Control from your local independent bookstore. I've also heard that the audiobook is very good!
--Interview with Deborah Kalb