Sunday, June 2, 2024

Q&A with Janet Sherlund




Janet Sherlund is the author of the new memoir Abandoned at Birth: Searching for the Arms that Once Held Me. She lives on the island of Nantucket in Massachusetts.


Q: What inspired you to write Abandoned at Birth


A: I wanted to write a book that captured what it felt like to be adopted, to affirm the experience for adoptees and help non-adoptees understand the lifelong trauma of adoption. 


Q: The writer Nathaniel Philbrick said of the book, “Janet Sherlund has created a moving, dramatic, and wonderfully written account of her quest to uncover her origins. Part mystery story, part voyage of discovery, Abandoned at Birth is a tour de force.”  What do you think of that description?  


A: I was thrilled to receive such kind and generous words from Nat!  His description of the book as “part mystery story, part voyage of discovery” is a perfect summary and his comment that my book is 'a moving and wonderfully written account' meant the world to me!


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


A: My working title was The Blood Calls, intended to spotlight the biological drive of adoptees to reconnect with their origins. The publisher wisely pointed out that the title sounded like a thriller or vampire novel and asked me to change.


So I then focused on the emotions of adoption, the pain of rejection and yearning to reunite with my birth mother.  When I thought of the words "Abandoned at Birth: Searching for the Arms That Once Held Me" they captured those feelings for me.  


Q: What impact did it have on you to write the book, and what do you hope readers take away from it? 


A: Writing this book had a tremendous impact on me. I thought I'd examined every nuance of adoption and understood and processed it well - writing this book would be simply sharing my experiences. 


Instead, I relived my losses and felt grief in a more profound way than ever. Whether that was from writing it all down in one concentrated place or re-living every moment to fully describe the feelings, it was painful. But it also brought me new levels of acceptance and strength. 


I hope readers come away with a new perspective on adoption, the adoptee's point of view, so they can bring a broader intelligence to discussions on adoptee rights, identity and belonging, opening birth records, the rights of donor-conceived individuals, and many other issues arising in our rapidly changing world. 


Q: What are you working on now?


A: I'd like to try my hand at fiction, and look forward to seeing where that takes me! 


Q: Anything else we should know?


A: I appreciate your interest in my book and hope it brings understanding, inspiration, and comfort to readers.  


--Interview with Deborah Kalb

No comments:

Post a Comment