Check out this exclusive interview with Kim Liggett as we discuss, The Grace Year. This YA dystopian thriller is the incredible fast page-turner that every book club needs. Join us for our MomAdvice Book Club as we dig into this thriller that is the perfect blend of The Hunger Games, Lord of the Flies, and The Handmaid’s Tale. Read the book before you catch The Grace Year movie!
It has been such a joy to discuss my new favorite dystopian thriller, The Grace Year, with you all. This year, the MomAdvice Book Club started out with a bang with a record number of you reading and participating in this month’s chat. This fast page-turner was a welcome reprieve from the busy holiday season and I loved hearing how many lost sleep because they had to read, JUST ONE MORE PAGE.
I want to supply book clubs all over with all the materials they need for a fun and interactive book chat together.
This post explains why I think this is a great book for any book club, you can find printable bookmarks to print out for your book club attendees, this interview will be a great supplement to your reading guide, and you will also find great book club questions for discussing this month’s book.
For those of you not familiar with Kim, you are in for a treat. Kim Liggett, originally from the rural midwest, moved to New York City to pursue a career in the arts.
Kim spends her free time studying tarot and scouring Manhattan for rare vials of perfume and the perfect egg white cocktail.
If you are wondering if Kim is planning to write a sequel, I am thrilled to point you to her GoodReads answer that said The Grace Year sequel (book 2) is on the table.
I don’t want to be done with this one!
Today it is an honor to share my interview with Kim Liggett.
The Grace Year Book Club: Interview With Kim Liggett
Thank you so much for joining me in an interview about your phenomenal book. I had the pleasure of listening to your novel on audio book and loved the bonus interview at the end.
In it, you shared that the idea for your book came from an encounter on the train.
Can you share with us why this encounter moved you so much that it brought you tears…and then brought you to the plot of your book?
I still can’t tell that story without bursting into tears!
I think what really gets to me is how much I wanted to spare her of the ugly truth.
Whether she was ready for it or not, her world was about to change.
So much of The Grace Year is about intergenerational silence—the things we never say in the name of protection.
I think there’s an element of denial at play—why plant that rotten seed if there’s a chance it might not happen to them or there might even be a hidden sliver of resentment—they’ll have to learn the hard way, just like I did.
For whatever reason, we’re not talking enough about the issues that girls and women have to deal with. Essentially, we’re sending them into the wilderness unprepared.
I feel like any piece of feminist literature is now compared to, The Handmaid’s Tale.
I’m a big fan of that book, but I don’t always think these comparisons are worthy.
With your book, I really feel like you captured some of that Atwood magic though by building out Garner County and the customs of the Grace Year.
What inspired this dystopian environment and how hard was this element in the creation of your story?
The most difficult task by far was deciding what should be left unsaid.
Because it’s such an immense and fascinating world, the temptation is to fill in all the gaps, leave no stone unturned, but I didn’t want the origin story of the county to overshadow Tierney’s.
I always saw THE GRACE YEAR as the middle of the tale—and there’s rarely any glory in the middle of anything—but Tierney deserved her own book.
For me, the question of ‘how did we get here?’ was a lot less interesting than, ‘we’re here now, so what are we going to do about it?’
This is the county’s 47th grace year.
Tierney has never known a time before it.
All she knows is now.
In order to capture that immediacy I decided to plop the reader right into the center of it all. Sink or swim, so to speak. I
t’s a lot to ask of the reader, it requires a fair amount of trust, and I’m honored every single time someone decides to go along for the ride.
While this story focuses a lot on how women are treated by men in this society, I thought one of the bigger themes was how the girls competed against each other and didn’t band together.
Why was this theme important to your story and how do we encourage our girls to not do the same thing?
We’ve been conditioned to compete with one another—it’s everywhere we look—and the only beneficiary is the patriarchy.
I think the key to lowering our armor, embracing one another, is through compassion and empathy.
Like Tierney, I was always so quick to judge other women, but this book really changed me.
Nowadays, I try to meet women where they are, not where I want them to be. It’s amazing how much my world opened up when I made that tiny shift.
All I had to do was simply soften my gaze.
You started writing at 40 which is just amazing.
At 42, I feel like it is too late to make a career switch so I felt really encouraged reading that.
What do you think you brought to your stories at 40 that you might not have been able to in your 20’s?
Honestly, I was a train wreck at 20.
There’s no way I would’ve had the focus—the stillness—to write a book like this, but the real difference is sheer life experience.
I’ve been the maiden; I’ve been the mother, and now that I’m settling into my crone phase, I feel like I’m finally coming into my full power.
It took me a long time to find my voice, but it’s never too late.
I understand that your novel will be coming to the big screen, thanks to Universal and Elizabeth Banks (directing & producing).
Just as amazing as that, I read that the film will be made entirely by women. How involved will you be in adapting this book and what was it like to know that so many wanted to purchase the movie rights to your novel?
When I agreed to sell the rights, I really didn’t expect that much involvement, but they’ve included me every step of the way.
Readers will be happy to hear that they are being extremely faithful to the book.
There will be a bit of condensing, because we can’t make a four hour movie, but the integrity of Tierney’s story will remain intact.
And it’s true—everyone from the executives to the screenwriters are women. I’m extremely proud of that.
They say that writing can be therapeutic and much of this story was born from your own fear and frustrations with where we are at in the world.
Did you feel better after you wrote this and do you see this story as activism for young adults?
This book was so deeply personal for me. I didn’t know if anyone would care or get what I was trying to say, but I had to write it.
It almost felt like a purging.
Having the attention of foreign publishers and the film industry was exciting, but it wasn’t until I started hearing from early readers that it really started to sink in.
I wasn’t alone, and I felt so much hope.
If people take anything from this book, I hope it’s this—we are stronger together.
This might seem like a radical idea, but instead of focusing all of our energy on taking down the patriarchy, what if we threw some of that strength into building each other up?
We would be absolutely unstoppable.
I always like to ask authors, what are the best ways we can support writers and their books?
With so many social media avenues and review spaces, I love to hear what helps your book sales the most?
Pass it on.
The greatest marketing tool of all is word of mouth.
Publishers can’t manufacture it; no one can predict it.
If you love a book, if it makes you think, talk about it. You have more power than you think.
If we loved your book, what else would you recommend we read, that explores similar themes?
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