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Though Maureen Brady wrote the humor column of her junior high school newspaper, she didn’t actually comprehend that she was a writer until after she had moved to New York City in her twenties, where she began taking writing workshops at The New School and then fell headlong into the consciousness raising groups of the early 1970’s.

She published her first novel, Give Me Your Good Ear, in 1979, and it was published by The Women’s Press in England in 1981. Her novel, Folly, was excerpted in Southern Exposure, received wide critical acclaim, was nominated by Adrienne Rich for an ALA Gay Book Award and was reprinted as a classic by The Feminist Press. She published a collection of short stories, The Question She Put to Herself, in 1987, then turned to writing nonfiction in the ’90’s, publishing Daybreak: Meditations for Women Survivors of Sexual Abuse and Midlife: Meditations for Women. She returned to fiction with the novel, Ginger’s Fire, and her most recent novel, Getaway.

Her recent work has appeared in Sinister Wisdom, Bellevue Literary Review; Just Like A Girl; Cabbage and Bones: Irish American Women’s Fiction, Mom, In the Family, and Intersections: An Anthology of Banff Writers. Brady’s essays and stories have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and were finalists for the Katherine Anne Porter Fiction Prize and the Nelsen Algren Short Story contest.

An Adjunct Assistant Professor, she teaches creative writing at New York University and New York Writers Workshop @ the Jewish Community Center, and works as a free-lance editor and tutor, helping writers across the spectrum take their writing to the next stage.

A co-founder of Spinsters Ink, Brady edited such books as The Cancer Journals by Audre Lorde and The Woman Who Breathes Fire by Kitty Tsui. She also served as a panelist for The New York State Council on the Arts Literature Program and as a fiction judge for Oregon Literary Arts. She is a founding member of The New York Writers Workshop and has long served as Board President of Money for Women Barbara Deming Memorial Fund.

She has received grants from the Ludwig Vogelstein Foundation; New York State Council on the Arts Writer-in-Residence; New York State Council on the Arts CAPS grant; Holding Our Own; Briarcombe Foundation; and The Virginia Center for the Creative Arts Fellowship to The Tyrone Guthrie Centre, Ireland. She was the winner of the Saints and Sinners short story contest for 2015 and is also a Saints and Sinners Hall of Fame winner.

She lives in New York City and Woodstock with her long term partner, Martha, and their joy dog, Bessie.

Visit Maureen’s website at www.maureenbradyny.com.

About the Book:

Title: GETAWAY
Author: Maureen Brady
Publisher: Bacon Press Books
Pages: 230
Genre: Women’s Fiction

BOOK BLURB:

After stabbing her abusive husband and leaving him dying on the kitchen floor, Cookie Wagner flees to remote Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. For a moment, she seems to have gotten away with murder. But, consigned to a secretive life with a new name and the need to be on constant alert, she faces all she has not gotten away with. She is helped by the recently widowed Mrs. Biddle, who offers her a place to stay, and the lobster fisherman Butch, who gives her a job and later falls in love with her. Walking the cliffs and beaches, taking in the scruffy windblown plants that survive the buffeting wind by growing at an angle, she begins to heal.

Yet, there is no leaving behind the notion that Warren is dead as the result of her action.

Or is he? And if not, will he one day come to find her?

Sexual harassment and abuse are all over the news these days, often involving celebrites and other well-known figures, but Cookie, the protagonist of Getaway, is no celebrity. She’s an ordinary woman married to a working class guy who drinks too much and resorts to violence. Their story reveals how endemic the phenomenon of abuse is, and the quandary Cookie lands in when she fights back.

Praise for Getaway:

“Sensitive, sensual, and stirring. “Getaway” is a true page-turner, but one with heart and with context. I couldn’t put it down until I got to the end, not just to find out what happened, but also to discover who these intriguing and complex characters would develop into. An extremely satisfying read!”

Danielle Ofri, author of What Patients Say, What Doctors Hear, Editor-in-Chief, Bellevue Literary Review.

Getaway is available at Amazon.

Would you call yourself a born writer?

Born? Not sure, but I grew up with a story teller father of Irish heritage and other circumstances that led me to be a close observer.

What was your inspiration for Getaway?

I was trying out an exercise I often give to writing students in my fiction classes. It’s taken from John Gardner and the instruction is to write a scene in which someone who has just committed a murder comes out onto a body of water. But you are not to mention the murder. The idea is to make writers aware of how things are often more effective in fiction when described obliquely. So twenty minutes later, I had done a free write and my character Cookie had stabbed her abusive husband Warren and was bushwhacking around a reservoir near where I live in the Catskills.

What themes do you like to explore in your writing?

Various themes but this one seems to pop up fairly often of a woman fighting back after being oppressed by someone. I also like to write stories that depict lesbians in various interactions.

Right now there is more awareness of domestic and sexual abuse via the celebrities and sports figures who are being called out, but I am interested in bringing attention to the common woman who is putting up with abuse until she snaps. And in the novel itself, I became caught up in wanting to understand how might one begin to heal, once far away from the abuser, in spite of having to live a narrow life undercover.

How long did it take you to complete the novel? 

This novel took a few years, off and on. And then I still went back and did a couple more revisions after it had been circulating a while, so altogether, I would say 5 or 6 years.

Describe a typical writing day.

I try to write before everything else gets started in the mornings. I work as a teacher of fiction and a freelance editor, so I often have to turn my attention to reading the manuscripts of others, so if I can get in a couple of hours of my own work first, that works best for me. If I have a clean slate, like when I go to an artist’s colony, I am very disciplined and write for 3 hours in the morning, take a break and read for a couple of hours, or walk, and then write another 3 hours.

What did you find most challenging about writing this book?

Writing any novel is a lot of hard work and demands patience, close creative attention, sleepy time to keep dragging the next scene up onto shore from the ocean of the unconscious. And then finding good readers and getting feedback and reworking whatever is not working. In terms of the painful subject of sexual and domestic abuse, I had worked with this subject before, writing a meditation book for healing from childhood sexual abuse called Daybreak in the ‘90’s, and I did a lot of research at that time.

What do you love most about being an author?

The opportunity to express myself through making up a story that will explore the themes that are compelling to me. When published, the experience of finding out what others are making of what I have written.

Did you go with a traditional publisher, small press, or did you self publish? What was the process like and are you happy with your decision?

I went with a small press, Bacon Press Books, Washington, DC, and I have been very pleased with how it has gone so far. The work of the press has been very professional and the publisher is helpful in terms of how to get the book out there.

Where can we find you on the web?

www.maureenbradyny.com

 

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