What would happen if women and girls joined their unique abilities to change the world? In a time where access to the written word is reserved to men, Andra BetScrivener’s ability to read and write must remain a secret, or she could lose her hands, her eyes or her life.
Introducing Lisa A. Kramer, MFA, Ph.D, author of P.O.W.ER, a novel published by Word Hermit Press.
What inspired you to create this world of New North and the character of Andra BetScrivener?
The inspiration for this world comes from a lot of different places, but mostly—I think—from a disturbing trend that I’ve noticed in the US and other countries that focuses on limiting the freedom of women. I’m not saying the US is heading down the road of restricting educational access for women, but I do see a backlash happening against women who are educated and use their voices in a strong way.
I began to ask myself, “Why are people so afraid of educated women?” At one point I considered putting this into a real, historical time or place (because there are many examples of these kinds of restrictions throughout human history, including modern ones) but then I decided I wanted it to be more of a place that could happen—someplace recognizable but not necessarily nameable. Someplace where the fantasy element (where women develop super powers) would be somewhat believable.
Thus, New North was born. (On a side note, in my mind New North is roughly New England). Andra is the type of character that I wish to see in more books, a young woman who is not ashamed of her intelligence and has not focused her entire life on finding a man.
Not that I’m against romance, but too often I read books where I want to shake the main character and say, “you have to love and believe in yourself first.” She’s not perfect, by any means, but she strives to do what is right for everyone. That is someone I can admire.
Share one of your favorite scenes from your novel and explain why it affects you.
I think my favorite scene appears very late in the novel when Andra confronts the person who betrayed her the most. I love it when Andra says: “You made me see the potential of bringing people together to fight against the inequities and cruelty of Sandovar’s rule. It worked. Women have been coming forward and joining together to strengthen each other. Men have been joining them as well. You could have been a part of that, but you chose to fight for only one person. You chose power for power’s sake.”
In many ways this is one of the main messages of this book—that women and men must work together to make change, without violence and without fighting just to be in control.
What is your unique power and how would you use it to change the world?
The ability to encourage and inspire others to discover their own unique powers. I love mentoring people through the arts and seeing them realize their own potential.
What is your definition of feminism?
Feminism is equality for all, regardless of gender, race, sexual orientation or ability. It doesn’t mean that we don’t have innate differences, but that we should only be limited by our own choices not by someone else’s definition of what we can and cannot achieve.
You’re a woman of many talents: a theater artist, an interdisciplinary educator, a writer, a wife, a mom, a dog lover – life is busy! How do you find the time (or the energy) to balance it all?
I sometimes feel like I am on a high speed roller coaster where I am required to keep a zillion colored balls in the air as the train speeds forward faster and faster, swooping through loops and sometimes changing directions at random. I have no control over where it heads.
However, perhaps because of my theatre experience I’ve come to realize that things always get done. I let things go when I have to. I’m not the world’s best housekeeper. I rely a lot on my husband taking on parenting duty. I ask for help from the village. And, I take each project one step at a time, knowing that it will get done . . . someday, somehow.
Who inspired you on your creative journey?
Teachers who have shown there is more to education than grades. Theatre artists, like my friends and Dramatic Adventure Theatre, who live the vision of empowering others through the arts. Women from the past, who never let the world tell them “No.”
Young women of the present, like Malala Yousafzai, Emma Watson, and Madison Kimrey who speak out against injustice and fight for the rights of people everywhere. But, perhaps the biggest source of inspiration for me is my own daughter, because I want her to grow up in a world which values creativity, kindness, and equality over money and control.
polar bears or jaguars? Polar bears
carrots, cooked or raw? Raw
fairies or angels? Fairies
orange or purple? Purple
beach cabana or ski resort? Hmm . . . depends on the season. In winter I want a beach cabana, in summer I want a ski resort.
If you are interested in winning a signed copy of P.O.W.ER, please comment below with what you think your unique power is! You can also earn other chances to win through a Rafflecopter giveaway
Giveaway is open from June 2 – June 9. The winner will be contacted after June 9. All commenters are eligible, no matter where you live! Good luck everyone!
Congratulations, Beth Teliho, the winner of the giveaway. I hope you enjoy your signed copy of P.O.W.ER!