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129I – One Story Spanning Generations: An Interview with Erin Bartels

New author Erin Bartels joins us today to talk about her novel, We Hope For Better Things. While this is her first published book, Erin has been involved in the publishing industry for over fifteen years. She shares her story of how the book came about, how long she researched it before she started writing, and much more.

We had a great discussion on diversity in writing and “us vs them” in writing and in real life. She shared great advice she got from another writer – that your characters need to have agency, to act on their own and not just be acted upon, especially if they are “other” than you, the writer. Erin said this helped her make some of the black characters in her book even stronger.

Erin believes that writing and reading fiction helps us be less judgmental as human beings. That's what storytelling is about, sharing our humanity as we search for our own growth as individuals. She also shares a quote from CS Lewis about “chronological snobbery” – how historically humans believe they are better and more evolved than their forebears…and we talk about how history shows us this isn't true.

We also talked about how difficult it can be to juggle writing with all the other things you have to do or want to do in your life. Unfortunately, she had to give up things she loves to do in order to make more room for a writing career. She suggests we ask ourselves what things can we give up that someone else can do – because no one but you can write your book.

Her next book, The Words Between Us, starts on the morning of the protagonist's father's execution. You can read more about it on the Books page of Erin's website. It will come out in September 2019.

Despite some heavy topics, Erin and I have a fun conversation full of laughter as well as discussions of writing and more serious matters. You can read more about Erin and connect with her via social media on her website. Also, listen to her podcast, Your Face is Crooked. 🙂


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