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Q&A With Kim Imas, Author Of Beast Mom

Q&A With Kim Imas, Author Of Beast Mom

Kim Imas answers questions about her new novel, Beast Mom.

Question: Beast Mom talks a lot about female rage—both overtly and through metaphor—why is this a topic you wanted to tackle?

Kim Imas: I was frustrated and upset throughout most of the 2016 election cycle—by the rampant misogyny being hurled at a female presidential candidate and toward women in general. To say I was crushed by the results of that election is a massive understatement. By the time news broke of Harvey Weinstein’s many accusers and the #MeToo movement went global in late 2017, I felt like I was living with a constant baseline of seething anger. Worse, it seemed like all the women I talked to were similarly pissed-off.

Some of my anger was related to the injustice and inequality related to being a woman in our society, and some was related to being a mom. So, I decided to come up with a story about a mom who’s been putting up with a lot of bullshit for a long time, and when she finally “loses her shit” she transforms into a genuine, bona fide monster. And she—and her community—have to deal with the aftermath of that.

It raised a lot of interesting questions for me. For example: What do we (women) fear will happen if we let our anger rip, publicly? Is our anger ugly? Is it useless? Harmful? What if we end up liking the person/creature we become when we let ourselves truly feel our most intense rage?

Q: Where else did you draw inspiration for Beast Mom?

KI: Other seeds for Beast Mom came from modern life in general. For example, two decades ago, the non-fiction book Bowling Alone had a profound effect on me. It’s an enormous tome, and it compiles decades of sociological research into how Americans spend their time. It specifically chronicles the key trend of Americans spending less time together than they did in the years following the second world war, and the many repercussions of that one fact. We don’t have as many dinner parties, for example, and bowling leagues are scarce. Television keeps us company in the absence of robust human connection.

Today, we’re more disconnected than ever, what with so much of our lives being conducted on and through a variety of technological devices and with certain long-term changes resulting from COVID-19. Beast Mom wants to point out that this unprecedented level of fracture in our society is one of the reasons why things are so difficult for moms—and others—in this country.

Q: Why was it important to you to celebrate female friendships?

KI: Pop culture is better about this than it used to be but growing up I too often found the interactions of girls and women in popular entertainment to be nothing like what I experienced in real life. When there were two or more female characters—which wasn’t always the case—they tended to be written as competitive and seemed one-dimensional and stereotypical.

Beast Mom doesn’t shy away from talking about conflicts that occur between women friends and associates, but it takes pains to demonstrate the many ways we have each other’s backs and how much we enjoy (and benefit from!!!) our time together.

The patriarchy is a depressing topic and can seem abstract at times. But when you have two or more funny, irrepressible women taking it on—together—in a series of over-the-top adventures, it’s a lot more fun to pick apart.

Q: You’re very frank about the physical realities of the bodies of people with uteruses, was this intentional?

KI: Yes. Discussing the physicality of menstruation, pregnancy, childbirth, the postpartum period, and other biological processes still carries a stigma. The social norms that keep us from being frank about our medical realities have some harmful effects. For one, newly pregnant people are too often shocked at what happens to their bodies, and the surprises just keep on coming through and after childbirth. Widespread ignorance—and lack of public discourse—on these issues enables the efforts of those who try to legislate the bodies of people with uteruses.

Q: What do you hope readers take away from Beast Mom?

KI: I really hope readers enjoy this book on multiple levels, beyond the story itself. I hope readers feel like Harry—the protagonist—is someone they’d like to be friends with. I love being immersed in the worlds created by my own favorite authors, and I hope that’s true for Beast Mom readers.

Also, the process of crafting sentences and paragraphs is particularly enjoyable to me, and I take pride in my “smooth prose and witty dialogue” (which is how Publishers Weekly described my first book, a romance under a pen name). I wanted readers to enjoy Harry’s “voice.”

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