One of our favorite authors has released a new book. In Terry McMillian’s “Who Asked You,” follows the life of a grandmother living in Los Angeles after the 9/11 attacks.
She spoke with Uptown magazine about her new book and lately television project with Whoopi Goldberg, “A Day Late, A Dollar Short” coming to Lifetime TV.
What was your process in crafting this latest tome? What inspired it?
I started out wanting to tell a story about a grandmother who, right before she was ready for retirement, was faced with a dilemma of caring for her grandchildren. I have worried about grandparents and what [this] does to their lives. I empathized with them as well as the children, who are basically abandoned. I was also curious about what happens when other folks offer their opinions in or play a role in how you navigate this journey. As a result, I discovered that the only way to tell the story honestly was to tell it from each character’s point of view.
What’s the takeaway from “Who Asked You?”
Sometimes we need to know who to listen to and who to ignore. Often, people who care about us think they have the solutions to our problems, our lives, which they don’t. And often fail to look at their own issues. I think understanding that we first need to look at our own behavior before we try to manage others, even if we love them, is major.
What role does “parental guilt” play in the story?
My protagonist, Betty Jean, worries, like a lot of mothers, if she did a good enough job. She suffers from guilt, and worries how much more she could’ve done. I don’t think parents can be totally responsible with how their adult children turn out, unless, of course, they were abused on any level. You can teach them the basics. After that, however, children grow up, have their own personalities and influences and they’re on their own.
Read the full interview here