Now I love hyperbole as much as the next person. In fact, I live by the mantra that if a story is worth spinning, it’s worth spinning wildly. However, as a world traveler, and as an RPCV, I’ve seen real hostage crises (a term not simply adopted by Eve’s publisher for promotional purposes, but one which she herself coins). Because I have witnessed the attendant terror, brutality, and emotional havoc caused by such horrors, it riles me to hear someone claim solidarity with such suffering because she had to stay inside her home, cozied up on the sofa, watching TV a little longer than planned one evening. “Hostage” isn’t, in my estimation, a title to wear flippantly — and certainly not for attention — (or sales — ) gathering purposes. But I found that the line between serious and frivolous was crossed in this book very, very often.
I wanted to explore that issue in my interview. So in sending my questions to her (we had decided on a written format), I forewarned:
“I bring my toughest — perhaps even slightly off-putting — questions to you here. But I remember when I was touring and interviewing with my book: I hated the standard, limp-wristed questions. I wanted someone to prove to me they’d read what I’d written, paid attention, and were excited enough by it to dig into the meaty, controversial stuff. I therefore hope you will read my pointed inquiries as real engagement, which in my opinion is the highest form of compliment.”
Three days later Eve responded with this:
Thank you so much for giving such rapt attention to my book, Ellen. Yes, it’s clear that you read it very carefully and thoughtfully and I really do appreciate that as well as all the thought you put into constructing your interview questions. I must tell you that I am not totally comfortable with many of the questions you asked and am really not prepared to answer certain questions, especially those about my husband’s thoughts and feelings or go further than the book has already gone into the nature of our relationship. I’m sure you can understand my wanting to respect my husband’s right to a modicum of privacy.
“I can certainly appreciate and respect your desire to ask some tough questions and to perhaps get into some “meaty” issues. I would welcome the opportunity to talk about the impact my (and my husband’s) work had on the countries where we served; the effect of the political/social/cultural environment on me as an American, a woman, a young mother; how the experience changed me; my thoughts (looking back) on my Peace Corps experience and my readiness for my service; how I am using the book as a springboard for continuing my “Peace Corps” service; the very timely issue of AIDS prevention in Africa; those types of issues. It seems to me these would be of interest to other RPCVs, give some insight into my book, and be more in keeping with the spirit in which I wrote this book.
“Again, I am deeply appreciative of your time and effort and would be happy to continue this conversation in a way that feels comfortable to both of us.”
(End of Part 2)