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An Interview with Wendy Tokunaga, author of the novel No Kidding

PART ONE

Q: What was your inspiration for writing No Kidding?

A: It’s always been rare to see a female character in a book, movie, or play, etc. who felt she didn't want to have children. And by the end of the story she has either changed her mind and has “seen the light,” or else is somehow punished for her choice, or has deep regrets for not becoming a mother. I wanted to create a woman character that knew deep in her heart that having kids just wasn't something she wanted to do. But she’s not cold or selfish or an alien from another planet. And the sky doesn't fall because of her decision!

Q: What are your thoughts about choosing to be child free? How or why did you decide this lifestyle for yourself?

A: Ever since I was a small child I knew that having kids just didn't appeal to me. I saw that women had the major responsibility for bearing and taking care of children and I thought it was quite unfair. And even today things Haven changed much, in my opinion. I also don have much of a maternal instinct and traditional female roles were not attractive to me. I always longed for an egalitarian partnership with a man and I thought that having kids would disrupt that.

Q: Why do you think our society is so child-centered?

A: imp not sure our society is, in reality, so child-centered. Women are given a lot of mixed messages. On the one hand it is said that being a mother is “the most important job in the world,” yet the government ignores the economic plights of mothers by essentially saying, “you're on your own.” And most men don consider raising children as any kind of prestigious work. The ideal in our society is still the man bringing home the bacon and the woman staying home with children. And when there is a situation where the roles are reversed it is so unusual that it becomes a cover story for a magazine—Man Stays Home to Care for Children: Film at Eleven!

However, yes, I do feel that in general society expects women to have children and thinks it’s odd when a woman says she doesn't want kids.

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PART TWO of my interview with Wendy will be posted next week! Read her thoughts on the so-called "child free stigma" -- and find out what she has in common with her main character Audrey!

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