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Terry McMillan Returns with 'Who Asked You?'

Newspaper article News Sentinel

Terry McMillan Returns with 'Who Asked You?'

Article excerpt

She has had an enjoyable string of best-sellers. Remember "Getting to Happy," "Waiting to Exhale" and "How Stella Got Her Groove Back"? Remember "Mama"? Well, you won't likely forget Terry McMillan's "Who Asked You?" either.

In its 383 pages, McMillan introduces us to Betty Jean Butler, the rock of an African-American family weighed down by race, gender issues, economic challenges and, yes, family secrets.

Recently, she took some questions:

Q: It's been three years since your last book. Why did you make us wait so long?

A: I have to make this stuff up. I don't think that's a long time. Plus it's kind of hard to separate characters you've been living with for a long time from new ones. It's like starting a new relationship with a new guy or girl when you haven't got over the last one.

Q: What was your inspiration for 'Who Asked You?'?

A: I wouldn't say I was inspired to write. I was more curious. I've always wondered about grandparents and grandmothers in particular who end up raising their grandchildren. There are at least 6 million in this country. I just wondered how they did it and what it might feel like to be two-thirds into your life and have to parent again. I was also curious about people who are always trying to tell other people how to live their lives or offer advice without looking at their own behavior. They can be super critical but don't turn the lens on themselves.

Q: You take on a lot of weighty issues: homosexuality, interracial relationships, grandparents raising their grandchildren, drug addiction and incarceration. …

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