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Oh Honey
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Group Read > Q&A with Emily R. Austin, author of Oh Honey

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Kristin B. Bodreau (krissy22247) Hello all,

The author of Oh Honey, Emily R. Austin, has graciously agreed to participate in a Q&A with us!

Feel free to use this thread to ask your questions. She'll pop in when she can to answer us.

I'm looking forward to some exciting discussion. Of course, please be courteous. Having an author take time to chat with us is a great opportunity, and we want to make sure Emily feels welcome!

Happy Reading!


Lynn Wow, that is so neat! Thanks, Ms. Austin for agreeing to do this. I have a question: What's your cure for writer's block? :)


Karly (karlyclark) | 5 comments I'm about 1/3 of the way through Oh Honey, and am really enjoying it so far. Did you pull inspiration from something/someone in your personal life for this book, or is it completely fictional?


message 4: by Emily (new)

Emily Austin (emilyaustin) | 9 comments Hi everyone,

Thank you for inviting me to visit your book club and for reading Oh Honey.

I'm just writing a quick "hi" before answering the questions posted here.

Hi. I'm Emily. I wrote Oh Honey over the span of a few years. It's a short book, but I'm a slow writer. It was published in the summer of 2017 by a small publisher (Holland House.) I've always wanted to publish a book. I've described publishing a book as my one bucket list item—which means my bucket list is complete. This isn't great news because I am 28 years old and no longer have any aspirations. If you have any suggestions for new goals, please shoot them my way.

If you want to get in touch with me outside of this Q & A, here are links to my social media:
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/emilyrausti...
Wordpress: https://emilyraustin.wordpress.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/eraustinauthor

I'm looking forward to answering your questions. I'll pop in again periodically to check if there are more.

Thanks again for having me.


message 5: by Emily (new)

Emily Austin (emilyaustin) | 9 comments Dlyn wrote: "Wow, that is so neat! Thanks, Ms. Austin for agreeing to do this. I have a question: What's your cure for writer's block? :)"

Hi Dlyn,

Thank you for having me! I haven't discovered the cure for writers block yet, but I have a couple home remedies that might help a little.

1. Don't write your story in order. Think of a future event you plan to write later, and write that now.
2. Change locations. Sometimes you just need a change of scenery.
3. Listen to music that reflects the tone and mood of what you're writing.
4. Add a new character. This depends on your genre and the kind of story you want to write, but I try to imagine a new character that would really clash with existing characters. Who would not get along with your characters? What type of person or behaviour would really bother your characters--or confuse them, or clash in some way with them? If you were to add that clash to the mix, how would that impact your story? In my experience that can spice things up.


message 6: by Emily (new)

Emily Austin (emilyaustin) | 9 comments Karly wrote: "I'm about 1/3 of the way through Oh Honey, and am really enjoying it so far. Did you pull inspiration from something/someone in your personal life for this book, or is it completely fictional?"

Hi Karly,

Thanks so much for reading Oh Honey.

It's a fictional story. Some of the characters are inspired by people I know (Frank and Keats, for example), but in terms of Jane's life—that's fictional.

I did work for a short time at a call centre, and there are some parts of the story that loosely reflect experiences I've found myself in, but on the whole it's made up.

Thanks again for reading it.


Jamie | 1 comments *spoiler* This was a super fun read. I have a question regarding your process: did you know from the very beginning how the final scene would go? Was the confrontation with the man Jane's been calling the required closure in your mind? Or did that develop later?


Kristin B. Bodreau (krissy22247) Hi Emily,

Thanks again for agreeing to chat with us!

I just finished the book and I really adored it. I've never read a book with a call center before, and working in one myself, that was really interesting. You certainly nailed a lot of the unique aspects of working in that kind of environment.

I was also really interested in your portrayal of Jane's mental state. I have two younger sisters who are adopted. They both have depression. The older of the two also has Bipolar Disorder. They have both been suicidal and have self-harmed. The older of the two has also been hospitalized. I felt like being inside Jane's head really helped me understand them better. I was wondering if you had experience with mental illness. You gave Jane so much depth that her struggles felt very real. (Feel free to be as vague as you'd like. I know this can be a sensitive subject and I want you to feel comfortable answering.)

My second question is about your writing. There are brilliantly funny, surprisingly touching and hauntingly lonely lines throughout the book. I think I've highlighted more in this book than in anything I have read in a while, because I just adored how you worded things. I was wondering how much time you spent crafting the sentences. Did you just kind of let things flow, or was it more of a deliberate process with attention to each word?

Finally, I loved the little nods to other topics in the names that Jane chose. I think my favorite was when she was Sabrina, Zelda and Hilda. (I will admit to loving Sabrina the Teenage Witch) When she used Molly, Mary Jane, Lucy and Charlie was also interesting. What was your favorite use of names? Was there any that you think nobody will get? (I know I missed most of them, but could pick out enough to know it was deliberate.)

I look forward to your answers! I am very glad to have read your book.


Amaka Nzeadibe Hello Emily!
I found " Oh Honey" entrancing. I always have questions I wish the author could answer, so I'm thankful that you're taking the time to do this.
I wonder about Jane's description. the name Jane, as it's supposed to be a general name, did you intend for Jane's story to be a cautionary tale of some sort, like on the dangers of poor parenting and undiagnosed mental illnesses?
The few descriptions we have of Jane tend to focus on her looks. Could the story not be told of Jane were over weight, or scarred by acne, or altered by her drug use?
Anyhoo, thanks for participating with us!


message 10: by Lori (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lori Oh Honey was kind of great in a dark and emotionally wreaked way!


message 11: by Emily (new)

Emily Austin (emilyaustin) | 9 comments Jamie wrote: "*spoiler* This was a super fun read. I have a question regarding your process: did you know from the very beginning how the final scene would go? Was the confrontation with the man Jane's been call..."

Jamie, thank you so much for reading Oh Honey.

During my own dark past as a telemarketer, I was yelled at a lot. When the people I called yelled at me, I often thought, "What if I was a different person, and this really affected me?" Jane is sort of the realization of that fantasy. You know that saying, "everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about"?

The way Jane's relationship with the man she called ended was a vehicle to communicate her past without blatantly outlining it, but I think I also meant it as a way to communicate that we don't know how we treat others affects them--so we should be kinder to people.

So to sum up: yes, that was the ending I imagined from the beginning. I've seen some reviews of Oh Honey that did not like the ending, and while I really do respect that perspective, I'm confident that at least for me it was the right ending.

Thanks again for reading it Jamie, and for the question!


message 12: by Emily (new)

Emily Austin (emilyaustin) | 9 comments Kristin B. wrote: "Hi Emily,

Thanks again for agreeing to chat with us!

I just finished the book and I really adored it. I've never read a book with a call center before, and working in one myself, that was really ..."


Hi Kristin,

Thank you for having me! Thanks also for reading Oh Honey and for this really thoughtful reflection.

First, I'm really sorry to hear about the mental illness in your family. You sound like a compassionate person and I'm glad your sisters have a sibling who wants to empathize with them. I think having people who care enough to want to understand is helpful in and of itself.

The short answer to your first question is: Yes, I am definitely riddled with my own issues. I'm different from Jane, but I do have my own experiences with apathy and depression--and on a small scale I was writing some of that from experience.

Thank you so much for the kind words about my writing. I am really touched by that. This is the first book I've had published, and I learned through the process that you actually have to review word by word while you edit a book with an editor/publisher (or at least I did). That means it turned out to be quite deliberate because I had to review each line word by word. I didn't write it that way though.

I did lift every name I used. I used the women's names from The Bell Jar, The Catcher in the Rye, Archie comics… I either took the names from something I liked (like Sabrina!), or I picked them because they fit thematically into that part of the story (Mary Jane, Charlie, etc. was in a part of the book related to her drug abuse, for example.)

Thanks again for reading it Kristin. I really appreciate it.


message 13: by Emily (last edited Apr 13, 2018 09:15AM) (new)

Emily Austin (emilyaustin) | 9 comments Amaka wrote: "Hello Emily!
I found " Oh Honey" entrancing. I always have questions I wish the author could answer, so I'm thankful that you're taking the time to do this.
I wonder about Jane's description. the..."


Thank you for reading Oh Honey Amaka!

I picked the name "Jane" because it was the name Jane picked for herself. I thought it reflected how she sees herself. I like how you described it though, and would be glad for it be interpreted that way.

I actually don't have a very clear picture of what Jane looks like in my mind. I know some of her interactions with others implied she might be pretty because men called her pretty, but I think every woman can attest to being called pretty by people trying to take advantage of them. She could be scarred by acne or altered by drug use in my mind.

Thanks for your questions Amaka and thanks again for reading Oh Honey!


message 14: by Emily (new)

Emily Austin (emilyaustin) | 9 comments Lori wrote: "Oh Honey was kind of great in a dark and emotionally wreaked way!"

Thank you Lori I'm glad you liked it.


Kristin B. Bodreau (krissy22247) Thanks for your answers, Emily!

After reading your answer to Jamie, I'm even more excited you could join us. I actually have "Be Kind. For everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about." as my status on my work messaging system and as a tattoo on my arm! I've had a lot of people tell me how much that message means to them when they see it.


message 16: by Kasi (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kasi (kasireadsjunkandstuff) This will contain spoilers, be warned!

I want to first say thank you, Emily, for taking the time to talk with us and also that I really loved the book. It was skeletal, and that allowed for no distractions from the burgeoning knowledge of who "Jane" really is. (And I was so used to her various names that I barely noticed when she became "Samantha" - if only for a second.) I practically devoured it - once I got started, I didn't want to stop, to break the rhythm.

Personally, I would love to see the other side of the coin, I would love to see Benjamin's story. I think people in our society all to often forget that there are REAL people on the other side of the telephone line, in that other car, beyond that other computer screen. Real people who can be real unpredictable.

So my question is, how fully fledged was the character of Benjamin in your mind? Was he based on someone you know? Did you like him? It wasn't his story you were telling, but the glimpses we got of his devolving personality were just as fascinating to me as watching the layers of Jane being pulled away. What is this job he does, what was that phone call he was waiting for? Was he stable before Jane? He was clearly an asshole, if he treated Frank that way, but I am so curious to know more.

Thanks again, and I can't wait to see what you come up with next. :)


message 17: by Emily (new)

Emily Austin (emilyaustin) | 9 comments Kristin B. wrote: "Thanks for your answers, Emily!

After reading your answer to Jamie, I'm even more excited you could join us. I actually have "Be Kind. For everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing a..."


What a neat coincidence.


message 18: by Emily (new)

Emily Austin (emilyaustin) | 9 comments Kasi wrote: "This will contain spoilers, be warned!

I want to first say thank you, Emily, for taking the time to talk with us and also that I really loved the book. It was skeletal, and that allowed for no dis..."


Thanks so much for reading Oh Honey Kasi. I really appreciate the positive feedback. That means a lot to me.

Thank you for your questions about Benjamin. His story might be a good idea for a part two. He was not exactly based on someone I know, but when I worked at a call centre I do remember a man I called threatening me. He was probably born out of that. I imagined him as an isolated person who disliked women and was self-important for no reason. I don't have a fully-fledged picture of his day to day life, and did not imagine what his job was, but I did have a clear picture of his personality and his outlook. I don't dislike him because I thought of him as someone with social and rage disorders, who was maybe on the spectrum, and like Jane was the product of his own life's circumstances.

Thanks again for reading the book Kasi.


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