A Q&A with Laura Hankin
An interview and video with the author of A Special Place for Women
What is A Special Place for Women about?
Laura Hankin: A Special Place for Women is about an undercover journalist who decides that she’s going to infiltrate this top secret women-only social club for the New York millennial elite only to find that the women in the club are far more powerful than she ever imagined they would be.
Where did you find inspiration for the characters who run the story’s secret society?
LH: So I may have taken some inspiration from real-life women only spaces and the women who ran them. But I was also trying to think a lot about, what are the trends and the issues that millennial women are really into right now? So there is a faction of the club that’s really into this girlboss type feminism. There’s another faction that’s really into the occult. And then I got to populate it with other characters like a mixed media artist and a body positivity guru, just all the kinds of women who I think would be really into this club, and the club would be really into having them be a part of it.
How do you balance your comedy instincts with keeping the narrative realistic and emotionally satisfying?
LH: The biggest thing that helps with balancing the comedy and the realistic and emotionally satisfying nature of the story is that I really love my characters, even when they’re ridiculous. I’m personally very emotionally invested in their journeys. And so I want to write this book being able to poke a little bit of fun at them but also having you want things to work out for them, and when they’re in trouble being like, oh, no, get out of there. So that’s how I do it.
Why do you find it interesting to write about the dark underbellies of shiny surfaces?
LH: I think I’m so drawn to writing about the dark underbellies of shiny surfaces because I’m so drawn to the shiny surfaces, you know? I want to be a part of these shiny, shiny things. And so then my instinct is to be like, no, they can’t possibly be all they’re cracked up to be because if they are, like, why am I not a part of them? But I also believe that a lot of these things are a little too good to be true. And it’s more interesting to find those dark underbellies, at least in fiction, maybe not in life. In life, it would be nice if everything was just shiny.