Perfectly Undone by Jamie Raintree follows OB/GYN, Dylan as she confronts her past and navigates her future. Her reluctance on both fronts has the power to cost her everything. Readers will keep turning the page to see if it does.
What pieces of you are inside Dylan and her stories? How does your own DNA appear in this novel?
There is definitely a lot of me in Dylan. I’d say the biggest quality, though, is the tendency to get overly involved in my work. In a way, I think part of me wrote this book as a message to myself: in order to be truly successful in life, balance is key. I’m glad to say that in the six years since I first started writing Perfectly Undone, I’ve made great progress on that front.
Why do you think she lets fear dominate her for so long?
Most people are guided by fear every day, whether they realize it or not. If you feel stress at any point in your life (which most of us do constantly), fear is the cause. Fear of failure, fear of success, fear of not doing enough, of not being enough. In Dylan’s case, it’s a combination of all of these. While her sister’s death long ago was the catalyst of her fear, there are deeper-seeded family issues at play that are very much present.
Why isn’t love from others enough? Why is it equally, if not more important, to make peace with and love yourself?
I would definitely say it’s even more important to love yourself than to have the love of others (which is absolutely important too). When we don’t love ourselves, though, we don’t make healthy choices in relationships with others. When we don’t place a strong value on ourselves, we don’t set boundaries, don’t ask for what we really need, and don’t demand the respect each one of us deserves.
Gardens play an integral role in this healing that takes place in Perfectly Undone. What gardens inspired you? What would you put in your own garden?
There isn’t any particular garden that inspired the one in Dylan’s backyard—that one came into my imagination just as it is! In general, though, I do find nature to be very healing and wanted it to be a character of its own in Perfectly Undone. If I had my own garden, I would be thrilled to have one just like Dylan’s. The only thing I would add is a weeping willow.
Dylan’s experience clearly shows the value in letting people support you; what role does support play in your writing life? What makes this journey possible for you?
There are two main groups I have to thank for supporting me: my family, and the writing community. My husband and daughters have always been very understanding of the unique fulfillment I get from writing, which is a lot to ask when raising young children. And the writing community has been a refuge during the many ups and downs of building a career in writing and I am forever grateful for that.