Author Interview, Blog

Fireworks and The American Dream with author Beth Raymer

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Fireworks Every Night by Beth Raymer is an unabashed look at an unconventional family through the perspective of CC, the youngest daughter. I say that the story is SHAMELESS meets MARRIED WITH CHILDREN. Mental health, poverty, familial relationships, and the impact of the choices people make are at the forefront. With stunning writing, the story was also inspired by Raymer’s childhood.

My interview with Beth Raymer includes fireworks and the American Dream, CC reflecting on her upbringing, and crafting Lorraine, CC’s older sister, as a person of her environment having an impact on her choices. 

Content warnings: mental health, suicide ideation, racism

1) What is your definition of feminism? 

I define feminism as acknowledging–and being mindful not to erase– the brutality that deranges women.

2) Fireworks represent freedom and wonder in America. How does the title tie in with the American Dream and CC’s family? 

Well, a fireworks display is sparkly and the grand finale is something to behold– it is achievable. But it’s not something that has longevity. It’s a moment, it’s a spectacle, and it’s over. And that’s what the American dream is to me. It’s something lots of people do achieve but can’t hang on to.

Cover of FIREWORKS EVERY NIGHT by Beth Raymer

3) What was important when writing about CC reflecting on her upbringing? 

It was important to me to capture CC’s confusion as a child and teenager. Dysfunctional families rely on silence to keep the cycle going, and in that silence confusion is born and runs wild. It takes CC a very long time to piece together and understand just what a mindfuck her childhood was.  

4) Lorraine is written as a person of her environment and not someone who just makes bad choices. How did you craft Lorraine as a character? 

Lorraine is based on my sister. She was a loveable, beautiful little girl who had real challenges and then some awful things happened to her. Like millions of young girls in this country, she didn’t have the therapeutic support she needed, and she pays the price. Lorraine’s story is the story of long-term neglect– from her family and society.

5) What organization is important to you that you would like to amplify to our audience? 

ABC…A Better Chance. Kids in this country hit a wall. It gets to a point where schools are just too expensive or they’re bad. The A Better Chance program places high-performing students of color in our nation’s best independent and public schools and supports them on their educational and leadership journeys.

Thank you, Beth Raymer, for speaking with Feminist Book Club about Fireworks Every Night

Ashley Paul is a traveler, runner, and baker. She is an Everlasting Bookworm and Culture Maven. She is passionate about supporting high school juniors and seniors to write compelling stories for their post-secondary careers. She loves stories with social commentary, atmospheric writing, and compelling characters.

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