Q: In Fallen, you have a central story about Faith and her mother Evelyn, both of whom have served as detectives. It’s fairly common in fiction to see men who follow in their father’s footsteps and join the force or even daughters who follow dad’s, but a family of female cops is quite unique. When/why did you decide to make Faith’s mother a cop as well? Also, Amanda and even Evelyn’s neighbor came up through the ranks of the force at a time when women were really trailblazing if they joined the police force. Can you talk about those times and how they shaped their characters? (I know that Criminal will delve into Amanda’s backstory, feel free to talk a little about that here if you like.)Be sure to check out the other stops on the blog tour to learn more about Karin Slaughter and FALLEN. You can also check out her website.
Karin: Women tend to pass down the job just as often as men. The thing to remember is that women on the force—particularly in Atlanta—are a fairly new thing in the world of policing. Atlanta didn’t even allow women to train in the police academy until the early seventies, which is squarely in Amanda’s generation. It’s a catch-22, because senior police officers are generally the ones who’ve been on the job for a while. That pipeline was clogged with men for a very long time, and now we are finally seeing women being promoted to top jobs. Beverly Harvard, for instance, was (as far as I know) the first female African American police chief of a major American city.
I made Faith a cop because she didn’t have a lot of options when she was in her early twenties. She had a child. She was a single mom. The police force was a steady paycheck and her mom was able to smooth the way. In my next book, Criminal, I go back to 1975, when Amanda was a police officer on the Atlanta force. We’ll find out that Amanda’s father was a cop, and that’s why she chose her vocation. We’ll also find out that Evelyn became a cop because her neighbor, Roz Levy (whom we first meet in Fallen) told her to go sign up. I’ve had a lot of fun talking to folks about Atlanta in the 70s. It was so difficult back then for female officers. Sometimes, they would roll up onto a call and the victim would laugh and ask when the real cops were going to get there. What’s been shocking was finding out that, though a lot of things have changed, for many women, it’s still the same.
I will take entries through the duration of the blog tour. The final post will be July 6th, which is a Wednesday, so I'll take entries until July 8th and pick the winners on the 9th. If you have any questions, drop me an email or leave them in the comments. Many, many thanks to the folks at AudioGo for providing this generous giveaway!