Meet a Nasty Woman: 5 Questions with Andrea Dunlop

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Andrea Dunlop is an author, publishing and marketing consultant and Nasty Woman. She is the author of the novels Losing the Light and She Regrets Nothing, and the novella Broken Bay all from Atria Books/ Simon & Schuster. She lives in Edmonds, WA with her husband. Andrea is passionate about using books as a tool to help build empathy, change people's perceptions and give marginalized people a voice. Check out our interview with Andrea, get her advice on getting involved and find out where to get her book here.

What makes you a Nasty Woman?

I’m all about lifting up other women. That sounds almost cliché in this moment, but on the other hand there’s still this pernicious myth that women are about tearing each other down. As a novelist, most of my readers are women, and a lot of my peers are women, and I’ve found an incredible support and community with these ladies of letters. Given the climate we’re in, writing and reading books can feel like quiet acts, but they’re powerful ones too. Books have the power to build empathy and change people’s perspective, which is why it’s so important to lift up women’s voices and their work: especially WOC, queer women, and other marginalized folks.

Share an experience that shaped your views or helped get you involved in activism.
 

I think the 2016 election was a reckoning for all of us, and for me, I realized that though I’d been talking a lot about how I cared about the people in my community that I was worried about—refugees, women fleeing domestic violence, people struggling with poverty, otherwise marginalized groups—I wasn’t actually doing much to help and that was unacceptable. So, I set up recurring donations to places such as Planned Parenthood and The NAACP Legal Defense Fund and signed up to be a regular volunteer at Mary’s Place, a local non-profit I’d been meaning to get involved with for a while. As in many big cities, we have a huge problem with homelessness in Seattle, where I live. It’s impossible to ignore because there are tents and encampments springing up everywhere. Mary’s Place does amazing work not only giving shelter to women, children, and families struggling with homelessness but helping them with housing, employment, etc.
 
What advice do you have for people who want to help enact change and push progress but don’t know how to get involved?

No one can do everything, but everyone can do something. Not everyone is going to be a full-on political organizer or run for office, and we’re all more likely to stick with something that’s manageable and plays to our strengths. And I think that getting a critical mass of people invested in progress is what counts. Maybe all you can do is donate $10 a month to an organization such as the ACLU or Planned Parenthood, or give some money to your local NPR station or a news outlet that’s doing real reporting—all these little investments go a long way; as do small donations to political campaigns. It’s so easy to get overwhelmed with the number of causes and issues that need attention, but just pick one or two to devote your time, money, or energy into and stay with it. Whether it’s national policy or systemic problems in your own backyard, it matters that we all stay in it for the long haul.

If you could look into the future, 10 years from now, and see that real progress has been made, what does that look like to you?

 I see sparks of it right now. The #metoo movement and the subsequent inception of The Time’s Up Now foundation—these are things I never thought I’d see in my lifetime. I remember when the Weinstein story broke I just rolled my eyes and thought “countdown to rehab and the apology tour” and as we all know, that’s not what happened next at all. If the girls growing up now didn’t just have to grit their teeth and deal with sexual harassment from powerful men in the workplace and elsewhere the way most of us had to, that would be amazing. I think these things are part legislative, but also deeply cultural. Much in the way that if you talk to kids today (at least in places like Seattle) the idea that people wouldn’t be allowed to marry their same-sex partner just seems ludicrous. I want the idea that men could run rampant and behave in any awful way they wanted as long as they had the money and power to cover it up to be an unfathomable relic of a bygone era.

Share with us a wine favorite. It could be your favorite wine, a favorite moment or memory with wine, or a favorite pairing.  
 

My husband and I visited Marlborough last year during our New Zealand honeymoon, which is pretty much Shangri-La for wine lovers. We had an amazing tour guide who had previously been a vintner in the area and he took us to some small vineyards that we’d never have found on our own and introduced us to the winemakers: we wanted to get bottles of everything!
 
Learn more about Andrea and find out where to get her new book, on her website. Also check out  Mary’s Place, which is doing excellent work in Seattle empowering homeless women, children and families to reclaim their lives. Learn how to support Mary's Place here.

Emily Davis