Cara says, “Wooot!” What would you say if your second novel was made into a movie that won an award at Sundance? Read more about it, and about Cara, and find out where to see her this month (hint, at Goddard, Port Townsend!) below:
Based on the acclaimed novel by Cara Hoffman, Be Safe I Love You is the story of Lauren, a young soldier who returns home to the U.S. after a tour in the Middle East and must grapple with post-traumatic stress disorder and the past she left behind.
Haifaa Al Mansour’s debut feature Wadjda opened in September 2013 to critical acclaim and was a staple of the awards season. The National Board of Review awarded the film with the Freedom of Expression Award. It was nominated for a BAFTA for Best Foreign Language Film, and was Saudi Arabia’s entry for Best Foreign Language Film for the 86th Academy Awards. Al Mansour holds a degree in Literature from the American University in Cairo and a Master’s in Directing and Film Studies from the University of Sydney. She lives in Bahrain.
You can find much more about Cara’s novel, her process, her activism, and her writing life on her blog. Her interview page, for example, includes links and full interviews, with questions and answers such as:
What led you to write about a female soldier returning from war?
As a woman, and as someone from a military family, it was important to me to tell a story that I haven’t yet seen told. Women have served in some capacity in the U.S. military for more than 400 years, but for the first time ever we now have a significant number of women being trained, serving, fighting and returning from combat. Women currently make up approximately twenty percent of the active duty armed forces in the U.S., and almost all (95%) military occupations are now completely open to them. This is an enormous, unprecedented cultural shift in our country. Women in the military are already having a profound effect on American culture. The media has begun to do a good job paying attention and there are non-fiction accounts, but I haven’t seen much fiction about women veterans.
I wanted to write about women coming home from war, to see these soldiers’ experiences reflected in the broader culture, and to show that they are not invisible. I wanted to give these women the respect they deserve. It also makes sense for me as a writer documenting the culture and era in which we live. If there’s any possibility that literature can offer hope or healing for women veterans, I’d hope my novel can in some small way contribute to that.
And if you are near Port Townsend, Cara will be joining the west coast Goddard residency, and will be reading as part of the Alumni Readers Series on Monday, February 16th at 7:00pm. At the Reading Room, Fort Worden, Port Townsend, WA. Come listen!