Interview with Michelle Sutton - Author of It's Not About Him

I invited Michelle Sutton to return this week so we can talk about book two in her Second Glances series for young adults, It’s Not About Him.

Michelle is one of the first friends I made in the writing/publishing world. We met six years ago through American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and worked as critique partners for several years.

There are many things I appreciate about Michelle. She’s a prolific writer with a passion for telling real stories that don’t minimize the hard stuff in life. Her characters are real people who struggle with sexuality, all types of additions, adoption, self-worth . . . You name it, she’s not afraid to write about it. Her stories give hope and show what a relationship with Christ can do in a person’s life. No wonder she’s known as the Edgy Inspirational Author.

I have a few questions for Michelle, but first, more about the story.

It's Not About Him

Susie passed out while drinking at Jeff’s party and later discovered she’s pregnant. She has no ideas who the father is and considers having an abortion, but instead decides to place her baby for adoption. Following through ends up being more wrenching than she imagined, but she’s determined to do the right thing for her baby.

Jeff feels guilty that Susie was taken advantage of at his party and offers to marry her so she won’t have to give up her baby, like his birth mother did with him. But Susie refuses, insisting he should marry someone he loves. Can he convince her that his love is genuine before it’s too late? Can she make him understand that it’s not about him—it’s about what’s best for her child?

Discussion Guide Included

Questions for Michelle . . .

1. Your Second Glances series is written for young adults. In these stories you candidly tackle tough subjects - self-esteem, drinking, and premarital sex. You’re able to show through story, consequences that may result from making bad choices. How has your job as a social worker influenced the story lines you’ve chosen?

My job comes in to play a lot. Why? Because I did a lot of open adoptions so no research is necessary. I understand both sides because I’ve worked with adoptive and birth parents. I’ve also worked with people in crisis, victims of rape and incest. You name it. That is how I can make it seem real. Plus, I thought it would be interesting to have something happen to a character where even Christians (in their minds) might justify a young woman getting an abortion. Susie didn’t know who raped her. A lot of people would say then that would make it okay for her to abort even though in reality the child is in the same predicament regardless. The child is totally at the mercy of the birth mother as to whether it will be born or not.

2. It’s Not About Him, the second book in the series, focused on the heartbreak of an unplanned pregnancy due to rape and the decision to give up a baby for adoption. What inspired you to write this story?

I worked with a birthmother who wanted to place her toddler with an adoptive family because the father, her husband, was getting released from prison for child molesting and she wanted to protect her daughter. Since he was in prison while the petition to terminate his rights was filed it went through without a hitch. She was able to keep in loose contact with the adoptive family and protect her daughter as well. Plus, I just know tons of people who are adopted. There are few, if any, books that I am aware of that tell the story from the birth mother’s perspective in a way that is positive in regards to their decision. Plus, most people don’t think about how much it hurts the adoptive parents who know the birth mother to be excited about their new child when the birth mother is grieving. It’s tough and I’ve seen many people cry through these situations.

3. You include thought provoking discussion questions at the end of the book that encourage young people to think about the choices the characters made in the story. How have your readers responded to It’s Not About Him and the decisions made?

Readers have been great. The most heartfelt comments I have gotten thusfar have come from both adopted children and from women who have decided to place their children for adoption. They usually say they like how realistic the story is and how it shows how unselfish it is to do this (place your child for adoption) and also how difficult, especially when you don’t feel supported by family.

4. What is the most important thing you want readers to take away from reading this novel?

Just because someone ends up pregnant doesn’t mean they have only three choices. One, abort…two, parent the child even they aren’t ready….or three, give the child up never to be seen again. There are other options. Open adoption allows the birth mother to know the child is okay due to ongoing contact that they and the adoptive parents agree on. It can be letters and pictures or actual visits. It also is better for the child. They don’t get this huge need to find their birth parent when they are teens. Why? They already know who they are. I just want people to realize this option exists and when it works well, it’s a beautiful thing. God can bless people through open adoption and turn a terrible situation (rape) into a life-saving and life-giving blessing.

Michelle Sutton, otherwise known as the Edgy Inspirational Author, is a member of ACFW, a social worker by trade, and a prolific reader/book reviewer/blogger the rest of the time. She lives in Arizona with her husband of over nineteen years and her two teenage sons. You will find her on the Web at

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