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Shattering Glass
Shattering Glass
A Novel
by Nancy-Gay Rotstein




Read Nancy-Gay Rotstein's Biography

Why the title "Shattering Glass"?
"Shattering Glass" has many meanings in my novel.

• “Firstly, this novel is about shattering the glass ceiling and all the things we weren't told would happen after we shatter the glass ceiling.

• “I believe that we all have our personal glass ceilings — goals we set for ourselves and strive to achieve. I wanted to look at how our lives are affected once we reach them.”

• “It is also about shattering the precepts and behavioral stereotypes society has set for a woman with children.”

• “An aspect of the term that became particularly intriguing as I researched and developed my characters has to do with how we evaluate our success. Judy, Dede and Barbara overcome difficulties and become successful in the eyes of the world but not in their own. I talked with many women who you and I would consider successful and often heard them speak about themselves as failures. It was that common thread in what they were saying that led me to what I’ve come to identify as the “SHATTERING GLASS” PHENOMENON: that although we can see our success in terms of career achievements outside the home, we continue, as did our mothers and grandmothers before us, to think of ourselves as failures when we have any difficulties or problems in our personal lives. This kind of thinking limits us and sabotages our feelings of success. Women need to shatter those negative images. I believe that identifying the inconsistent standards by which we judge ourselves is crucial."

The Real Life Research That Went Into SHATTERING GLASS
Nancy-Gay Rotstein’s intensive research approach to writing, professional training in history and legal expertise, particularly in the area of child’s rights, richly enhance the poignant portrayals of the women in SHATTERING GLASS. In addition to using her own personal experiences and knowledge, Nancy-Gay Rotstein conducted extensive background research to assure authenticity in the depiction of her settings, her characters, and their stories.

“I wanted every scene and every emotion a character expressed to be realistic, and to do this I stepped into the shoes of each of them.”

• For the authenticity of Judy's story and her teenage son who gets into trouble with the police, she went "underground" for her research. With her credentials in children's rights – she had written a study on the Quality of Legal Representation for Children – she was able to gain admittance to a Detention Centre outside of Washington and was allowed into areas restricted to staff only. “I wanted to experience first-hand the juvenile penal system as a mother might and to know her thoughts at seeing her child locked up there,” she says. “But I was not prepared for what I saw and the emotions I felt.” She was also able to get inside a half-way house for runaway teenagers. “What I witnessed and the insights I gained from both experiences form the basis of a major crisis in Judy's life.”

• She begins the story of Dede, the Canadian MP’s wife, amid the drama of the Trudeau years, providing a factually authentic backdrop based on her personal archival research. Many of the concerns and questions raised by her characters stem from her own experiences as well as her observations and conversations with other women.

• From Toronto, Ottawa, New York, Washington, London to Lake Como, where her final chapters are set, she revisited every street and every location she wrote about and walked the blocks and streets her characters walk. In order to have the emotional impact on the reader that she wanted, Rotstein felt it was important that her settings, buildings and local color be authentic. As images of Italy are integral to the end of her story, she returned there to write the last chapters in order to capture the impact of the sights and sounds of the land as the three characters face the decisions that would change their lives forever.

“I Felt Compelled to Write This Book”
Nancy-Gay Rotstein went back to university to study law after her children were well along in school (like Judy in the novel). “Although enjoying the challenge, I was constantly thinking that I should be at home instead. In talking with other women, I realized my feelings of guilt were not unique.

“I believe this preoccupation with the dilemma of how to have a successful career and still be a good parent continues to be the single most pressing and unresolved issue for women of our time.

“To show the scope of this problem I let my three women tell their own stories. Hoping to create a fresh awareness of these issues and an urgency to deal with them, I put reality into fiction. Their stories could and do belong to all of us who have both jobs and children. I felt this was a book that needed to be written”.

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Nancy-Gay Rotstein's Biography

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Nancy-Gay Rotstein
author of Shattering Glass: A Novel
This Horizon and Beyond: Poems Selected and New

Copyright Nancy-Gay Rotstein