#HAHG Radio Interview from the K-Zone “Lunchbox”

radio host wpkz travis condon and author s.m. stevens

Doing a live radio interview for “The K-Zone Lunchbox” with Travis at WPKZ-Radio (105.3 FM/1280 AM), in Fitchburg, Mass., last Friday was a blast! It was my first chance to talk about Horseshoes and Hand Grenades on the radio, and Travis was an amazing interviewer.

I’ve sat in on many a radio interview over the years in my role as a PR pro, but that doesn’t mean I wasn’t a tad nervous. But Travis made it easy.

If you’d like to learn a bit more about me and my #MeToo novel Horseshoes and Hand Grenades, you can listen to the WPKZ “Lunchbox” interview here.

Here are a few excerpts from the 15-minute segment (edited somewhat to minimize my rambling):

Travis: Your new book, Horseshoes and Hand Grenades, tackles a very serious issue – the #MeToo movement. What made you want to tackle this?

S.M. Stevens: Year ago, I had written a manuscript about childhood incest, which wasn’t very good. Then, all the Harvey Weinstein coverage started, and I was fascinated because I was watching people ask the same questions of these sexual harassment victims in the workplace that they had asked of incest victims, which are things like, Was it really that bad? Was it partly your fault? Why did you wait so long to speak up? You must have some ulterior motive if you waited years and now you’re saying something.

Travis: I think a lot of folks when they start reading your book — they may have seen a situation like this and at the time, maybe not thought anything of it, but in looking back will say, “Hey, to the people who were directly impacted by this, it was a traumatic incident.”

S.M. Stevens: That’s a great point, and that’s one of the reasons that I wrote it. It is not a story of extreme sexual assault, if you can even say that. I wanted people to understand that it doesn’t have to be severe, so to speak, to count. That’s actually where the title comes from — almost does count in more things than horseshoes and hand grenades. 

Travis: I can only imagine there are people out there who question, Was my experience serious enough? Was it a big enough deal? And as you mention, anything that you’re uncomfortable with, that’s crossing the line.

S.M. Stevens: I totally agree. If you cross the line between a parent and child — that bond of trust that  should be there — that’s an issue. If the line of what’s appropriate in a work environment is crossed, that’s an issue. I look at it this way. We don’t discount other crimes the way we do harassment crimes. If somebody has $10 stolen from them, that’s a crime just as having $1,000 stolen from you is a crime. We always accept that if someone is a victim of a burglary or theft, they suffered in some way. So why wouldn’t it be the same, that if somebody undergoes some kind of crime in this area, that it wouldn’t affect them? Of course it does.

Travis: When people read this, you’re hoping they’ll learn something. There is a direct takeaway from this book.  

S.M. Stevens: I hope so. I hope people who are not victims of these situations and the ones who ask the questions — I hope the book takes them into the mindset of the characters and they start to understand why women — or any victims, men too — don’t speak up at first. 

Travis: Your two main characters are in their 20s. In your 20’s you’re an adult but you’re still figuring a lot of things out. Is that why you chose to go with that age range, because of that vulnerability?

S.M. Stevens: Yes, and because that’s when women and men are first learning about the business world. I believe this is the first book with a #MeToo theme that addresses women in their 20s. There are a couple of books out there with older women, and there’s probably going to be a lot more in the near future, but I believe this is the first in which the heroines are in their 20s, which is when you’re first learning about power plays, and corporate politics, and how to act in the office. So that choice was very intentional.

Travis: Are you hoping that this will serve as an eye-opening experience for anyone joining the working world? 

S.M. Stevens: That would be amazing. I would love it to become some kind of guidebook for young people.