Author Interview: The Unprotected’s Kelly Sokol

Posted April 25, 2017 by shooting in Uncategorized / 14 Comments

Author Interview with The Unprotected’s Kelly Sokol

I’d like to welcome author Kelly Sokol to the blog today. I’m talking with her about her novel, The Unprotected. I hope you enjoy the interview and please read to the bottom of the page for a book summary and links on where to buy!

Your novel focuses on post-partum depression, and you’ve spoken about the topic in fiction in the past. What led you to this particular subject?

My stories always start with a character. I did not intend to write about postpartum depression or any of the other perinatal mood disorders that often accompany pregnancy and birth just as I didn’t intend on writing about infertility. Lara James was a character in crisis; that’s how I first knew her on the page. I had to pull the threads of her story to find out what brought her there and how she would change as a result. That said, I firmly believe we need to discuss postpartum depression louder and far more often than we do. I have learned so much in the course of writing this book. Perinatal mood disorders, including postpartum depression and anxiety, affect one in five women who give birth. And while these are treatable conditions, if left undiagnosed and untreated postpartum depression and the other associated mood disorders can take a catastrophic toll on mother and child. We need to break the taboo.

Where did the title The Unprotected come from? Did you have other ideas first?
The Unprotected was my editor at Skyhorse’s brain child. As soon as I read it I got goosebumps. Its resonance with every character and all of the themes just hums. I struggle with titles, so yes, there were several other working titles. The title brainstorm with my agent and editor didn’t last long: as soon as Chelsey proposed The Unprotected, we knew it was the one.

Have you gotten feedback from people who have experience post-partum depression? If so, what did they have to say?
I have heard a lot of feedback. I have been approached by strangers and friends alike who have said, “I thought I was the only mother to ever have thoughts like that.” One woman was someone I’d known for years. Our children are friends. We spend a lot of time together; but her postpartum experience was something she guarded from everyone, including her friends and her husband. Like Lara, and like thousands of other mothers, she was afraid that if she were honest about what it was like to mother a newborn, she would be labeled a bad mother. Or worse.

Did you have any say as to the book’s cover? What are your thoughts?
I was lucky enough to be involved with every iteration of the book’s cover and I’m thankful to Skyhorse for that. While I will cherish my galley copy with its radically different cover, I love the final look. Like the title, the cover design offers a glimpse of what lies inside on the pages. To me it looks like torn away wallpaper, edges burnt, attempts at perfection stripped away.

Do you see yourself writing more fiction in the future? Will you stay in the women’s fiction genre?

Absolutely! I’m well into a draft of another novel and am enjoying the discovery of  new characters and new secrets and new obsessions.
About the Book: 

They say motherhood changes you.

As a driven advertising executive, Lara James has always put her career before any plans for a family, preferring professional chic to stay-at-home style. But after her father’s death, she realizes she’s ready. More than ready, in fact. Yet pregnancy—something other women seem to accomplish effortlessly, even accidentally—doesn’t come easily to Lara. What began as an adventure quickly becomes a nightmare as she and her husband endure endless IVF treatments, hormone therapy, and devastating miscarriages.

When Lara at last becomes pregnant and gives birth to a daughter, Auden, she believes their determination has paid off. But Auden cries day and night, ear-shattering screams that strip Lara of her nerves and energy. Her life as a sleep-deprived new mother is unrelenting, and, guiltily, Lara can’t help but mourn for what she once had. With her marriage crumbling, Lara is increasingly driven to alarming thoughts and destructive actions she would never have imagined possible before now. Hanging on by a thread, it’s only in her darkest moment that Lara will discover the true depths of her love and devotion—and what she’s willing to face for the family she’s so desperately sought.

At times disturbing, The Unprotected is a bold, unflinching novel for anyone who’s ever wanted children—and wondered what they might have to sacrifice along the way.

Buy Links:



About the Author (Kelly Sokol):

Kelly Sokol is a Pushcart-Prize nominated author and MFA-Creative Writing graduate from Goddard College. She has been featured on NPR, discussing the portrayal of motherhood and postpartum depression in fiction. She teaches creative writing and serves on the Board of Directors at The Muse Writers Center.

When she is not reading, writing or parenting, Kelly dreams, in color, of the mountains. She can often be found skiing or wandering the backcountry. The mother of two plucky daughters, she resides in Virginia.


Goodreads page:

14 responses to “Author Interview: The Unprotected’s Kelly Sokol

  1. This sounds like a great read. I didn’t have PPD but I have generalized anxiety disorder that was definitely increased after the birth of my son. I think I’ll have to give this a read.

  2. As a postpartum depression and postpartum anxiety survivor – I am very leery when it comes to books that are written on it by someone who has not experienced it or who is not an expert in the field. Fiction or not. An author can further perpetuate the stigma that surrounds this very serious illness.
    You really don’t know what this illness is like unless you’ve lived it.

  3. Such an important point of discussion isn’t it, especially to let other women know they’re not alone and that postpartum depression is quite common. Even a work of fiction can help break that stereotype, that depression is something we simply snap out of and in now way is it a reflection on a woman’s ability as a mother or caregiver. Brilliant review Lauren and absolutely loving the new look for the blog. If you need any help with anything, like logos etc, please give me a yell <3 <3

  4. This sounds like such a comfort and help to women (and their partners and family and friends) who are experiencing or have experienced PPD. Great interview! It’s always interesting to hear how an author responds.

  5. I would be interested in reading this. I remember before having my kids, I figured I would never get Postpartum, but after both I struggled just a bit, mostly due to sleep deprivation, but still. We need more attention on this, and women need to realize they aren’t weak because they struggle with it. It is a natural part of the process and some have it harder than others. Great topic and interview, Lauren.

  6. Jen

    Nice interview! I have seen this book several places today. What a great topic to write a book about. We need to be talking about this subject a lot!

  7. I’ve never struggled with postpartum depression but can definitely see how some women do. Motherhood is completely overwhelming and challenging and the newborn days are rough!
    This looks like a really good read!

  8. Postpartum depression is a topic that really does need more discussion, so I’m glad she wrote a book about a character with it! This sounds like an awesome read!

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