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Janine Latus biography

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Janine Latus

Janine Latus

Janine Latus Biography

Janine Latus is a freelance writer, radio commentator, and regular speaker on domestic abuse issues. She has busked on the streets of Chicago to write about what it’s like to sing for your supper. She has galloped the beaches of the Dominican Republic, eaten her way through Kansas City and danced herself into a frenzy, all to gather the kind of you-are-there details that make a story sing. She has coaxed women to tell her how much they weigh and why, and couples to admit how much they earn, how they spend their money and what they’d like to do differently. She has cried along with women as they described surviving mastectomies, and wept with their family members when they did not.

Her work has appeared in O magazine, More, Woman’s Day, Family Circle, Parents, All You, American Baby and the in-flight magazines for US Air, American Airlines, Continental and TWA. She has written for WomensWallStreet.com and MSN Money. Her commentaries have aired on Public Radio International’s Marketplace, and she routinely speaks at conferences, workshops and press events on things as far apart as domestic violence and the joy of selecting the perfect verb. She has taught at the Missouri School of Journalism and at East Carolina University, and at writing workshops in Missouri, University of North Carolina and Wisconsin.  She is on the board of directors of the American Society of Journalists and Authors and lives in Virginia. If I Am Missing or Dead is her first book.

Link to Janine's website

This biography was last updated on 08/16/2011.

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Interview

Janine Latus discusses If I Am Missing or Dead.

In the book, Amy's story is interwoven with your own. Why did you choose to structure the book this way?

I thought of it as a double helix, our lives winding around each other's, connecting at family gatherings and shared crises and through the tiny threads of phone calls, letters, and cards. Our lives were so different, yet we each sought men who would give us that fiction, that shudder of excitement. By telling both of our stories I wanted to convey the spectrum of emotional and physical abuse. It's always emotional, understand. The physical is a form of control through fear, and fear is an emotion. As I point out in the book, physical abuse is not necessarily worse that emotional abuse. It's just a different shape.


Toward the end of the book, someone asks you if Amy's death has made you reconsider your divorce. You respond that it has made you "even more sure. Life's too short to be afraid." How has Amy's death changed your understanding of your own experiences?

I don't understand this question well enough to give you a good answer. If you mean has Amy's death made me even more determined to speak out for abused women, yes. ...

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If I Am Missing or Dead jacket
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  • Author Image Not Available

    Kurt Brown (editor)

    Kurt Brown is the author of four books of poetry and editor of numerous anthologies. He teaches at Sarah Lawrence College and lives in New York City. (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    If I Am Missing or Dead

    Try:
    Killer Verse
    by Kurt Brown (editor)

  • Jennifer Lauck

    Jennifer Lauck

    Jennifer Lauck is an award winning journalist and the author of the New York Times Bestseller Blackbird. Lauck followed Blackbird with the sequel Still Waters and a collection of short stories titled Show Me the Way. She also... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    If I Am Missing or Dead

    Try:
    Blackbird
    by Jennifer Lauck

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