The Chills at Will Podcast podcast

Episode 145 with Vanessa A. Bee, Reflective, Creative, and Multitalented Writer of Home Bound: An Uprooted Daughter’s Reflections on Belonging

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Episode 145 Notes and Links to Vanessa Bee’s Work 


   On Episode 145 of The Chills at Will Podcast, Pete welcomes Vanessa Bee, and the two discuss, among other topics, Vanessa’s adoption, her hunger for books and ideas of representation (or lack thereof) in her literary world, family dynamics and different forms of love, her various experiences living in three countries and two continents, the exquisite crafting and structuring of her book to center “home” in myriad ways, her multilingualism and its effects on her writing, evangelicalism and her coming-of-age in a changing and sometimes-chaotic world.



   Vanessa A. Bee is a consumer protection lawyer and essayist. Born in Cameroon, she grew up in France, England, and the United States. Vanessa holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Nevada and a law degree from Harvard.

Vanessa Bee's Website


Buy Homebound


Book Excerpt: “You Have to Suffer” from Guernica, 2020


Excerpt from Home Bound-From The Cut, October 2022-"Easy Target"


October 21 Online Event-Vanessa in Conversation with Sanae Lemoine for Books are Magic: 7pm EST



At about 7:10, Vanessa discusses the excitement and hubbub surrounding the release of her book on October 11, including tour stops


At about 9:55, Pete asks Vanessa about her history with languages and her relationship with the written word in her childhood


At about 14:10, the two discuss ideas of the reimagination of gendered words in French 


At about 15:00, Vanessa outlines formative and important reading from her childhood 


At about 17:30, Vanessa discusses ideas of representation (or lack thereof) in her childhood reading, and the all-too-rare occasions in which she found that representation, including the power Americanah by Adichie


At about 22:00, Vanessa details her college and postgraduate reading, both for business (law school!) and pleasure, and Pete follows up by asking about contemporary reading 


At about 25:50, Pete wonders about “seeds” for Vanessa’s book and she responds to Pete’s question about “ ‘Eureka’ moments” 


At about 30:45, Pete favorably compares Vanessa’s book to Jean Guerrero’s Crux and Nadia Owusu’s 


At about 31:25, Vanessa explains meanings for her book’s title


At about 32:40, The two detail the book’s structure and its use of definitions of “home” as well as the book’s first chapter and connections to “home”; Vanessa gives an idea of her mindset during the book’s opening scenes


At about 34:30, Vanessa explains the significance of empathy and sympathy in her book and their connections to a Page Six quote from Ishiguro


At about 37:00, Vanessa discusses the meaning of her names and gives background on her adoption 


At about 42:35, Pete compliments Vanessa for her multidimensional portrayals of her fathers, adopted and biological 


At about 43:25, Vanessa details her childhood homes and moves and Pete notes her multifaceted coverage of the neighborhood in rational ways and more visceral ones 


At about 45:20, Vanessa remarks that her two years at Internat in France were some of her “favorite childhood years” and explains why


At about 46:25, Vanessa gives background on her family’s move to Reno


At about 47:50, Pete wonders how much of joining churches, especially in London and Reno, was based on ideas of home and community and/or faith


At about 49:40, Pete highlights Lucky Lane in Reno, and Vanessa explains its significance  


At about 52:35, The two discuss a fateful phone call with Vanessa’s biological father, and she addresses the immediate and long-term effects of her father’s death


At about 56:15, The two discuss Harvest Fellowship and its importance in her life, including her boyfriend and future husband and his treatment in the book, and the pivotal 2008 election 


At about 1:00:00, Vanessa details a lack of communication between father and daughter 


At about 1:01:00, Vanessa responds to Pete’s questions about exposure to a liberal group of friends at Harvard


At about 1:03:00, The two discuss a “growing apart” of husband and wife 


At about 1:05:30, Pete cites a profound excerpt that sums up her time in evangelical circles


At about 1:06:10, Vanessa explicates the importance of her first condo that she owned and talks about the “complex topic” of gentrification 


At about 1:09:40, the two discuss different meanings of “home” as laid out in chapters in the book-home in the body, etc.-including ideas of colorism, racism, and the importance of Alek Wek in Vanessa’s life and so many others’ lives


At about 1:13:40, the two discuss “home as a safe space” and stories of sexual harassment and abuse, and Pete asks about catharsis for Vanessa


At about 1:18:20, Vanessa gives out social media info and thanks publisher Astra House


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The intro song for The Chills at Will Podcast is “Wind Down” (Instrumental Version), and the other song played on this episode was “Hoops” (Instrumental)” by Matt Weidauer, and both songs are used through

The Chills at Will Podcast is joining Patreon in October! Pete will be spreading the word-sharing links and discussing the perks that come with Patreon membership during next week’s episode with Gustavo Barahona-Lopez. Keep your ears and eyes out as we unveil Chills at Will merch like refrigerator magnets and t shirts and unlock bonus episodes. 

Please tune in for Episode 146 with Jonathan Escoffery, the author of the linked story collection, If I Survive You, a National Book Award Nominee, a New York Times Editor’s Choice, and an Indie National Bestseller. If I Survive You has been named a ‘best’ or ‘most anticipated’ book by Entertainment Weekly, Oprah Daily, and elsewhere.

The episode will air on October 18.


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