JulieClark. Photo by Eric A. Reid

By Mari Kubani

SMDP Intern

Julie Clark is a teacher, author, mother, and Santa Monica native. Julie’s second book, “The Last Flight” was released on June 23.

Her book uses multiple perspectives to tell the story of a wealthy woman, Claire, who wants to escape her “perfect” Manhattan life. Her husband is the descendant of a notable political dynasty, and Claire’s life consists of charity events and works for her husband’s foundation. However, behind closed doors, Claire is abused by her husband, and trapped in a life that others envy.

However, Claire has a plan to escape her life. A chance meeting with a stranger in an airport, also looking to escape, becomes her ticket to freedom. The two women switch destinations, Claire takes Eva’s ticket to Oakland, and Eva takes Claire’s and flies to Puerto Rico. However, when the flight to Puerto Rico goes down, Claire realizes she is out of options, as the news of her death will quickly spread. Claire makes the decision to completely restart her life, to live as Eva and take on her life, and her secrets.

Clark said her inspiration for this book came from her fascination with the idea that someone could completely disappear from their life: “I’m really interested in the idea of whether it is possible to disappear from your life, it’s just one of those questions. I don’t know how it occurred to me, but it just was something I started thinking about probably five years ago and just sort of built that ‘what-if’ question: what if someone wanted to vanish? How would they do that, why would they do that, where would they go, how would they live, how could they work? You know it’s just one of those questions that you chase down and then the more you think about it the more solutions come to you and soon you have a world that you’ve created.”

Clark believes that her book is important for everybody to read and believes it can appeal to a wide range of audiences. She emphasizes that it is “a book for women, it’s a book for men, it’s a book for abuse survivors, it’s a book for progressives, its a book for conservatives. I think it’s a book that should speak to every sector of our community.”

The message of women supporting women is an important one in The Last Flight. Clark says that this is an important message to her. She feels as though society pushes women to see one another as competitors, a toxic culture that Clark believes goes against women’s natural instincts to support one another: “We want to be on each others side, we want to have each other’s back we want to watch out for our friend at the bar or our friends on the street, we want to make sure that everyone gets home safely.”

The Last Flight is dedicated to “all women who have come forward with their stories. Whether it be in front of a congressional panel on live television or alone in a windowless human resources office — we hear you. We believe you.” Clark says that this dedication is of deep significance to her. She says that it is important now, in a time when women’s credibility continues to be called into question, to “write female characters as we want society to view them.” She says that women are always being criticized for being hysterical, or emotional, or bossy and that there are “100 different ways to criticize a woman and you know not nearly as many ways to criticize a man.” She says that this book is her take on the voices of women and how they are viewed. She wanted to make sure that both of her female characters were reliable narrators so that they cannot be used to continue the history of microaggressions that consistently are used to discredit women.

Clark started working on The Last Flight right before her first book, The Ones We Choose, was published in 2018. She then spent two years revising it before it hit the shelves on June 23 of this year. The book is available everywhere books are sold.