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Terry McMillan will be talking about her latest book ‘I Almost Forgot About You’ in Baltimore on June 14. (Courtesy photo)

Best-selling author Terry McMillan is back with a new novel, “I Almost Forgot About You.” McMillan recently spoke with the {AFRO} about the novel, how she hopes to empower her readers, and even gave her thoughts on the show Empire’s portrayal of unhealthy relationships.

“I Almost Forgot About You,” released on June 7, is about Dr. Georgia Young, who seemingly has it all but starts feeling stuck and restless, and decides to make some major changes in her life and embarks on a wild journey.

About her latest protagonist, Dr. Georgia, McMillan said, “She’s a middle-aged-woman who was successful and did it all right. She went to the right college, is a professional, she’s successful, divorced and her kids are adults. She reaches a plateau and she realizes, like so many millions of women who are afraid to own it, that she’s bored with her life and she’s like, ‘Where else can I go?.’”

With this novel McMillan wanted to “show that you can change lanes at middle age, and that at 50 and 60 it’s not all downhill like a lot of young people think. You don’t just roll over and prepare for your grave,” said McMillan, who is 64. “By the time you’re fifty, sometimes you’re just getting your stride.”

Dr. Georgia’s journey is “twofold” said McMillan. “The other component is that the woman ends up finding out someone that she loved, years ago in college, has passed away….So she decides that she’s going to look up all the men that she’s ever loved.”

McMillan is hoping readers will be inspired by Georgia’s journey into her past. “We are all the sum total of who we’ve loved, who’s loved us, who’s broken our hearts, whose hearts we’ve broken, and how we were raised. You can learn something from where you’ve been,” she said.

Although there are many lessons to be learned throughout the story, McMillan said that she doesn’t consider her work to be “didactic.” However, she does hope to inspire readers, and said, “…I do think that writing fiction on a human level should make people feel empowered.”

McMillan’s female protagonists are usually Black, successful and confident with “self-love” being a central theme that can often be seen throughout her many books, including her most famous works, “Waiting to Exhale” and “How Stella Got Her Grove Back.”

McMillan is concerned with unhealthy relationships, particularly some that she said are  often seen on some of today’s top ranked television shows.

“I don’t want to dog ‘Empire,’ but there is not one healthy relationship on that show, yet people still love it. The real reason people love it, is because they identify with it, and that’s what’s so sad,” said McMillan.

Despite her feelings towards what seems to be the popularization of unhealthy relationships, McMillan is not afraid to let people know that she herself is no stranger to it.

“Look…I grew up poor with no lights and heat being turned off,” said McMillan, “My mother and father used to fight, she threw his butt out, she tried to shoot him. So it’s not like I don’t know this stuff, my first book was a reflection of it, but I’m more interested in how we get somewhere else so that more generations are more educated, happier, that we find more joy, that we travel, and we help  our children.”

Terry McMillan will be at the Central Library, 400 Cathedral St., Baltimore, Md. 21201 on June 14 at 7:00 p.m.