"The idea of a wanton woman is something I have inserted into almost all of my books," Ms. Morrison said. "An outlaw figure who is disallowed in the community because of her imagination or activity or status—that kind of anarchic figure has always fascinated me. And the benefits they bring with them, in spite of the fact that they are either dismissed or upbraided—something about their presence is constructive in the long run. Sula, for instance, was someone the other characters missed terribly when she was gone, even though she was the pariah. In Love, Junior is a poor, rootless, free-floating young woman—a survivor, a manipulator, a hungry person—but she does create a space where people can come with their better selves."
She said she was alarmed when she realized the title of this book might be Love, but the fact of her alarm was so interesting to her, it kept her from dismissing the idea.
"It is easily the most empty cliché, the most useless word, and at the same time the most powerful human emotion—because hatred is involved in it, too. I thought if I removed the word from nearly every other place in the manuscript, it could become an earned word. If I could give the word, in my very modest way, its girth and its meaning and its terrible price and its clarity at the moment when that is all there is time for, then the title does work for me."