Conversations on the Art of Writing Fiction


Not long ago, a friend of mine was reading a manuscript version of my new novel, Getting Right (release date January 29, 2016), and looked up at me to ask, “How can you bear the irony of this?”

Her question stemmed from her knowledge that my novel, Getting Right, is fictionally structured around my brother’s and sister’s struggles with terminal illness. My brother died from cancer in 2006. My sister died from cancer in 2008. I finished writing Getting Right in 2012 and was diagnosed with cancer in 2015. (My case, unlike theirs, has been cured—as much as anything like this can be—so I again have the good fortune to be here interpreting what all this means—to me, at least.) (more…)

Fact or Fiction?

My last blog ended with a question from a person who had just read my new novel, Getting Right. He wanted to know whether the book was fiction or memoir. I believe that it’s a novel, although I understand why the question comes up.

As I previously wrote, there is a factual basis for the story in Getting Right—my brother and sister both died of cancer, and they were prototypes for the characters Len and Connie. Some of the other family members who appear also have prototypes in the “real” world. But I also wrote about how I made a conscious effort to create the characters I did and the narrative world they inhabit. So, in the end, Getting Right has autobiographical elements for sure, but the important thing for me, as a writer, was to explore how memory and imagination interplay in fiction, rather than tell a “true story.” (more…)