Every novel brings with it its own challenges. Every time I have to return to the structural closet and try on everything hanging there until I find something that fits. And I still end up standing in front of the mirror consumed by uncertainty and wondering, “Does this work?”
I’m writing towards FREEDOM. Towards imagining better worlds and promoting a freer, more just and equitable society that provides a platform for the rebels and dreamers, the marginalized and misfits who can provoke change.
I talk to my characters and I walk through their worlds in my mind. I look in closets and drawers. My characters probably consider me an annoying snoop but I’m telling their story and they’d be lost to the silence if I didn’t. Writing permits me more control over the world than, say, reality.
The main character, Sonny Lapinsky, decided he was a boxer. At the time, I knew nothing about boxing and I resisted. But the character was determined to be a boxer. So, I had to learn everything I could about boxers in the 1940’s.
I told (my aunt) I’d found distant relatives. She said, “why do you bother? There was a vendetta. That’s the past. Who cares about that now?” The word vendetta raised so many questions for me as a writer.
Most often I don’t know what I’m doing or what I’ve done until it’s done. I can not imagine being conscious of some sensitive audience and thereby likely eroding your honesty.