October 30, 2013

Lifting the curtain: What recording my novel for AUDIBLE.COM taught me

I'm gonna lift the curtain on my novel Who by Fire and why you might want to listen to it via Audible.com. Here's the scoop.

I put aside this novel that was finished when my husband said after 22 years of marriage, oh-so-Greta-Garbo, "I need to live alone."

This event stopped me in my tracks—and eventually I blogged my life while I was living it. And that turned into the memoir (Re)Making Love: a sex after sixty story. Yes, there is sex after sixty.

That book like Who by Fire is a love story but oddly one that fiction would probably not find credible. You know the line: Truth is stranger than fiction?

I have a twist on that one.

I learned through these two books that the fictional account of my story has greater emotional truth and intellectual significance than the factual one that you can find online and in the 2011 Valentine’s Day issue of Real Simple Magazine where my husband and I tell our story.

Here’s how I learned what the so-called real story didn’t reveal. I am the reader for the audible.com version of Who by Fire. While reading it aloud in an NPR recording studio, I discovered my own book as if for the first time.

I realized I’d written this novel to find the man I somehow knew on the unconscious level I was losing. Good fiction, meaning you know while you’re reading that the writer is risking her life, can go to this place of hard truth in a way that memoir because of its hold on the so-called facts can’t do. What you’ll get here is the close-to the bone story that answers the deeply Jewish question, Can memory lead to forgiveness? I hope you’ll decide to read it--or, perhaps better, listen to it.

But don’t trust me. Trust a man.

How about Pulitzer prize winner Robert Olen Butler who said, "Who by Fire is a lovely, innovative, deeply engaging novel about how it is that human beings make their way through the mysteries of existence." Or, trust Pulitzer Prize finalist Lee Martin who said, "Who by Fire, is a lyric meditation on love and desire, one that will catch you up in the blaze of its eroticism, its tender evocation of love and the passions and accommodations of a life lived through the flesh and through the imagination. Who by Fire explores the question, Can memory lead to forgiveness? in a story I won’t soon forget."

With thanks here to Anthony Policastro, CEO of Outer Banks Publishing Group, for choosing this book that I had put aside because I thought it unworthy and who says this about the novel he published:

Who by Fire breaks new literary ground: A complex tale of love, betrayal, and
the search for self. A male narrator tells the story he does not actually know but
discovers through memory, through piecing the puzzles of his marriage, through
his wife’s goodness and her betrayal. He confronts paradox with music, science
and a conflagration he witnessed in his native Iowa. Underlying his search is
the quest for heroism and for his own father. Who by Fire has earned its place
among books that matter.Outer Banks Publishing Group