I love to lie. I can’t tell a true story the same way two times – each time I add new details, stretch the possibilities of what could happen, twist the ending just a little bit. And so I’m a writer of fiction – I took my dirty little secret and turned it into a career! But something disturbed my practice of lying while writing The Paradise Guest House. I had to do research. I hate research. Research is the opposite of making stuff up. The novel takes place in Bali a year after the 2002 terrorist attacks that killed over 200 people. I created a young woman (making stuff up) who went to Bali on business and got caught in the bombing. (making stuff up) She goes back to Bali a year later to find the man who saved her. (more making stuff up.) But, in order to write that story I needed to learn about Bali, its people, religion, and culture. I needed to know about terrorism and the details of those attacks. I needed to understand post-traumatic stress syndrome. Research! So a funny thing happened on the way to publishing this novel. I had to learn to tell the truth. For the novel to work, I had to know Bali and its terrible history well enough to make my fictional story ring true. Did I come to love research? No. But I had to do it. Here’s one more dirty little secret: My next novel doesn’t require research. It’s all about making stuff up. Back to my home turf. I’m so happy I can lie again.
Causes Ellen Sussman Supports
Susan G. Komen For The Cure