Years ago, hearing that I was writing fiction, a friend asked if it was autobiographical.
“Not exactly,” I said. “It’s about Gypsies in eastern Europe in the early 1400s.”
My friend laughed. “Guess not.”
In fact my narrative of a girl’s childhood with her big brother, her encounter with new environments, and her growth into womanhood was replete with autobiography. So is my current late medieval mystery, shaped by memories of sojourns in a predominantly male milieu and an expatriate community far from home.
How but through experience do we know the workings of the human heart? The incongruous behaviors that erupt out of fear, resentment, loneliness, or grief? The relationships of lovers, friends, and rivals? The smell of wet soil, the taste of salted fish, the sensation of wind on the face? Isn’t it all autobiographical?
I'm a historian who writes novels and literary nonfiction. My home base is Madison, Wisconsin.