Friday, September 18, 2009


A couple nights ago I was invited to attend a very fun book club, full of lively, friendly women and good readers. Everyone had done their reading, and they all felt perfectly free to express their opinions of MOURNING BECOMES CASSANDRA, even in front of me. (Example: "I thought James was boring." (!!!!!)) Let me just say, if you're Ivan Doig, you may want to stay away from this candid club.

I get asked questions about writing the book, such as how I came up with various plot points or how I write, and I hope I'm not making up the answers, but I might be... Isn't it supposed to be true that, after telling a lie enough times, even you get confused as to whether or not it's true? (BTW, and forgive this disjointed post, just read a wonderful book in two days called PROVENANCE by Laney Salisbury and Aly Sujo. All about a con man who passes forgeries of modern art. Talk about a good liar!) But this group had a new one: "Which of the characters was your favorite?" I have blogged before on how all the characters, even the dislikeable ones, become dear to me, but it was fun to have a chance to mention Riley.

Riley, one of Cass's co-workers at Free Universe, appeared fully-formed out of nowhere, and he became a place to insert all my favorite nerdy bits, including allusions to my failed Jeopardy! bid, the Battlestar Galactica references, and an old joke from my husband's college ministry years ago. Riley first came on the scene in the chapter where he criticizes Cass's Antarctica work, but when I had to go back and flesh out the chapter where she lands the job, it was a joy to give him more air time.

When I cast the movie version in my head, Riley is always Jack Black. So if Jack Black's agent ever reads this blog, and Jack would like to make $50, please do call.

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