by Shelt Garner
For about a decade, I’ve struggled with how to tell the story of the ROKon Magazine era of my life in Seoul. Little did I know that I was going to pretty much throw that story up in the air, scramble it and then plop it in the United States about a decade after it happened.
And make it an allegorical thriller of the Trump Era!
But, here we are.
This novel is very personal to me for a number of reasons. I’ve finally figured out a way to convey how bonkers, unique and special the late Annie Shapiro was. Or, at least, the very romanticized version of her I remember all these years later.
I really want to convey Annie Shapiro in the novel and, as such, I lean into what I remember of her when constructing my heroine. (And the heroine’s mother.) It fits very well into my overall vision for the novel.
The thing about writing your first novel, at least for me, is when you actually get into it, you find yourself throwing everything you have at it. But you have to be careful about that. Or, if you’re going to do it, you have to make it seamless. It has to make sense. It can’t just be a jumble of grievances, pet peeves and fond memories throw together without any connection.
You have to have a canon, a plot and characters who inhabit this mixture of goals in a meaningful manner. I have worked so, so very hard to create a universe that I believe in so absolutely that you, the reader, will also believe it’s possible.
We’ll see, I guess.