I have been asked by many readers what it was that inspired me to create the central characters in A World I Never Made. Before World, I had written two other novels and had calmed down after twice going through the emotional cycle of elation at getting an agent and increasing disappointment and depression at serial rejection by the publishing world. I was determined—why, I am not sure—to keep on writing. One night I was told a very sad story about a young woman who had committed suicide and left a taped message to each of her parents and siblings. This woman had been seemingly happy. But what if she had had reason to be angry at one of her loved ones? What was on those cassettes? What story did they tell?
I have good relationships with my daughters, but I got to thinking about a father-daughter relationship that had gone wrong, that had given the daughter reason to be bitter and angry at her father.
In his novel, The Man With The Golden Arm, Nelson Algren said (I’m paraphrasing) that those closest to our hearts tread heaviest upon them. From this seemingly simple statement of fact springs, I believe, much if not all of human drama. Algren’s words have resonated with me since I read them more than twenty years ago. It is a given that we hurt each other. But it is equally true, I believe, that redemption is offered to us, often in ways that we would never have imagined possible.
These thoughts were the genesis of A World I Never Made. I started with the idea of a father and daughter who are not completely estranged but who have longstanding and unresolved feelings of anger and recrimination. It sometimes takes a great and dangerous storm to clear these feelings away and thus the thriller genre and its terrorism component. A World I Never Made started in my mind with its characters and their need for redemption. The fast-paced plot came second, although it was great fun to write.
James LePore is The Story Plant’s Author of the Month, which means we are offering – for one more day only – sensational deals on his work. You can read more about the program here.