How did the original idea that eventually became The Little Book come to you?Read the complete Q & A.
My construction of this story began in 1974, the year I studied at Stanford, and a friend introduced me to a book called Wittgenstein’s Vienna. He and I began theorizing about immersing ourselves there and then, and I began thinking up a thriller/mystery-type story about traveling in time to turn-of-the-century, fin de siecle Vienna and meeting the child Hitler: would you kill him? I began collecting and reading articles and books about the period and began expanding my imaginings way beyond that simple plot line of the first draft. Eventually, I developed a library of over fifty books and expanded the plot well beyond the simple idea of meeting the obligatory love interest and the child Hitler. Wheeler Burden came to life and grew in detail over the years, especially thanks to an eccentric college friend Doug Messenger who had wonderful stories about his baseball and music and to David Crosby who became a friend in the 1980s. The other characters grew out of the needs of the story over the years, and once introduced they developed lives of their own, as a novel’s characters tend to do. I had a full-time job, first as an English teacher and then as a private-school headmaster, so I did my writing sometimes on weekends but mostly on my vacations. But the story was nearly always in my head, gaining characters, details, layers and plot twists.
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