I always want to know what sparked a novel--what was the question that haunted or nagged at you that you wanted to explore with Saint Mazie?--Marshal Zeringue
Because she was based on a real person, I knew certain facts about her, and I was curious about the motivation behind them. Like I wanted to know why a Jewish woman would have an interest in the Catholic faith, and why she chose to remain unmarried in her life, and how she became the kind of person who would devote much of her adult life to helping the homeless. Those were the three main mysteries to me: faith, love, and compassion. Pretty big topics – certainly an excellent foundation for a novel.
I loved the structure of the novel, the chorus of voices, Mazie’s diary entries, all forming a tapestry that becomes a living, breathing person. Did you always have this structure in mind and did anything surprise you about it as you were writing?
Initially it was supposed to be just her memoirs. For about nine months, I was certain that would be the structure of the book. But I had to take a little break from writing it because...[read on]