Friday, May 26, 2017

Melodie Winawer

Melodie Winawer's new novel is The Scribe of Siena.

From her Q&A at the Columbia University Medical Center website:

Q: You are a full-time researcher and a practicing neurologist. How did you find time to write a novel?

A: Oh my God, I absolutely have no idea. In addition to being a neurologist and a neuroscientist, I run two—about to be three—courses in the medical school, and I have three children. They were 2, 2, and 5 when I started writing this book, and now they’re 9, 9, and 12.

The short answer is I wrote on the subway a lot. I have a three-hour total commute. I live very far into Brooklyn and I figured out how to travel at a time when I could get a seat. I have occasionally crouched, when I’m desperate, in a corner with my laptop on my knees. I’ve done a lot of my writing—grants, papers, and fiction—on trains. I find that I’m sort of divorced from time and I don’t know what’s going on around me—that can be a good thing. I disappear into whatever I’m writing and then look up and I’m at 168th Street. Or, sometimes, I’ll miss my stop entirely.

Q: Does medicine make an appearance in the book?

A: The protagonist is a neurosurgeon. She has an unusual degree of empathy, which used to help her in her work. She literally feels what her patients feel, and it made her a superb doctor. But that empathy begins to take over in a way that...[read on]
--Marshal Zeringue