Friday, September 28, 2007

Andromeda Romano-Lax

Andromeda Romano-Lax worked as a freelance journalist and travel writer before turning to fiction. Among her nonfiction works are travel and natural history guidebooks to Alaska and Mexico, as well as a travel narrative, Searching for Steinbeck's Sea of Cortez: A Makeshift Expedition Along Baja's Desert Coast.

Her latest book is a novel, The Spanish Bow.

From a Q & A at her website:

Q: What inspired you to move from the world of nonfiction and journalism to fiction?

A: Turning to fiction was a huge departure for me. For a decade, I’d made a living from nonfiction and was perhaps one of the few journalists or freelance writers who doesn’t secretly dream of writing a Great American (or Spanish) Novel. Not counting childhood attempts, I hadn’t completed a short story before I started this novel. No one was more surprised than me when the novel — and fiction — took over my life.

On the other hand, I’d already written many travel books, and what I loved best about this novel was that it allowed me to travel not only geographically, but through time. I don’t mean that in the lightest metaphorical sense. As both writers and readers know, being inside a novel feels astonishingly real, sometimes more real than life itself. It was a revelation to me: I can do anything and go anywhere I want. I can follow my curiosity anywhere. That new awareness flooded me with new ideas and new interests.

It also made me feel connected to past generations in a way I’d never felt. The week in March 2004 when Madrid’s Atocha train station was bombed, I’d just finished writing a scene in the novel about a 19th century terrorist bombing in Spain, and I could still recall our own visit, five months earlier, to the real Atocha station. Another episode in the book, about Spain’s war disasters in Morocco, as well as the nation’s confusion and frustration with diminishing Empire, reminded me of the American experience in Vietnam and Iraq. Being able to live in several worlds over the last five years – a fictional world as well as real worlds of both present and past – helped me find more personal meaning in current events. I hope I’ve been able to share that sense of meaning and connection with my readers, while entertaining them.
Read an excerpt from The Spanish Bow, and learn more about the book and author at Andromeda Romano-Lax's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Spanish Bow.

--Marshal Zeringue