“Truth is the only firm ground to stand upon.” —Elizabeth Cady Stanton
When a scandal unfolds, I always wonder two things:
What was the self-told story the perpetrator believed that allowed him to hurt so many people?
What does it do to his family?
When Bernie Madoff’s crimes came to light, I wondered what it would be like to be his wife and wake up one day to find that your entire life was built on air. When Governor Elliot Spitzer was discovered transferring money to a prostitution ring, I could only imagine the pain for his family. Every crime has multiple victims—including the family of the perpetrator.
Writing The Widow of Wall Street allowed me to explore both questions, by inhabiting the points of view of Phoebe Pierce and her husband, Jake.
I need to understand life from as many angles as possible. For me, writing transmogrifies fact into fiction. I used to play a song for my daughters, from Free to Be You and Me that swore that crying got the sad out of you. Writing books like The Widow of Wall Street does that for me—it gets out my sad, mad, and curious.
Writing calms me. Writing excites me. Writing sorts out my world.