Your fans are most familiar with your non fiction work. How was the process of writing HANUKKAH HAMSTER different from your other books?
When writing nonfiction (about historical events, in particular) – the characters, setting and plot are a given. A lot of the work is determining WHICH details or events to include. I spend lots of time crafting vivid, expressive language, to bring the narrative to life.
Writing fiction like Hanukkah Hamster is a freer, more playful experience. It’s like writing a little play in your mind and tweaking it, switching out actors and actions til you get it right.
Both genres, however, involve a process of exploration. For nonfiction, I need to figure out the theme of the story, how to find an entry point to it. For fiction, I ask myself, “whose story is this? what am I trying to say?” The tools are the same- the use of tension, compression…
Have you ever had a pet hamster?
When I was a child, we didn’t own a hamster. However, my younger daughter came into possession of a pair, unloaded by a friend who had too many. I don’t recall much about them, except that we had to take them to the vet, where they had to be shaved before treatment (and I thought, it must not be easy to shave a hamster!) But that was years ago, so I needed a hamster refresher when writing this book. I spent some time at pet shops, studying the little cuties, their twitchy noses and little pink feet. Yes, I’m an animal lover- like Edgar!
Learn more (and there is a lot to learn!) about Michelle Markel here.