Q: What inspired you to write Watkins Glen?
A: I was interested in writing about how getting older affects a person’s perception of him/herself and of an individual’s connection to the everyday world.
For myself, I have found that getting older brings about a loosening of the ties that bind you to the outside world and a deeper focus on the things that matter to you such as the relationships that will carry you the rest of the way through your life and, if you’re a writer, the work that will engage your heart and mind from this point on.
Q: How would you describe the relationship between your character Susan and her brother Mark?
A: At the beginning of the story, Susan and her younger brother Mark have been estranged for many years. They have taken different paths in life and have become very different people.
The book chronicles how they come back together—how they become sister and brother again—as Susan decides to take on the responsibility of her brother when he begins to develop dementia.
Q: Did you know how the novel would end before you started writing it, or did you make many changes along the way?
A: I always know how any poem, short story, or novel I write will end. During the process of getting from the first words to the last there are always many, many, changes—including some that surprise even me—but I always know where I’m going.
Q: What do you hope readers take away from the story?
A: That you can come to peace with even the worst mistakes you’ve made in your life and find a way to move forward without carrying that weight with you forever.
Q: What are you working on now?
A: A collection of short stories about living in New York City during the time of coronavirus.
Q: Anything else we should know?
A: It’s easy to find examples of other poems, essays, short stories, and novels online just by Googling my name. And, of course, all my books are available on Amazon. Watkins Glen is also available through the publisher, Mayapple Press, here: http://mayapplepress.com/watkins-glen-eleanor-lerman/.
--Interview with Deborah Kalb