In the days when Harper's Bazaar still published great fiction—like the stories of Carson McCullers and Eudora Welty—I was a young fiction editor on the magazine. Needless to say, fiction of this caliber is a joy to handle. But most of the stories that came in were of less worth, so much so that my eyes would begin to weary and shut down. After seven years of reading mostly bad stuff, I left the job and began to think of my own desire to write. What could I do best? I was a journalist/editor for many years, and had developed a skill for interviewing. What could I do, with that skill and writing experience, that might interest others? Knowing the work of our best fiction writers, I knew that fiction was not for me.
I had always found myself attracted to people's real lives, their stories, their faith, their attitudes. Listening, I would feel a pang of recognition—"Aha, that's how I feel," or "Yes, I've been there, too." After years of reading bad stories about unreal people, real people on paper fascinated me.
One day, while riding on a country road, I had an epiphany. Why not write stories of real people, using their own words through the medium of the taped interview? The questions would be framed within the parameters of a certain theme, but in the responses, many lives and personality elements would emerge to present diverse narratives. The themes would have general appeal, one's origin, religion, profession or whatever. I, the author, would shape and edit the narratives into profile/memoirs. They were to be as truthful as possible—-fiction was to be avoided--and each would have an authentic voice. With care in writing and asking questions, I felt that real people would emerge with new grounds and venues to explore.
I began writing in this genre and since then have published four books, including an art book that uses an offshoot of the genre. Each book is described on this website. I would be happy to have you check them out, send me e-mail and tell me what you think.