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Alex Gilvarry Recommends...

Writers Recommend

Posted 5.02.12

“From the moment a writer is attached to a story, said Saul Bellow, he or she suddenly has ‘feelers all over the place.’ So once I’m attached, I draw inspiration from what I think the character in question would read or consume. My first novel is about a fashion designer starting his own label, and through a turn of events he winds up a suspected terrorist in post-9/11 New York City. I didn’t know squat about fashion design, so I read Coco Chanel’s biography by Edmond Charles-Roux from 1975. Then came The Beautiful Fall about the rivalry between Karl Lagerfeld and Yves Saint Laurent. Those texts inspired an alternate persona that I took on when sitting down to write. My ‘feelers’ were up, and a real person began to take shape. Once my hero was labeled an enemy combatant and sent to Guantanamo Bay, I read the only book he would be allowed, the Koran. You could call all this ‘research,’ but I don't. I find it to be more mystical than that.”
Alex Gilvarry, author of From the Memoirs of a Non-Enemy Combatant (Viking, 2012) 

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