Nan­cy Rich­lers pre­vi­ous nov­el, Your Mouth is Love­ly, won the 2003 Cana­di­an Jew­ish Book Award for fic­tion. Her newest nov­el, The Imposter Bride, is now avail­able. She will be blog­ging here all week for Jew­ish Book Coun­cil and MyJew­ish­Learn­ing.

The first step for me in writ­ing fic­tion is decid­ing which of my char­ac­ters is telling the sto­ry. I might sense an entire nov­el tak­ing form inside of me but if I start writ­ing from the wrong point of view I can­not find the sto­ry I want to tell. My most recent nov­el, The Imposter Bride, is a case in point. The first scene of the nov­el seemed to write itself. It describes a young woman named Lily arriv­ing in Mon­tréal imme­di­ate­ly fol­low­ing the Sec­ond World War, hav­ing tak­en some­one else’s iden­ti­ty to cross bor­ders and gain entry to a new life in a new coun­try. The first drafts of the ear­ly chap­ters told the sto­ry from Lily’s point of view but each time I tried to move beyond that first scene I hit a wall. A first per­son account of a Holo­caust survivor’s life dur­ing and after the war sim­ply did not feel like it was mine to tell, nor did it feel like I was gain­ing entry into the heart of the nov­el I felt with­in me. I kept writ­ing and rewrit­ing from Lily’s per­spec­tive for longer than I care to admit, aware that it wasn’t work­ing but not pin­point­ing that the prob­lem was one of per­spec­tive and point of view. Final­ly, one morn­ing anoth­er voice came into my head. It was the voice of a six-year-old girl, the daugh­ter of Lily, liv­ing in Mon­tréal in the 1950’s. As I began to fol­low that voice the sto­ry opened to me. The details and sto­ry lines that had elud­ed me for so long poured out. It became a sto­ry of the inter­gen­er­a­tional effects of trau­ma with­in a fam­i­ly and with­in the com­mu­ni­ty in which I was raised.

Find out more about Nan­cy here.