by Andrew Lipstein
AL: The time it took to write Love Me Back, as well as your own block, seem to be in pretty stark contrast to the prose of the novel, which resembles a roaring faucet left on from cover to cover. But I guess that's why it's called fiction, and not all-of-your-anxieties-and-neuroses-in-a-book. How do you mean when you say you've always been superstitious about the issue?
MT: I'm glad to hear the novel feels that way—and I think it does because each chapter was written when two important forces aligned, and not before: the force inherent in a story worth telling and the force of a strong urge to tell it. I would distinguish between waiting for the emergence/alignment of these forces and "waiting for inspiration," which writers are exhorted not to do. I have a deep fear that forcing myself to write, if I'm telling a story that really doesn't bear telling, or if I'm telling it with only a limp, out-of-duty urge to tell it, will result in a story that naturally sucks. [continue]