Abraham Verghese is author of, most recently, the wonderful book, Cutting for Stone, now in paperback. If you’re looking for a great summer read, we strongly recommend it.
Verghese: Are you someone who plots out the whole book and knows it all, or do you follow a voice and see where it leads you?
Turow: I tend to follow voice and character to see where they lead. Plot and character, especially, seem intertwined so that a character’s nature, as I am discovering it, seems to spell the actions s/he will take. After a year of this kind of exploration, I then tend to have a sense of the overall story arc of a book and can begin a front-to-back draft.
Verghese: Please name a book or two that you reread and keep handy for inspiration or because you admire the craft.
Turow: I’m not sure that it’s that short a list. I find it useful to re-read Hemingway, Bellow and, always, Graham Greene for different reasons: Hemingway to remind myself how simply it can all be; Bellow for the completely opposite reason, that is, to recall how far voice and prose can take you; and Greene for the sheer elegance.