Today's 5 Q&A is with Camille Marchetta, author of The River, By Moonlight
1.) Who are you?
Who I am at any given moment depends on the time of day and my frame of mind and what's going on around me. I'm a sister, an aunt, a cousin, a friend, a reader, a film-goer, a ballet-lover, an art museum junkie, an avid traveler, and maybe other things as well. But not a daughter any more, alas. My parents have both died. If I were asked the question at a cocktail party, I'd just give my name. But as you ask it, and I know how deeply you care about books, I'll say that I'm a writer and that's as true as any other reply I might offer. I've written for television. In addition to various episodes and TV movies, I was story-editor on Dallas its first two seasons, watching as it climbed from obscurity to international hit. I wrote and produced the series Nurse, which won Michael Learned an Emmy, and Dynasty the year it reached the top of the ratings. I co-executive produced Falcon Crest and was story consultant on Central Park West. I co-authored two best-selling novels with Ivana Trump, and have written three of my own: Lovers and Friends, The Wives of Frankie Ferraro, and, now, The River, By Moonlight.
2.) What was the inspiration behind The River, By Moonlight?
Friends told me about an exhibition of paintings they'd seen by a young woman artist who had died in mysterious circumstances. I couldn't get what they told me out of my head. Eventually, I decided to write a novel, not about that particular artist as it happened, but to deal with the issues raised for me by her story – despair, death, grief, how people deal with them, and how some indomitable spirits manage not only to heal, but to thrive.
3.) How much research was required to write the book?
An enormous amount. For one thing, the novel is set in 1917, at the start of the First World War, and I had to make myself comfortable in that period of history. I had to find out about New York City then and the Hudson River Valley, where the story takes place. There were so many things I didn't know. What did people eat? What did they wear? Where did they go? How did they get there? And then, the main character is a painter, and I'm not, so I had to learn not only about how to paint, but the state of the art world at that time. I think I started researching two years before I began writing, and I continued on through the last draft.
4.) Having been a writer for the television series, Dallas, what are you thoughts regarding the writers strike?
I support it completely. It's unfortunate, yes. There are so many people who are affected who really can't do without a paycheck. That's awful. But the strike is absolutely necessary. Some like to paint it as rich writers being greedy. But that's far from the case. The majority of writers aren't rich at all. And all writers deserve to share in the profits that come from their work. And what they're asking for isn't a fortune, but a tiny sliver, a small taste, of a pie that wouldn't exist at all without the long hours they invest in writing scripts - for television, for film, for DVD, for internet downloads that wouldn't exist without them.
5.) What's next for you?
I've been so busy with the publication and promotion of The River, By Moonlight that I really haven't made up my mind about what to do next. But I do have several projects in mind. At the moment, I seem inclined to do a family memoir. There's so much about my childhood in Brooklyn, about my parents and grandparents, my aunts and uncles, that I want to write about. Well, whatever I decide on, I hope to start soon.
Thanks so much, Camille!