Amy Brill

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Posted 12.5.12

"Before I was a writer, I was a traveler; as it turned out, almost all of my stories (and unfinished novels, and bad poems, and personal essays) evolved from journeying away from home. A misunderstanding on an oppressively hot, chaotic Bangkok street; a hurried descent from the high-altitude salt plains of the Atacama desert; a tequila- and sweat-soaked salsa party in the courtyard of a Yucatan peninsula hostel; and an impromptu fly-fishing lesson in a remote, swollen Montana river have all made their way into stories. Sometimes a scrap of overheard dialogue is the spark; often it’s a character based on someone I’ve met—the driver of that Jeep in the Atacama desert, or the irate Thai police officer trying to tug the camera out of my hand. My novel, The Movement of Stars, began when I picked up a tourist flyer on the Nantucket ferry in 1996 (“Come and see the home of the famous girl astronomer from Nantucket!”). Her small, grey-shingled house; the sandy street; the image of a girl, in a grey dress, on her roof, every night, searching for something elusive in the night sky, something that would change her life: They held me in thrall for fifteen years, until the story was told. Parenthood has pretty much grounded all my flights these days, but the well of places that inspire me has yet to run dry."
Amy Brill, author of The Movement of Stars (Riverhead, 2013)