Eliza Factor: On Writing Love Maps
To celebrate the release of Love Maps, we’re pleased to feature a statement from author Eliza Factor on how her latest novel came to be.
In 1997, I found myself writing about Philip, a man from New York, urgently and wordlessly driving to down to West Texas, with the intention of climbing into the shaft of an abandoned mine. His wife Sarah sits beside him in the passenger seat, not knowing where they are going. The silence between them intrigued me, as did Philip’s agony. I knew that he had killed someone, but I did not know who or why, only that he could not forgive himself for what he had done.
I could not immediately find out more about these characters, however, for the history of the mine shaft where they were headed bloomed in my imagination. I began researching mercury mining and American utopian communities, and became immersed in a world a hundred years past. That led to my debut novel The Mercury Fountain. Years later, when The Mercury Fountain was blocked out, I realized that I was still interested in the contemporary characters who had gotten me there: Philip and Sarah fleeing their calamity. What had happened to them? Who were they?
Answering these questions resulted in Love Maps. The plot, involving a deranged, powerful sister, ravaged veterans, unspoken loves, has little in common with my life, yet I feel closely bound to Sarah, the artist and mother through whom the story is told. We both are emboldened and burdened by a similar sort of pride, and it is the friction between this pride and desire that fuels this book.
Posted: May 20, 2015
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