|Photo credit: The Baltimore Sun|
On fiction as a change agent
Her best response to the issues of the day is to write a novel. Nonfiction reaches those who are already convinced of the importance of something, but fiction reaches a different audience. "It doesn't just tell you what to think; it asks you what you think." Stories enter through your heart not your brain.
On how we learn
"We think we're rational, but we absorb our truths from people we trust." We all do it. So cultivating trust is the key to productive conversations.
On being a scientist who writes novels
She feels her scientific education serves her well as a novelist, and sets her apart as a fairly unique writer. Structuring an experiment can be easily compared and translated to structuring a novel. In some ways, creating plot is like performing experiments on her characters.
On fiction writing in general.
She starts with an idea, some truth she wants to talk about, then comes up with a plot. After that come the characters, followed by their backstories. "Fiction is made of details."