Novelist Richard Russo (Empire Falls, Straight Man) discusses his new memoir Elsewhere. (ArtsBeat)
Q: It will be tempting for readers familiar with all your work to experience “Elsewhere” as, among other things, a skeleton key to your fiction. As one of those readers, I’m now wondering if your first two novels, “Mohawk” and “The Risk Pool,” are your most autobiographical, or are there equal amounts of your own experience in each book?
A: It will please me immensely if readers feel as if they’ve been granted an insight into a writer’s creative process. Like every writer, I’m always being asked where I get my ideas from; well, here’s the answer, or part of it. “Mohawk” and “The Risk Pool” are my most literally autobiographical novels, if by autobiography you mean shared facts and data. Still, while there’s far more invention in “Bridge of Sighs,” I think of it as the novel that most deeply probes who I am, as a man and as a writer.